PRESSURE ON JOSE?

AS Roma host defending champions Inter Milan on Saturday evening in a bid to keep their Champions League challenge alive and kicking while a renewed Inter aim to chase down the league leaders.

Jose Mourinho’s side suffered a 1-0 defeat to Bologna in midweek, a result that left them six points adrift of Atalanta in fourth place. A defeat against Inter would be catastrophic for their ambitions of getting back into Europe’s elite competition after three seasons in the Europa League.

 

 

Roma’s opponents Inter come into the match in exceptional form, on an unbeaten run of nine matches that includes key wins over Napoli and Shakhtar Donetsk and important draws against Juventus and AC Milan. Simone Inzaghi’s side dispatched Spezia 2-0 on Wednesday which took them to within two points of Napoli at the top of the Serie A.

 

TEAM NEWS

Mourinho has a big problem on his hands with a host of players out injured or suspended. Tammy Abraham and Rick Karsdorp picked up a yellow card each against Bologna that resulted in an automatic card suspension for the pair for the next game. This is in addition to injuries to Lorenzo Pellegrini and Leonardo Spinazzola along with positive COVID test for Felix Afena-Gyan.

 

 

There is some positive news though as Bryan Cristante and Gonzalo Villar can return after missing the last two weeks due to COVID.

AS ROMA PREDICTED LINEUP: Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Reynolds, Cristante, Veretout, Vina; El Sharaawy, Zaniolo, Mkhitaryan

Inter boss Inzaghi too has a lot of injury concerns with defenders Matteo Darmian and Andrea Ranocchia picking up knocks that will keep them out until Christmas. Stefan de Vrij, Aleksandar Kolarov, and Alessandro Bastoni have been missing which left the Nerazzurri short of defensive reinforcements but all three of them could return and be involved in some form or the other.

 

 

INTER MILAN PREDICTED LINEUP: Handanovic; Skriniar, de Vrij, Dimarco; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Dzeko, Martinez

 

GAME CHANGERS

AS Roma winger Nicolo Zaniolo is yet to score a goal in the Serie A this season but he remains one of the most exciting players in the league. His injury struggles have hampered his development greatly and he was under the spotlight in midweek, receiving a questionable yellow card for simulation.

 

 

However, the creative attacking burden will have to be shouldered by the 22-year old if Roma are to breach the league’s second best defence in Inter Milan. His dribbling can cause problems to the best of players while his attacking nous will be useful in linking play in the absence of the suspended Abraham.

Inter Milan’s recent good form has come on the back of a stoic midfield trio of Barella, Brozovic and Calhanoglu and it can be argued that Calhanoglu has been the most important. The Turkish midfielder’s technical quality gives him the x-factor to make the difference in big moments.

 

 

Calhanoglu has four goals and four assists to his name in the Serie A this season and he will be hoping to add to his tally against a Roma side that is expected to sit back and defend deep.

 

PREDICTIONS

AS Roma have been very inconsistent this season and the suspensions to arguably their two best players of the season does not make things easier. Inter Milan meanwhile are enjoying a good run of form and will be buoyed by their returning players. This match would have been perfect for a Mourinho masterclass but those days are long gone and FootTheBall predicts Roma 0-3 Inter Milan in a one-sided encounter.

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