Sunday’s Serie A action rounds off at the Stadio Olimpico with a tasty-looking showdown between seasoned campaigners Roma and Fiorentina. Despite the visiting side’s position in the standings, this encounter has all the makings of a top-four six-pointer. 

Roma lived up to their tag as ‘late drama specialists.’ Trailing by a goal ‘to nil,’ albeit boasting a man up, Jose Mourinho’s side performed a superb comeback to beat Sassuolo 2-1 last weekend and climb to fourth. Rasmus Kristensen emerged as an unlikely hero at the Mapei Stadium, coming off the bench to draw a penalty and score a fortunate winner. 

Fortunate or not, Roma have picked themselves up following a sluggish start to the new league season to establish themselves as early top-four contenders. Since you’d need to go back to 2017/18 for the last time Giallorossi secured Champions League qualification through domestic action, Mourinho’s priorities are clear amidst his uncertain future in Rome.

Visiting Fiorentina are familiar with long-term struggles outside the Champions League spots, having last sealed a top-four finish in Serie A in the 2014/15 season. However, Vincenzo Italiano’s men have earned credibility in the elite society after an impressive start to the new campaign, commencing this round only one point adrift of their hosts. 

Keen to take three points and Roma’s place in the Serie A table, La Viola must watch out for fatigue. Tired legs could derail their chances of upsetting the apple cart in the capital after overturning a 2-0 deficit to beat second-tier Parma on penalties in midweek Coppa Italia action. 

Match Preview

Roma

Kristensen’s late heroics in Emilia-Romagna aligned with Roma’s recent proclivities for taking down their opponents at the death. Mourinho’s team jangled fans’ nerves in their last league outing at the Stadio Olimpico, requiring Paulo Dybala’s 81st-minute strike and Stephan El Shaarawy’s stoppage-time curler to beat Udinese 3-1

Roma wouldn’t mind another dramatic contest if it helps them maintain their eye-catching seven-game winning home streak across all competitions. The former Europa Conference League winners have timed their return to prominence to perfection, racking up a league second-high 19 points since the start of October (W6, D1, L1).

With the season’s halfway stage fast approaching, now’s the perfect time for Roma to show what they’re made of, especially considering the logjam in the higher reaches. 

Fiorentina

Despite Roma’s purple patch, Fiorentina won’t shy away from the challenge as they boast a promising run of their own. Except for a stomach-wrenching 1-0 defeat at Milan in late November, they’ve won five of their last six competitive matches, including an overwhelming 3-0 home triumph against Salernitana in the previous round.

However, the Stadio Olimpico hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for La Viola by any stretch of the imagination. Not only have Fiorentina lost their last four Serie A visits to this venue, but they conceded at least two goals on each occasion. Those reverses form part of a larger pattern that has seen the Tuscan outfit go winless in eight of their last ten league meetings with Roma (D2, L6).

Italiano’s side will be out to buck that trend and prove their top-four credentials following a brace of 1-0 defeats at fellow European promotion rivals Milan and Lazio.

Team News

With Lorenzo Pellegrini back to full fitness and Renato Sanches nearing complete recovery, long-term absentees Chris Smalling, Tammy Abraham, and Marash Kumbulla remain the only injured Roma stars. The captain might still start on the bench at the expense of the prodigious Edoardo Bove.

On the other hand, Fiorentina take this trip without Gaetano Castrovilli, Dodo, and Jonathan Ikone. But Italiano’s principal concern relates to Nicolas Gonzalez’s fitness after the Argentine succumbed to a minor injury in the build-up to this game.

Roma vs Fiorentina Potential Lineups

Roma (3-5-2): Rui Patricio; Mancini, Llorente, Ndicka; Karsdorp, Cristante, Paredes, Bove, Spinazzola; Dybala, Lukaku.

Fiorentina (4-2-3-1): Christensen; Kayode, Ranieri, Martinez, Parisi; Duncan, Mandragora; Gonzalez, Bonaventura, Brekalo; Nzola

Roma vs Fiorentina Prediction 

Connoisseurs of action-packed football will hope Roma and Fiorentina can deliver another goal-glutted fixture. Three of the last five league encounters between the familiar foes have featured 3+ goals and both teams on the scoresheet, highlighting the potential for a high-scoring contest.

But if we have to give someone the upper hand in this exciting match-up, it would be Roma. The hosts’ formidable home form is too impressive to be overlooked. 

Prediction: Roma Win

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