There are many different storylines to this … just like last week.
You have Luciano Spalletti returning to the Olimpico and two teams who have recently squared off for Sampdoria sensation Patrik Schick before clashing Saturday night on the pitch.
In the interest of keeping things friendly … at least until the game started … we reached out to Bren over at Chiesa Di Totti to get his take on Saturday’s match.
Here you go. Enjoy!
SoM: Now that you have one game under the belt, what are your initial takeaways about AS Roma? What do you see as the biggest concerns following the first game?
Bren: The initial takeaway, at least as far as their performance against Atalanta is concerned, is about what we expected: an awkward transition phase. Given the change of manager and the awkward fit of Gregoire Defrel on the right wing, EDFs tactics were bound to look a bit shaky at the start of the season, which is exactly what we witnessed last week. So my biggest concern is simply that--will he be able to imprint his vision on a squad that was seemingly tailor made for Luciano Spalletti’s tactics? I have severe severe reservations, but there is enough veteran talent here to cover up the gaps in the meantime.
SoM: There is still time left in the mercato. Talk about Roma’s mercato and what positions does the club still need to address.
Bren: See, the fact that it took me so long to answer this paid off! Roma are now, according to your guy Sabatini, 99% of the way towards signing Patrik Schick. While he’s not an exact fit for what Roma is missing--a playmaking right winger--he’s certainly one for the future. Beyond that, Roma’s focus was on securing depth. The acquisitions of Aleksandar Kolarov, Maxime Gonalons and Hector Moreno achieved just that, while Cengiz Under and Rick Karsdorp are intriguing prospects for the future.
SoM: For this match, which member of Roma will be the most crucial and why? Which matchup are you most excited about?
Bren: Well, we’re in a bit of a crisis at the moment as literally all four of Roma’s right backs are injured, though Alessandro Florenzi will supposedly make the bench for Saturday’s match. Given that’s the lane Ivan Perisic will charge towards, it’s a tremendous cause for concern. Considering that, I think it makes the defensive contributions of Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman all the more important.
SoM: Which Nerazzurri are you the most ready to face and which one scares you the most?
Bren: Most ready to face? That’s a bit of an awkward question, but I think Roma’s midfield stacks up quite well against Inter’s, so as much as I love Borja Valero, he’s not keeping me up at night. In terms of who scares us most, has to be Mauro Icardi he’s just so dangerous.
SoM: Patrik Schick has been linked to both Inter and Roma with Roma rumored to have submitted a €38 million bid for. Who has the upper hand in the battle for the 21-year-old and why?
Bren: Well, at this point it seems as though Inter have conceded, but nothing is certain with Roma. Nothing.
SoM: How will it feel to go up against Spalletti a year removed? Do you think Roma has an advantage or a disadvantage going up against their old boss?
Bren: You know, I was having trouble addressing that point in our match preview. It really could go either way; he knows the strengths and weaknesses of our side nearly top to bottom, but by the same token, they’re intimately familiar with his tactics. Should be a tense match.
SoM: Last, but certainly not least, pick the game. What’s the final score and how does the game flow?
Bren: I think it’ll be a 1-1 draw honestly. Roma can, at the very least, throttle the midfield and string out a draw despite their crippled defense.