Photo Credit: Fully Football
Serie A runners up Roma will take on Sevilla for the annual Antonio Puerta Trophy at the Spanish sides’ home field, the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, on August 10.
The Giallorossi have had an impressive pre-season tour so far despite losing two times over the past three games. Their side only lost to Paris Saint-Germain in a penalty shootout, while they followed that up with a 3-2 win against Tottenham Hotspur, and they carried that momentum to give Juventus a challenge but fell short of a win after they lost another penalty shootout.
While Sevilla has won two of their last three games which included an impressive 2-1 victory over Arsenal. However, El Grande de Andalucía might have gotten a free pass in a late game collapse by the Gunners but they’ve shown what it takes to face the best.
Roma Starting XI (4-3-3)
FW: Diego Perotti, Edin Dzeko, Grégoire Defrel
MF: Radja Nainggolan, Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman
DF: Aleksandar Kolarov, Konstantinos Manolas, Federico Fazio, Bruno Peres
Sevilla Starting XI (4-3-3)
FW: Nolito, Wissam Ben Yedder, Pablo Sarabia
MF: Ever Banega, Steven N’Zonzi, Ganso
DF: Sergio Escudero, Clément Lenglet, Nicolas Pareja, Sébastien Corchia
GK: Sergio Rico
A balanced Roma
From left to right: Kevin Strootman, Emerson, Edin Dzeko, and Radja Nainggolan, Photo Credit: Footy Headlines
Despite losing the likes of Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Leandro Paredes (Zenit S-Pb), and Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Roma has been steadfast over their past games. Alessandro Florenzi and Stephan El Shaarawy’s absence due to their injuries were factors as well. It also didn’t help that Konstantinos Manolas was out against the Spurs and the Bianconeri due to a shoulder injury but his expected return before their showdown versus Sevilla is going to give their defensive line a boost.
However, the surprising performances from the Lupi were not coincidences at all; it was all thanks to former Sassuolo boss Eusebio Di Francesco, who replaced Luciano Spalletti as the manager of the Giallorossi. Many would expect Di Francesco to use the versatility of the 4-3-3 formation with interchangeable positions to penetrate the defense of the opposition and create open spaces. However, the team would defend positionally as they transition into a 4-5-1 formation to suffocate the opponent’s advance.
Sevilla’s departures and new faces
Photo Credit: Sevilla FC
Sevilla’s offense would certainly suffer after the transfer of Vitolo (Atletico Madrid) was made. Plus, it’s still unclear whether the acquisitions of Nolito and Luis Muriel would suffice to cover up Vitolo’s departure. To make things worse, the delay Pablo Sarabia, Joaquin Correa, Ganso, Yan Eteki, and Muriel experienced before joining the team due to work-permit issues could play a big part against Roma if they can’t get enough practice.
They also have a new manager to replace Jorge Sampaoli, former Celta Vigo boss Eduardo Berizzo. He brings a high energy and high pressing strategy which promotes player movement to allow a multitude of passing options for a potent offense while maintaining defensive security through his 4-2-3-1 formation. However, he’s recently gone back to his versatile 4-3-3 formation which he used at the beginning of his tenure at Celta while maintaining the same principles he’s applied in the 4-2-3-1.
Di Francesco might have made Roma’s side formidable but the loss of key figures in their lineup might not be enough to stop Sevilla. However, Sevilla hasn’t been better off after some of their key players got transferred or either held up. But if there’s any difference between both teams then it would be the defensive prowess that Roma showcased against the last top-class teams they’ve faced. While Sevilla has shown that their defense could be lenient after they gave up two goals in a loss against Kashima. Plus, they only managed to come out with a 2-2 tie against Everton in their latest match despite the British side’s weakened lineup due to injuries.
Projected Outcome: Roma 2-1 Sevilla