Sunday night (7:45pm UK) in Salerno, José Mourinho’s ascendent Roma kicks off its 2022-23 season against a Salernitano side that escape relegation in 2021-22 by the narrowest of margins.
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Where to watch Salernitana vs Roma on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 1, BT Sport App
- US: Paramount+
This weekend, Italy’s Serie A kicks off its 2022-23 campaign. In the season just gone, we witnessed a thrilling race for the scudetto between the two Milan sides, Inter (who finished on 84 points) and eventual champions AC Milan (86). Napoli comfortably finished third with 79 points, while Juventus, after a late stumble took them out of the running for third, similarly cruised into fourth (and secured Italy’s final Champions League spot) with 70 points.
Behind that group was another trio – Lazio, Roma and Fiorentina – separated by just two points., which, this season, will have designs on displacing one of that top four. The side in the middle of that logjam, Roma , who finished sixth, on 63 points, one point ahead of Fiorentina and one behind Lazio, under the guidance of a seemingly revitalized José Mourinho and featuring an increasingly loaded lineup, is the best positioned to make that leap – or, at the very least, overturn their local rivals and break into the top five.
Roma team news
Though Roma’s domestic campaign was a bit rough, it must be said that the results were rosier on the European front, as the Giallorossi hoisted the inaugural Europa Conference League trophy.
Key piece that are gone from that side are goalkeeper Pau Lopez and midfielder Jordan Veretout, both of whom are now with Marseilles, Armenian star Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who’s now with Inter, and Spanish midfielder Carles Perez, who joined Celta de Vigo.
Joining the side is what looks like an outstanding crop of transfers: on loan from PSG, midfielder Wijnaldum Georginio and, on permanent signings, 25-year-old Turkish right back Zeki Celik, Nemanja Matić and Argentine star, formerly of Juventus, Paulo Dybala, whose crazy reception in Rome we should relive just one more time:
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 26, 2022
Roma come into this game on the heels of a heavy preseason slate, during which they played seven games, winning four and losing two. The last two of these games – a 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Haifa, Israel on July 30, and, in theironly preseason game at the Stadio Olimpico, a 5-0 win over Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.
Salernitana team news
There’s no two ways about it: Salernitana are incredibly fortunate to still be playing top flight football. In 2021-22, despite scoring fewer goals (33) than 18 of the other 19 teams in Serie A, while allowing a league-high 78 (seven more than any other team). To fair, this side went on an absolute tear in April in May, in which they secured results in seven straight league games (four of them victories) and racked up nearly half of their 31-point total. However, they still needed Cagliari, a team that they’d been trailing all season, to tally just five points from their last 10 league games, in order to secure safety by a single point.
Given all of that, one might assume that Salernitana are on borrowed time in the top flight – and yes, they are, in the eyes of the bookies, the third-likeliest side (behind Cremonese and Lecce) to take the drop. However…
Given their incredible run and great escape to close out last season, their additions in the summer transfer window (which includes players from Sampdoria, Inter and Juventus), and their (I know, totally irrelevant) preseason results, which have included draws against Bundesliga sides Schalke and Hoffenheim, as well as Galatasaray of Turkey, there are signs that this team has a bit of fight in it.
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Given the impressive manner in which Salernitana closed out last season and some encouraging preseason results, one may be inclined to peg this as a feisty team that will be consistently competitive, and may altogether avoid a relegation scrap this season. I am tentatively inclined to be one of those people. However, the Roma side that’s making the 270 kilometer trip south to Campania features the likes of Dybala, Tammy Abraham, Nicolo Zaniolo, Gini Wijnaldum and Leonardo Spinazzola, among others, and is looking not only to get off to a positive start in Serie A, but is looking at this season (and beyond) as an opportunity to reposition itself in the Italian football food chain. Against that backdrop, Roma are likely to simply be too motivated and too focused to squander their obvious talent advantage.
Scoreline prediction: Salernitana 0-3 Roma
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