Roma will be looking for an immediate response after suffering a heavy defeat to Atalanta at the weekend when the capital club host Cagliari in Serie A on Wednesday at 7.45pm.
The Giallorossi were thumped 4-1 by free-scoring Atalanta on Sunday despite taking a third-minute lead through skipper Edin Dzeko. Paulo Fonseca’s side remain in fourth by the skin of their teeth and will be hoping to consolidate that position when former Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco travels with a Cagliari side winless in six to the Stadio Olimpico later this week.
Where to watch Roma vs Cagliari on TV:
- UK: FreeSports
- US: ESPN+
Where to live stream Roma vs Cagliari online:
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Scoreline prediction: Roma 2-1 Cagliari
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Roma vs Cagliari build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Roma had picked up a good run of form in December following their 4-0 humbling to Napoli at the end of last month, collecting a point against high-flying Sassuolo before clinching back-to-back wins over Bologna and Torino, but a 4-1 reversal to Atalanta on Sunday sent the Eternal City club crashing back down to earth.
That result keeps them in fourth but just by the single point, with Atalanta closing the gap and now hot on their heels. Di Francesco, meanwhile, will be hoping to inflict a first defeat on his former side against Cagliari since February 2013, but since the start of 1970s, the Islanders have won only twice away from home against Roma.
- Roma (vs Atalanta): Mirante; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Pellegrini, Veretout, Spinazzola*; Mkhitaryan, Pedro, Dzeko.
- Cagliari (vs Udinese): Cragno; Zappa, Godin, Carboni, Lykogiannis; Marin, Rog, Pedro, Nandez, Sottil; Pavoletti.
To compile the misery on that 4-1 defeat at the weekend, Leonardo Spinazzola sustained a muscle agitation and is now a major doubt for this contest. He joins long-term absentees Javier Pastore and Nicolo Zaniolo on the sidelines for the hosts. Cagliari meanwhile are without Alessandro Tripaldelli and Paolo Farago through injury, as well as former Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan and goalkeeper Simone Aresti.
Players to watch:
- Roma: The problems Arsenal have faced this season, notably a crisis in the creativity department, have been magnified to the nth degree by the form of ex-winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian wing-wizard has been the difference-maker for Roma this season with a quite incredible seven goals and six assists, showcasing the type of form he demonstrated at Borussia Dortmund, which had Premier League clubs keeping tabs on him with covetous eyes in the mid-2010s. To elaborate on that, only two midfielders have at least six goals and six assists in Europe’s top five leagues this season: Mkhitaryan (formerly of Arsenal) and Florian Thauvin (formerly of Newcastle, who could also do with a creative adrenaline shot at the minute).
- Cagliari: The Uruguayan presence in Sardinia was boosted by the January signing of Gaston Pereiro from PSV, but more significantly by Diego Godin in the summer. However, it is Nahitan Nandez who is arguably the most important Sky Blue cog in Di Francesco’s machine. The diminutive midfielder was instrumental in guiding Boca Juniors to that famous 2018 Copa Libertadores final at the Bernabeu against eternal rivals River Plate, but he now plays a crucial role for Cagliari in Serie A. His versatility and enterprise makes him indispensable to his Italian coach, with Nandez playing a number of roles this season, including central midfield, right-wing and the No.10. Roma boast a dynamic midfield engine and Nandez’s tenacious exploits (notably registering the second-most tackles among Cagliari players this term with 21) will be key to disrupting their flow.
Serie A 2020/21 recent form:
- Roma: LWWDL
- Cagliari: DDLDD
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