AS Roma v Palermo Preview
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
MATCH IN A SENTENCE: Roma have lost back-to-back matches coming into Sunday’s contest at home to Palermo, and given that they scored first in both they’ll be looking to put in a rare, 90-minute effort against the Sicilians at Stadio Olimpico.
BREAKDOWN: Zdenek Zeman has spent much of the week answering questions about his tactical philosophy. An adherent to the 4-3-3, the 65-year-old’s Roma side is often easy on the eye, although—and this has been especially true of late—they tend to look lost when they don’t have the ball.
Zeman, as a result, has had to defend his setup and in his pre-match press conference likened his faith in the formation to that exercised by various, recent Barcelona managers.
“Barcelona never change their attitude, and I am trying to build a good squad,” he said. “We have done well this season but can do better. We gave away two games and were only just beaten in Turin. We certainly did not lose matches because we attacked.”
On the other side of the ball, Palermo arrive in the capital with just a single win to their name this season and in 18th place in Serie A. They’ve drawn each of their last four matches and have both scored and conceded three goals in that period.
ESSENTIALS: Roma are still without backup goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont, while striker Pablo Osvaldo and midfielder Daniele De Rossi are nursing minor injuries and could still play a part on Sunday.
Palermo will have to make do without injured defender Milan Milanovic, midfielder Massimo Donati and striker Abel Hernandez.
KEY BATTLE: Roma forward Erik Lamela has scored three goals in his last two matches (he gave the Giallorossi the lead in both) and will line up on the right-hand side of the attack. He’ll see a lot of Palermo defender Santiago Garcia and will likely be tracked closely by Andrea Mantovani as well.
FORMATIONS: Zeman’s 4-3-3 will be fronted by Lamela, Francesco Totti and Pablo Osvaldo. If Osvaldo is unavailable to start, Mattia Destro will operate in his place to Totti’s left. Palermo boss Gian Piero Gasperini will deploy a 3-4-3 formation with Franco Brienza, Fabricio Miccoli and Josip Ilicic across the forward line.
BETLINE: AS Roma 8/15; Draw 10/3; Palermo 9/1. Roma won both matches against Palermo last season by 1-0 scorelines.