Following three consecutive victories prior to the international break, Roma are eager to maintain their positive momentum as they face Monza at Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.
Despite their recent improved performances, Roma still trail their opponents by a single point in the Serie A standings and find themselves behind in the race for a top-four finish in Italy.
Unfortunately, Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini will be unavailable for Sunday’s match due to a hip injury, while Paulo Dybala is also sidelined. However, there is some positive news for manager Jose Mourinho regarding key defender Chris Smalling.
Smalling has returned to full training this week after recovering from tendonitis. However, due to his history of absences, it remains uncertain whether he will be included in the starting lineup for the upcoming match or if his return will be delayed until the midweek fixture or the big clash against Inter next week.
In the attacking department, Andrea Belotti is expected to fill in for Dybala alongside Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku has been in exceptional form this season, averaging a goal every 87 minutes for Roma, which is his best ratio since the 2011-2012 season.
However, Lukaku will face tough competition from Monza’s goalkeeper, Michele Di Gregorio, who currently boasts the highest save percentage among goalkeepers in the top five European leagues this season (83%).
There is a possibility that Armando Izzo will be declared fit to play after recovering from a knee injury, which would strengthen Monza’s defensive options. However, Danilo D’Ambrosio is expected to retain his place in Raffaele Palladino’s back three.
Recent reports have indicated that Papu Gomez, who was signed on a free transfer, is facing a lengthy doping ban for an offense that occurred during his time with Sevilla. Additionally, Gianluca Caprari is a long-term absentee due to an ACL injury.
Roma vs. Monza – lineups
Roma possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Mancini, Cristante, Ndicka; Karsdorp, Aouar, Paredes, Bove, Spinazzola; Belotti, Lukaku
Monza possible starting lineup:
Di Gregorio; D’Ambrosio, Mari, Caldirola; Pereira, Pessina, Gagliardini, Ciurria; Colpani, Vignato; Colombo