Week 4’s tie of the round sees Roma host Fiorentina in what will be Claudio Ranieri’s first big test as i Lupi Coach. The club from the capital picked up their first win (and points) of the season away to Siena last Sunday, in a lacklustre 2-1 victory. But fans will be happy just to be off the mark and put a halt to the rot that had set in just before Luciano Spalletti’s departure.
Fiorentina have had a good start to their campaign, with two wins and a draw. La Viola have not looked overly impressive but seven points from a possible nine is a near perfect start and this might be a prime time for them to beat Roma, as they adjust to a new set of tactics and strategies being imposed by new man Ranieri. Last season a lone Totti strike won the game for the Giallorossi.
Roma – There are still lots of questions that need answering inside the Roma camp. Will Julio Sergio be handed the gloves again or will the newly acquired Bogdan Lobont be given his debut? Will Mirko Vucinic and Jeremy Menez start ahead of the ineffectual Simone Perrotta and Rodrigo Taddei? Will Marco Motta get his place back ahead of an out-of-sorts Marco Cassetti at right back and did John Arne Riise’s winning goal against Siena do enough to convince Ranieri to pick him over Nicolas Burdisso on the left side of the defence? Even Roma’s formation could change from the 4-4-1-1 style used last weekend.
Cicinho and Alexander Doni are still unavailable and Matteo Brighi is nursing a knock which may see him also miss out. With this being Ranieri’s first game leading his side at the Olimpico, he could opt for a bolder strategy and play a much more attacking team than the one he used at Siena.
12 Julio Sergio
13 Motta- 5 Mexes – 6 Juan – 17 Riise
11 Taddei -7 Pizarro – 16 De Rossi – 94 Menez
10 Totti – 9 Vucinic
Fiorentina – Fiorentina will not change too much from the team that beat Cagliari, even though the performance was not overly impressive against the Sardinians. Mario Alberto Santana looked good when he came on for Marco Marchionni in the second half of that game, and he could replace the Italian international. Stevan Jovetic will no doubt be their dangerman after impressing yet again. The diminutive Montenegrin really does look like one of Serie A’s stars in the making. Due to injuries, Savio Nsereko, Javier Castillo and Per Kroldrup could miss the trip to the capital but Adrian Mutu may return.
It will be an important game for Riccardo Montolivo, who will have to impose himself if the Viola are to take something from the Olimpico. A good performance would also catch the eye of Marcello Lippi who must now be thinking about his World Cup squad, with South Africa 2010 in touching distance of the Azzurri.
25 Commotto- 5 Gamberini – 3 Dainelli – 23 Pasqual
24 Santana – 18 Montolivo – 8 Jovetic – 15 Zanetti – 6 Vargas
This match has so many variables that making a prediction is almost impossible. For Roma, it will hinge on Ranieri’s team selection and whether his players have taken on board his football philosophy. If they play well, they should register a home win. Fiorentina have stuttered to victories against Cagliari, Palermo and drew with Bologna, but haven’t faced any real stiff opposition. If Gilardino or Jovetic fail to score, and Mutu isn’t fit, it is difficult to see who else will get them a goal.
With the home crowd behind them and the pressure of the first season victory now out of the way, Roma must be favourites for the encounter. Totti will be the usual fulcrum for their offensive play and if his contract negotiations are not affecting his morale, the Giallorossi skipper will surely be the main protagonist of this potentially thrilling encounter.