Roma play their first game of 2022 on Thursday as the second half of the Serie A season kicks off with a trip to face AC Milan.
After ending 2021 on an unbeaten run of four games, a tough obstacle now stands in the way of Roma picking up the momentum.
Roma have not beaten Milan since October 2019 and are currently 10 points behind them in the table. The reverse fixture this term was a 2-1 loss.
Roma will be hoping for better fortunes this time around and may take courage from Milan’s form before the break. The Rossoneri won their last game of the calendar year, but went three without victory before it. Furthermore, the hosts will be without a few key players due to Covid-19.
Jose Mourinho has confirmed Rui Patricio will be able to start in goal despite some back pain, which is a relief given backup Daniel Fuzato is still sidelined with Covid-19. Furthermore, the coach said he should be able to welcome back Lorenzo Pellegrini as a starter, although perhaps not for the 90 minutes. Stephan El Shaarawy has also shaken off a knock to be in contention against his former side.
Chris Smalling should also be available after changing his stance on being vaccinated against Covid, without which he would not have been eligible to play after a tightening of Serie A rules.
Mourinho refused to give anything away about his approach to the game, though, so as not to help the preparation of the opponents.
The game kicks off at 5:30pm UK time and will be live on BT Sport 1.