Benevento v Roma preview: Record against promoted teams to continue?

Roma’s focus returns to Serie A on Sunday as they travel to face Benevento.

After claiming a 2-0 win over Braga in the Europa League in midweek, which followed a 3-0 Serie A win over Udinese, Roma are looking for a third win and clean sheet in a row as they return to domestic action.

With the only two sides above Roma, Inter and Milan, going head to head earlier in the day, the Giallorossi will be able to cut the distance with at least one of them should they win.

Benevento will be trying to stop that, though. Filippo Inzaghi’s side gave Roma a fairly difficult game in the reverse fixture, before quality shone through and the Lupi won 5-2.

This game will also pose its challenges, with Roma having to deal with a depleted backline. Chris Smalling, Roger Ibanez, Marash Kumbulla and Bryan Cristante are all injured, meaning Gianluca Mancini will have to hold down the defence.

Mancini will likely be supported by Federico Fazio or Juan Jesus, with Leonardo Spinazzola dropping into defence as he did on Thursday.

In turn, that could mean a first start in over a month for Bruno Peres on the left flank. Should Fazio play, he would be ending an even longer wait for an appearance; he is yet to feature in the league this season.

Further forward, Paulo Fonseca has more options to choose from again. Amadou Diawara has given him food for thought after a decent performance against Braga, but Gonzalo Villar could return in his place.

A similar dilemma for the coach will be who starts up front. Both Edin Dzeko and Borja Mayoral scored against Braga, but Fonseca’s formation dictates that only one can start.

Whichever players feature from the first minute will be hoping to show their superiority. Roma have won all their previous games against Benevento and will be looking to keep that going.

Developing a reputation as flat-track bullies this season, Roma have won all their games against teams in the bottom half. They are also looking to increase their record of winning 26 games in a row against teams who won promotion the previous season.

If Roma can win, it would be just their second away victory in Serie A in 2021. Such a result will be the expectation, but as always, it will have to be earned.

The game kicks off at 7:45pm UK time and will be available to watch live on Premier Sports 1.

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