Roma v Fiorentina preview: Fonseca looks for longest unbeaten home run

Roma are back in Serie A action on Sunday evening, looking for their first win in three games.

The Giallorossi passed through the month of October without tasting defeat, but their two most recent results were both draws – first against Milan and then CSKA Sofia.

After that Europa League stalemate, the attention returns once more to league action. Roma host a Fiorentina side who have not won on their travels so far this season.

Just one point separates the two sides in the table, but Roma have a chance to put daylight between them and their opponents. Between league and cup, Fiorentina have won their last two games in a row, but before that, coach Giuseppe Iachini was coming under considerable pressure.

Now, it’s Roma’s turn to disrupt Iachini’s chances of keeping his job. The Viola boss has only won two of his previous 12 games against the Giallorossi, who have also not lost to Fiorentina in their most recent four league meetings.

Roma will use their usual back three system again, although Paulo Fonseca has not confirmed who will occupy those positions. Chris Smalling is in contention after returning to the lineup in midweek, but may not be ready to play a full 90 minutes so soon.

Ahead of the backline, Gonzalo Villar made a case for his inclusion with a good performance on Thursday. After being asked if the Spaniard was ready to start in Serie A as well, Fonseca said that was the case for all his players.

One man who will almost definitely start in the middle of the park is Jordan Veretout. The Frenchman will face his former club, against whom he scored a brace of penalties last time out in July. The next penalty he scores will be his 10th for the club.

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In attack, Edin Dzeko is likely to replace Borja Mayoral as the centre-forward. Pedro could also come back into the starting lineup after coming on as a substitute against CSKA Sofia.

The opponents will be without their own Borja – experienced midfielder Valero – due to injury. Elsewhere, though, most of their main options are available.

Gaetano Castrovilli remains a key player for the Viola after bursting onto the scene last season. The midfielder has four goals from five league games this season. He brings youth to the team, while they also have Franck Ribery in attack to provide their experience.

Like Roma, they could line up with a back three, making for an interesting tactical battle.

Intriguingly, Fiorentina are the only side in Serie A this season that Fonseca has a 100 per cent record against as Roma boss (the only other teams he did the double over last season – Lecce, Brescia and SPAL – have since been relegated). Of course, he will be hoping to preserve that statistic.

Roma are also looking to keep up their seven-match unbeaten run at home. They have only tasted defeat at Stadio Olimpico once since lockdown – a loss to Udinese at the start of July. Avoiding defeat against Fiorentina would ensure their longest unbeaten home run under Fonseca.

The game kicks off at 5pm UK time and will be available to watch live on Free Sports.

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