Roma v Verona preview: Dzeko out again as second half of season begins

Roma will be hoping to make a strong start to the second half of the season when they host Hellas Verona on Sunday.

In the top four at the half-way stage, Roma have made progress on the pitch so far this season. However, the past couple of weeks have brought some challenges, so a good result is required to stay among the higher berths.

The 20th matchday of the season sees Roma welcome Hellas Verona to Stadio Olimpico. They encountered some problems in the reverse fixture on the opening day, only bringing back a 0-0 draw – which then became a 3-0 walkover defeat.

One of the reasons Roma struggled to score that day was because Edin Dzeko remained on the bench. Linked with a move to Juventus at the time, the captain did not take to the field.

A few months later, and it will be a similar scenario. After falling out with Paulo Fonseca, Dzeko is not even in the squad for the game.

Fortunately, since the last meeting between the two sides, Roma have brought in another striker who is proving to be a capable frontman. Borja Mayoral will lead the line this time, hoping to build on his four-goal month.

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Behind him, Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be able to return after shaking off an injury. Lorenzo Pellegrini will likely continue in the other attacking midfield role, wearing the captain’s armband.

Another attacking midfielder who is available, but unlikely to start, is Javier Pastore. After injury nightmares, the Argentine is in the squad for the first time this season.

Fonseca has confirmed that Pau Lopez will start in goal, but gave little else away about his lineup. He promised a strong selection, though, refusing to rest players in view of the next game against Juventus.

The best way to prepare for that challenge would be to build momentum by getting a result against Verona. After bouncing back to winning ways against Spezia last week but not in a simple fashion, it’s time to see if Roma have put their recent troubles behind them.

The game kicks off at 7:45pm UK time and will be available to watch live on Premier Sports 2.

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