Salernitana v Roma preview: First away Serie A match of new season

Roma travel to face newly-promoted Salernitana in their first away game of the Serie A season on Sunday.

After starting the season with victory at home to Fiorentina, in between a two-legged triumph over Trabzonspor in the Europa Conference League, Roma have one more challenge to enter the first international break with a 100% record intact.

Salernitana twice took the lead against Bologna in their first Serie A match since 1999 last week, before ultimately falling to a 3-2 loss. They are in this division to compete, though, and even though Roma are the favourites for this game, will present a challenge.

Indeed, Jose Mourinho made it clear that Roma have not played any team who uses a back five yet, which will give his attackers fresh thinking to do in terms of breaking the opponents down. Which attackers are given that task remains to be seen; is Tammy Abraham yet capable of starting three games in a row, or could Eldor Shomurodov or Borja Mayoral take their chance? Will there be a lone striker or a partnership between them?

Someone who will definitely not be involved is Nicolo Zaniolo after his red card against Fiorentina. It is likely that Carles Perez will take his place on the right wing, although Stephan El Shaarawy made his own case to come into the side, one way or another, with a goal in the second leg against Trabzonspor.

Fellow attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, is aiming to score for a sixth consecutive Serie A appearance.

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There will be a familiar face – for those with a good memory – in the backline Roma are trying to break down. Norbert Gyomber played six times for the club in the 2015-16 season and has been with Salernitana since last year.

The opponents’ danger man will likely be Simy, the striker who joined from Crotone over the summer. Despite being part of a side that suffered relegation, he scored 20 goals last season, so will be a threat if he is fit enough to play.

While Simy has been working his way back up to speed, Federico Bonazzoli has been doing the damage for Salernitana up front during a fresh loan spell from Sampdoria. He has scored three goals from two games so far this season between league and cup. Thus, although Roma will likely control the ball, their own defenders will be kept busy enough too.

This will be the first meeting between the two sides in the 21st Century and also since Salernitana reformed as a phoenix club in 2011. The last time they met was in January 1999, when Roma went 2-0 down and could only reply with a solitary Luigi Di Biagio goal.

Roma will be hoping for a better result as the battle resumes, and given the difference between the two sides these days, should be expecting one as well. However, all opponents must be respected and results earned on the pitch.

The game kicks off at 7:45pm UK time and will be available to watch live on BT Sport Extra 2 (i.e. via the red button).

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