Roma will be looking to end a three-game losing run on Wednesday night when they host Parma – and Edin Dzeko will be among those most determined to make an impact.
The Giallorossi have not returned from the three-month, coronavirus-enforced break in the best of form. Despite winning their first game back against Sampdoria, they have since slipped to defeats against AC Milan, Udinese and Napoli.
While the performance against Napoli was an improvement, Roma still seemed to lack a cutting edge in attack. They will be hoping to put that right upon their return to the Stadio Olimpico.
If he plays, captain Dzeko will want to have a big say. A goal on Wednesday would see the Bosnian tick off two big achievements for the club.
Dzeko needs just one more goal to become Roma’s all-time leading foreign goalscorer. If he gets it against Parma, it will mean he has scored against every team he has ever faced in Serie A.
To give him the best chance possible of doing so, Dzeko will need support. In his pre-match press conference, Paulo Fonseca hinted that Roma could continue with the 3-5-2 shape they reverted to against Napoli.Embed from Getty Images
However, if they do use that system, Dzeko will line up alongside a different strike partner. Justin Kluivert has been left out of the squad for technical reasons; Carles Perez could replace him.
With Chris Smalling out for a week or two, Fonseca will also have to find someone else to sit at the heart of his back three. Federico Fazio came on against Napoli, but Bryan Cristante could drop into the defence to fill the role against Parma – just as he did against the same opponents in January.
Another change will see Davide Zappacosta drop out of the starting lineup, as he continues his return from injury. Bruno Peres could play instead.
Elsewhere, Fonseca is not planning too many changes. That will be a contrast from his approach against Napoli, which saw him rotate 10 players.
If Roma lose, Fonseca will become the first manager since 2011 to suffer four successive defeats with the club. Back then, that run of form led to Claudio Ranieri’s resignation. Hence, it is essential for Fonseca to make a statement of intent.
Parma have actually conceded fewer league goals than Roma this season, despite being nine points worse off. The Giallorossi have the more dangerous attack, though – and just need to ensure it is in full working order to get back on track.
Roma lost the reverse league fixture between the two sides, without scoring. However, more recently, they beat them in the Coppa Italia thanks to the first brace of Lorenzo Pellegrini’s career.
In fact, Roma haven’t lost at home to Parma since way back in 1997. Some current players – such as Nicolo Zaniolo, who returned as a substitute against Napoli but is not yet ready to start – were not even born then.
Roma will be hoping that trend can continue. A win would see them reclaim fifth spot from Milan, who beat Juventus on Tuesday. A loss, on the other hand, could see them slip to seventh, depending on how Napoli fare at Genoa in the earlier kick-off.
The game kicks off at 8:45pm UK time and will be available to watch live on Premier Sports 1.