Roma Women’s second season gets underway on Sunday as AC Milan visit Stadio Tre Fontane.
After finishing fourth in their debut campaign, Roma are looking to close the gap with the sides that finished above them – one of whom was Milan – in order to mount a serious challenge towards the top end of the table.
To help with the task, a number of new faces have been brought into the club, with Brazilian forward Andressa Alves, Ada Hegerberg’s sister Andrine and Italy star Manuela Giugliano the key arrivals to get fans excited. However, in the most recent pre-season outing, a comeback draw against PSG before a penalty shootout defeat, it was two players from last season who scored the crucial goals – with wingers Annamaria Serturini and Agnese Bonfantini eager to prove they should still be given a starting berth by Betty Bavagnoli.
Like Roma, Milan Women have undergone several changes this summer – with Roma’s acquisition of midfielder Giugliano a major disappointment for the Rossonere, and goalkeeper Camelia Ceasar also making the same switch. Coach Carolina Morace was replaced by former striker Maurizio Ganz as part of a reshuffle, while experienced forward Daniela Sabatino has left for Sassuolo. However, last year’s top scorer and captain Valentina Giacinti remains in the fold, and will be one player Roma’s backline must be wary of.
That Giallorosse defence has also seen a few changes of personnel over the last few months, with Emma Lipman leaving and Kaja Erzen and Tecla Pettenuzzo being brought in. Bavagnoli has numerous options to pick from, so it may take a few weeks before her best back four is known. One guaranteed starter, though, will be captain Elisa Bartoli, who was an inspiration in her first season for her childhood club and will be accepting no less than the same from herself second time around.
While the defence settles in, Roma will be relying on their attacking firepower, with Andressa and fellow new signings Amalie Thestrup and Lindsey Thomas complimenting what was already there with the likes of Serturini and Bonfantini.
Making the chances for them, Giugliano will add creativity from midfield, and will be hoping for a positive debut against her former teammates, as Roma look to make a statement of intent with a winning start in front of their home crowd.
The game kicks off at 11:30am UK time on Sunday, and will be free to view via the @ASRomaFemminile Twitter account.