The new Serie A season gets underway for Roma on Sunday evening with a home match against Fiorentina.
It’s an exciting new era for Roma under Jose Mourinho, who after overseeing a Europa Conference League victory at Trabzonspor, gets to lead his troops out at Stadio Olimpico for the first time in a competitive fixture.
Roma will be hosting a Fiorentina side who have also undergone a change in the dugout this summer – two, in fact, after Gennaro Gattuso backed away from the club and Vincenzo Italiano took over instead. It will be an intriguing battle between two teams undergoing transition.
There will not be much transition, so to speak, between Roma’s approach against Trabzonspor and for Fiorentina. Mourinho confirmed at his pre-match press conference that he would be making minimal changes to his lineup so the team can build up a rhythm in the block of fixtures before the first international break in early September.Embed from Getty Images
One difference to the squad will be the inclusion of Tammy Abraham, although it is not yet clear if Roma’s new Englishman is ready to start. Besides, Eldor Shomurodov marked his competitive debut with a goal and should keep his place up front.
As he has already promised, Mourinho gave little away about other team news. One indication he did give, though, was that Rick Karsdorp would continue at right-back after comments about Bryan Reynolds being at an early stage of his development.
With no new midfielder having arrived over the summer, it will be interesting to see whom Mourinho chooses alongside ex-Fiorentina man Jordan Veretout. In Turkey, it was Bryan Cristante, who seems the likeliest candidate to continue. However, the boss did admit after the last game that neither of the duo are fully fit after delayed starts to pre-season, due to injury and international duty respectively.
There will likely be Serie A debuts for Rui Patricio and Matias Vina, leaving the usual suspects to fill the gaps.
Roma failed to win either of their matchday one Serie A fixtures under Paulo Fonseca and have not won an opener as the home team since 2016, when Luciano Spalletti’s side beat Udinese. Mourinho will be aiming to inspire a stronger start than the club have seen in recent years – and to maintain any success that stems from the encounter.
But it will not be easy against another side hoping for a revival of fortunes this season. Fiorentina have secured the services of key defender Nikola Milenkovic for another year with a contract extension and have taken back his compatriot Matija Nastasic to strengthen at the back. Up top, they have managed to keep hold of their other Serbian star, striker Dusan Vlahovic – at least for now.
However, Roma managed to do the double over Fiorentina last season and will be hoping to earn another win over them to preserve the positive feeling as the Mourinho era takes shape.
The game kicks off at 7:45pm UK time and will be available to watch live on BT Sport 1.