Roma v Genoa preview: Smalling slots back into starting lineup

Roma are aiming to record back-to-back Serie A wins for the first time since January when they host Genoa on Sunday.

After beating Fiorentina with a late winner in midweek, Roma face another side from the bottom half of the table. As the Giallorossi return to Stadio Olimpico, Genoa will be the visitors.

Roma remain in a positive position despite some mixed results of late. Their form against teams from the bottom half of the league has been critical, so the aim will be to continue that against Genoa.

The visitors are without a win in their last four games and Roma beat them 3-1 in the reverse fixture thanks to a Henrikh Mkhitaryan hat-trick.

Mkhitaryan has barely had a rest recently, but will likely be a key player again for this fixture. While Edin Dzeko remains out, there is an extra burden on the Armenian to support Borja Mayoral in attack.

Meanwhile, one player who will definitely be in the frontline is Pedro, after Paulo Fonseca confirmed the Spaniard will start.

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The other man to be guaranteed a start by the coach at his pre-match press conference was centre-back Chris Smalling, who has been out of the starting lineup since January.

Smalling will replace Marash Kumbulla in the lineup, with the Albanian defender ruled out via suspension. A different defender who is in the squad, though, is Bryan Reynolds; the wing-back has been called up for the first time since he joined the club in February.

In midfield, Roma will be without Jordan Veretout, who is out for the rest of the month with injury. Hence, Amadou Diawara may get to start successive league games for the first time this season after scoring the winner against Fiorentina.

There will be plenty of familiar faces among the opposition ranks. Genoa signed former Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman in January, while they also have Davide Zappacosta, Luca Pellegrini and Gianluca Scamacca.

The most important ex-Roma player in their squad is striker Mattia Destro, whose nine goals in 20 Serie A games have earmarked him as one of the best Italian strikers in the league. He is without a goal since January, though, so his former employers will be hoping he stays quiet.

Genoa have been a popular opponent for Roma in recent years; the Grifone have not beaten the Giallorossi in their last 13 attempts. However, they have taken points off Napoli, Atalanta, Lazio and Milan this season, so cannot be taken lightly.

The game kicks off at 11:30am UK time and will be available to watch live on Premier Sports 2.

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