Roma v Sassuolo preview: Return to league action at Olimpico

A tricky tie against Sassuolo awaits Roma upon their return to Serie A action on Sunday.

After losing their last league game to Napoli, Roma got back on track with a comfortable win over Young Boys in the Europa League on Thursday. Now, they will be looking to carry that form across to Serie A.

While the loss to Napoli ended their unbeaten run (on the pitch) this season, Roma are still yet to taste defeat at home in 2020-21. Trying to end that record will be a Sassuolo side who have started the season in fine form.

Sassuolo have a very similar record to Roma after nine games. The Neroverdi’s form has seen them rise into the top four; they were unbeaten until their last game against title challengers Inter Milan.

Hence, Roma will have to be at their best to assert their superiority. Like on Thursday, they must do so without Chris Smalling and Jordan Veretout – their best defender and midfielder respectively – as the pair continue their recoveries from injury. Gianluca Mancini also remains out.

Therefore, Bryan Cristante is likely to continue in defence. Indeed, Paulo Fonseca did not mention the Italian as an option in midfield, confirming he would pick two out of Amadou Diawara, Gonzalo Villar and Lorenzo Pellegrini – who spent two years with the opponents earlier in his career.

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Primavera midfielders Tommaso Milanese and Ebrima Darboe are also called up to the squad to bolster the numbers.

Sassuolo have two former Roma players among their ranks, Federico Ricci and Gregoire Defrel. However, the latter will miss the game through injury, and the former is unlikely to play either.

While Sassuolo have started the season in good form, Roma can take optimism from the fact that they have never lost to a side managed by Roberto De Zerbi. Furthermore, they have never lost to Sassuolo at home.

This fixture last season brought Paulo Fonseca’s first win as Roma head coach, as well as Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s debut goal for the club.

However, the reverse fixture – and most recent meeting between the two sides – saw Sassuolo win by the same 4-2 scoreline. That was Roma’s first league defeat of 2020, and they will be hoping they have already suffered their last.

Several challenges still await before the close of the year, though, starting with the Sassuolo battle.

The game kicks off at 2pm UK time and will be available to watch live on Free Sports.

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