Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 4/5
AS Roma will play host to Fiorentina when the two teams take to the pitch at the Stadio Olimpico to do battle in the sixth round of the 2020/21 Serie A roller coaster on Sunday.
Whenever these two teams play each other, those of us who followed Italian football at the turn of the century can’t help wondering about the feelings of one man – Gabriel Omar Batistuta. Now 51, the former striker spent nine years at Fiorentina before joining Roma in 2000 and winning the Scudetto and the Supercoppa Italiana in his first season with the Giallorossi.
Roma have been doing really well this season. They may be sitting in ninth place, but with no more than four points separating Napoli in second and Lazio in 12th, it really isn’t saying much at the moment, especially when the fact that they’ve already played both champions Juventus and current leaders AC Milan and walked away undefeated – the two games they’ve drawn from the opening five. They also drew 0-0 against Hellas Verona in the opening round, but the game was later registered 3-0 in favour of Verona due to 23-year-old Roma midfielder Amadou Diawara being mistakenly listed as an Under-22 player.
So, even though the records show that game as lost, Paulo Fonseca’s team are still unbeaten over 90 minutes on a football pitch in the Serie A this season, and deservedly so. Their performances have been extremely good, and there is a feeling that they might go a long way this term.
In the Europa League, Roma have beaten Young Boys and played a goalless draw against CSKA Sofia on Thursday, and they currently sit in second to CFR Cluj in Group A table on goal-difference.
Midfielder Gonzalo Villar and forwards Borja Mayoral and Carles Perez all started against CSKA Sofia on Thursday, but all three are expected to give the positions up to Jordan Veretout, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Edin Dzeko, respectively. Diawara is in quarantine after a positive Covid-19 test, which means Davide Santon is likely to get a spot in the middle of the park.
Fiorentina are close behind Roma in the table, holding the 10th place currently with a point less to their name (seven). The two wins they’ve managed to rack up so far, against Torino at the start of the campaign and Udinese last week, enclose defeats away to Inter Milan and at home against Sampdoria, as well as a disappointing draw away to Serie A newcomers Spezia.
Unlike those of Roma, Fiorentina’s performances haven’t been too impressive. Coach Giuseppe Iachini, who usually prefers to arrange his team in a 3-5-2 shape, has some notable names in his ranks, like French veteran winger Franck Ribery, former AC Milan midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura, and in-demand defender Nikola Milenkovic, who is really starting to make his name in Italian football. Nonetheless, it feels that these players can give significantly more than they’ve shown so far in this campaign.
On Wednesday this week, Fiorentina beat Padova in the third round of the Coppa Italia by 2-1.
Having spent a large portion of the summer without a club, Jose Callejon will have been thoroughly pleased about scoring his first goal of the season against Padova, but this time he might be forced to return to the bench to make way for Ribery.
Midfielder Borja Valero and defender German Pezzella will be absent through injury.
Picking a team to bet on to win this game seems pretty straightforward at this point of the season. Roma have the greater quality, they are playing well and they are playing at home. They’ll still be motivated to make up for the ground lost through the Verona fiasco and come closer to the top of the table.
Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 4/5
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