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Aug 29, 2021 at 7.45pm UK

Bonazzoli (35'), Aya (50')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Pellegrini (48', 79'), Veretout (52'), Abraham (69')
Perez (40'), Mkhitaryan (67')

Preview: Salernitana vs. Roma - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Salernitana vs. Roma - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Salernitana and Roma, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Following a successful few days at Stadio Olimpico, now Roma travel south to meet promoted Salernitana on Sunday.

While the Giallorossi carried the momentum of an opening-day win into European competition to seal back-to-back victories, their hosts lost at Bologna on their return to Serie A after 22 years away.

Match preview

A new, Jose Mourinho-led era got underway in the Italian capital last weekend, as Roma saw off Fiorentina in their opening match of the Serie A season - the first of two wins in a matter of five days for the Portuguese coach.

His team's cause was undoubtedly aided by a dubious decision to send visiting goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski off for a barely-perceptible clip of Tammy Abraham's ankle early in the first half at the Olimpico, and - despite a brave effort from 10-man opponents - Roma went on to record a 3-1 win thanks to two goals from former Viola midfielder Jordan Veretout.

While Veretout has since been called up by France for the first time ahead of next month's World Cup qualifiers, much of the attention surrounded a long-awaited return to competitive action for golden boy Nicolo Zaniolo, who impressed before being dismissed for a second bookable offence during a tightly-fought second half.

The Italy international, who is now finally free of injury following two years decimated by ill fortune, enjoyed another opportunity on Thursday night, scoring on the counter during a 3-0 defeat of Trabzonspor in the Europa Conference League playoffs. Zaniolo's first goal since July 2020 helped Roma seal qualification for the group stage after a 5-1 aggregate win.

Mourinho - who can still boast a Serie A points-per-game ratio bettered only by Antonio Conte this century - decided against excessive rotation and was rewarded for his faith in continuity.

The former Real Madrid manager will now expect to maintain that momentum as Roma seek to solve the away woes which undermined their top-four ambitions last term.

Under Mourinho's compatriot Paulo Fonseca, the Giallorossi failed to win any of their last seven league games on the road - losing five - and the last time they recorded a longer such streak was back in 2000, when they went 11 straight away games without success under Fabio Capello.

After an action-packed season debut last weekend, Salernitana will hope to extend Roma's away-day misery on Sunday, but will certainly be up against it unless they can shore things up at the back.

The southern outfit completed only 109 passes at Stadio Arechi - the fewest of any side, with every other Serie A team completing at least double that number - as they lost to 3-2 Bologna last time out.

Having seen Stefan Strandberg dismissed in the 32nd minute, the Granata went ahead soon after the interval, once their Emilian counterparts were also reduced to 10 men. However, a collapse in the last quarter of the game saw a more experienced Bologna side secure the points, leaving Salernitana empty-handed at the final whistle.

Having been promoted to the top tier following their runners-up finish to Empoli in Serie B, the Campanian outfit have returned to the elite after more than two decades away - just their third attempt at the top flight throughout a century-old history.

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has since been linked with a takeover, as the club attempt to survive and then thrive in Serie A.

Last season, head coach Fabrizio Castori saw his side deny ambitious Monza and promotion favourites Lecce a place in the big time and he has been busy reshaping his side for the rigours ahead during the off-season.

Top scorer Gennaro Tutino - on loan from Napoli last term, but now with Parma - has been replaced by former Crotone striker Simy, and the Nigerian frontman is in line for a home debut against Roma. Prolific last term - despite playing for the division's rock-bottom side - he will hope to rekindle such form at his new club and help Salernitana to register a major shock this weekend.

Salernitana Serie A form:
  • L

Salernitana form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Roma Serie A form:
  • W

Roma form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Jose Mourinho has declared an intention not to rotate his squad too frequently in the opening weeks of his latest managerial appointment, so the XI which lines up on Sunday should closely resemble that which took care of business against Trabzonspor in midweek. Therefore, Rui Patricio will continue in goal, with Tammy Abraham again starting up front, as he seeks a first goal in Giallorossi colours.

However, Nicolo Zaniolo will be frustrated to miss more playing time due to a suspension for his red card last Sunday, with Carles Perez the preferred candidate to replace him in support of Abraham.

Injury-plagued defender Chris Smalling is set to be sidelined once more, as he recovers from a thigh strain sustained in training last week. The former Manchester United man joins long-term casualty Leonardo Spinazzola in missing out, but Mourinho should otherwise have a full squad to select from.

The hosts, meanwhile, are expected to pair summer arrivals Simy and Federico Bonazzoli up front from the start, after the former was deemed only fit enough to feature in the second half at Bologna. Milan Djuric makes way due to injury.

Midfielder Francesco Di Tacchio returns from suspension and is set to replace Leonardo Capezzi in the engine room, but Frederic Veseli still has a knee problem and cannot join the squad for Roma's visit.

Former Norway Under-21 captain Stefan Strandberg recently arrived from Russia and led the Granata's three-man defence last week, but is now suspended due to his dismissal on the opening day - Luka Bogdan is expected to deputise.

Salernitana possible starting lineup:
Belec; Bogdan, Gyomber, Jaroszynski; Kechrida, Obi, Di Tacchio, M. Coulibaly, Ruggeri; Simy, Bonazzoli

Roma possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Karsdorp, Ibanez, Mancini, Vina; Cristante, Veretout; Perez, Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Abraham

We say: Salernitana 1-3 Roma

While they have proved a formidable force at the Olimpico in recent times, Roma have been far less stable on the road. Nonetheless, they are unbeaten in their last 36 games against newly-promoted sides and are unlikely to relinquish such a record in Salerno.

If danger man Simy can find his feet quickly, the home side are likely to breach the Giallorossi defence, but the visitors have a variety of firepower available to them which Salernitana simply cannot match.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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