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Nov 22, 2020 at 2pm UK
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Preview: Roma vs. Parma - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Hoping not to have lost momentum since Serie A was interrupted by the return of international football, high-flying Roma host success-starved Parma at Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

Fabio Liverani's Parma are hunting for their first league win since a third day victory against Verona, while the Giallorossi are now in pursuit of four wins on the spin, having sandwiched another positive Europa League result between impressive dismissals of Fiorentina and Genoa just before the break.

Match preview

Their pre-hiatus upswing saw Fonseca's team climb to fourth place in the table with 14 points - level with potential scudetto rivals Napoli and one ahead of defending champions Juventus.

A resounding 3-1 win at Genoa topped off a period of great goalscoring potency for Roma, even in the absence of star striker Edin Dzeko, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.

Armenian playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan bagged a hat-trick that day and has been directly involved in seven Serie A goals this season - with three goals and four assists - while creating numerous other opportunities. In fact, 13 of their 16 league goals registered in this 2020-21 campaign have been scored by only four players - penalty specialist Jordan Veretout (with four), Dzeko, Pedro and Mkhitaryan - all on three each.

Since their attack-focused Portuguese coach took charge last year, Roma have scored prolifically - racking up 117 goals in 59 matches in all competitions. Only under the management of Englishman Herbert Burgess, who also took charge of Milan and Padova in the pre-war era, have the Giallorossi netted more goals (142) under a single manager during his first 60 games.

Sunday's opposition should hold few fears for a still improving side, as Roma have won nine of their last 12 league matches against Parma - losing just two - while the Gialloblu have won only one of their 26 Serie A away games against the capital club, losing 19. That solitary win came way back in April 1997 under the aegis of Parma legend Carlo Ancelotti.

The Crociati have slipped to 15th in the standings after seven games despite being unbeaten in their last four encounters, including a win against Pescara in the Coppa Italia. Parma will now travel to the Olimpico having recorded three consecutive draws - with Spezia, Inter and Fiorentina.

All of which has left veteran centre-back Bruno Alves in typically combative mood ahead of the journey south, with the club captain declaring: "We want to win. I say it loud and clear."

Star attacker Gervinho, meanwhile, has been more tempered in his pre-match statements, suggesting that even a point in Rome would be gratefully tallied towards what he outlines as the club's realistic first priority - staying up.

That aim appears most pressing for coach Liverani, who likes to talk ambitiously about the Parma project but has yet to produce consistent results since taking over in the summer.

With Gervinho the team's top scorer on a meagre two goals, the Gialloblu have managed just eight goals and often experience considerable difficulties when travelling away from the Tardini - conceding a cumulative nine goals in matches at Bologna, Udinese and Inter.

Conversely, Parma have actually scored in 13 away league matches in a row - already a record in Serie A for the club - but will be hard-pressed to turn such a stat into points on Sunday, as they face one of Europe's most in-form teams.

Roma Serie A form: DWWDWW
Roma form (all competitions): WDDWWW

Parma Serie A form: LWLDDD
Parma form (all competitions): WLDWDD

Team News

Roma forward Edin Dzeko has reportedly again tested positive for COVID-19 in his third test of the week and will therefore miss out on Sunday. Borja Mayoral continues to cover his absence.

Coach Paulo Fonseca is also without long-term absentees Nicolo Zaniolo and Javier Pastore, as well as Federico Fazio, Marash Kumbulla and Davide Santon, who are all observing quarantine measures. Midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini has now tested negative but will most likely return against CFR Cluj in the Europa League next week.

Chris Smalling was unable to train due to a severe bout of food poisoning, so the English defender's participation is in doubt. The 30-year-old former Fulham man has played just two times in Serie A so far this season, having only recently returned from injury.

For the visitors, Andreas Cornelius and Maxime Busi could return from thigh injuries, while Valentin Mihaila has yet to recover from a groin strain.

Slovenian playmaker Juraj Kucka will start in support of Gervinho and goal-starved striker Roberto Inglese.

Roma possible starting lineup:
Mirante; Mancini, Jesus, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Veretout, Cristante, Spinazzola; Pedro, Mkhitaryan; Mayoral

Parma possible starting lineup:
Sepe; Iacoponi, Alves, Gagliolo, Pezzella; Cyprien, Hernani, Kurtic; Kucka; Inglese, Gervinho

We say: Roma 2-0 Parma

Goal-shy Parma take on the might of free-scoring Roma so there is only one probable result amid the echoing surrounds of the cavernous Olimpico.

Fonseca's flyers can still thrive in the absence of Edin Dzeko, with several others capable of unsettling Parma's ageing back four - the visitors' search for an overdue Serie A win will go on.

Top betting 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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