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

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

After being bailed out by a rookie teenager last weekend, Roma go in pursuit of their third win in a week, as they welcome Torino to Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

The hosts have been one of Serie A's top-performing sides on home turf, while their Granata counterparts continue to struggle away from Turin.

Match preview

Following a period of instability and some acrimony at the capital club, Roma received a sorely-needed boost from an unheralded primavera player last Sunday, as they stole the points late on at Genoa.

Felix Afena-Gyan's brilliant brace at Stadio Luigi Ferraris not only made the 18-year-old Ghanaian the 12th youngest player to score for the Giallorossi in their long and illustrious Serie A history, but also ensured a precious three points for Jose Mourinho's under-pressure side.

They then followed that first victory in four games with another on Thursday evening, when a strong XI took Zorya Luhansk apart in the Europa Conference League. After struggling to adapt to Mourinho's demands in the early part of the season, another youth team graduate, Nicolo Zaniolo, returned from being dropped to score and provide an assist for Tammy Abraham, who bagged a pair for himself.

Helping Roma move on from a humbling experience against their Group C bogey team Bodo/Glimt, that result secures at least a top two finish for Mourinho and company, but they may still require a playoff to secure a spot in the last 16.

After going undefeated in nine domestic home games previously, the Giallorossi - currently sitting fifth in Serie A; a point ahead of city rivals Lazio, but 11 off the top - lost their most recent league fixture at the Olimpico, to Milan.

Furthermore, since winning their first three league games this term, Roma have not won consecutive matches in Serie A, so will be doubly determined to put that right and continue their winning run on Sunday against bottom-half opposition.

Inconsistency has beset Torino in recent weeks, as they look to build on a solid start to life under highly-rated tactician Ivan Juric, who arrived from Hellas Verona in the summer.

In their last six games, the Granata have alternated between home wins and away losses, which reflects the bigger picture in which they have picked up just four points away from home. Only the bottom two, Cagliari and Salernitana, have accrued fewer on the road so far this term, so a trip to Rome this week represents a major challenge to their credentials.

They travel to the capital in good spirits though, as a 2-1 win on Monday helped Juric's men consolidate their mid-table position, and they currently sit 11th - as close in points terms to the top four as the bottom three.

Prevailing in a close-fought encounter against Udinese, when even Fernando Forestieri's brilliant late free-kick could not deny them maximum points and goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic vitally intervened on several occasions, Torino have now won four matches from seven on home soil.

However, consecutive defeats without scoring on each of their last three Serie A road trips mean that star striker Andrea Belotti's recent return has been all the more welcome. Indeed, the Italy international has scored six times against Roma in the top flight - only against Udinese, Sassuolo and Sampdoria has he netted more - and five of those strikes came at the Olimpico.

Roma Serie A form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

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

Torino Serie A form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini is one of at least two men expected to return to the first XI after the midweek win in Europe, as Roger Ibanez is also set to come into the back three on Sunday.

Due to Jordan Veretout's suspension for accumulation of yellow cards, Nicolo Zaniolo should retain his place, while Bryan Cristante and Gonzalo Villar are still missing from Jose Mourinho's midfield as they recover from COVID-19.

The Giallorossi hope to have Matias Vina back in action on the left flank, particularly as his deputy Riccardo Calafiori has also been out injured, but Stephan El Shaarawy has been filling in there recently and could start again.

Torino are set to travel south without Cristian Ansaldi, Rolando Mandragora, Ricardo Rodriguez and Simone Verdi, but are unlikely to make many changes to the side which beat Udinese.

Therefore, Ivan Juric is set to select a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Josip Brekalo - a goalscorer on Monday - battling it out with Karol Linetty, Marko Pjaca and Dennis Praet to support Andrea Belotti up front.

Injury-stricken Belotti has only found the net twice in Serie A this season, but will be selected to lead the line ahead of alternative options Antonio Sanabria and Simone Zaza.

Roma possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Pellegrini, Darboe, El Shaarawy; Mkhitaryan, Zaniolo; Abraham

Torino possible starting lineup:
Milinkovic-Savic; Djidji, Bremer, Buongiorno; Singo, Lukic, Pobega, Aina; Praet, Brekalo; Belotti

We say: Roma 2-1 Torino

Roma could have stumbled into some form thanks to the good news story surrounding their win last week and a subsequent European success.

While Torino are a match for anyone this season at their headquarters, they do not travel so well, so will be caught out by their hosts' superior forward department.

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