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Sep 23, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
Abraham (36')
Pellegrini (56'), Cristante (65'), Calafiori (66')
Pellegrini (90')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Walace (32')

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

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

Following their first setback of the Serie A season, Roma welcome Udinese to Stadio Olimpico on Thursday evening.

While a second-half collapse at Verona saw the Giallorossi's perfect record ended on Sunday, their visitors were thrashed 4-0 by Napoli; suffering their first defeat of a so-far successful season.

Match preview

Just days ahead of their first clash of the season with old rivals Lazio in the Derby della Capitale, a deflated Roma side have an almost immediate chance to bounce back from their first reverse of the 2021-22 campaign.

Having led through a first-half goal by inspired captain Lorenzo Pellegrini at the weekend, they then crumbled defensively at Stadio Bentegodi - with struggling Verona striking back to run out unexpected 3-2 winners at the final whistle.

Fatigue and a lack of concentration have since been cited as reasons for their dramatic loss of form in the second half, with the game coming soon after a Europa Conference League fixture against CSKA Sofia - in which Pellegrini also scored - and in the run-up to the all-important Derby.

Nonetheless, Jose Mourinho's men are still on a six-game winning streak at home in Serie A - their best run since 2017 - and can boast an impressive aggregate score of 21-7 from seven competitive matches so far at home and abroad.

The former Real Madrid manager's start to life in the Italian capital could hardly have gone any better, but a truer test of his credentials as a man renewed by returning to a league where he is revered will come now, after a first hiccup.

Though they have - until last Sunday at least - started well this term, the Giallorossi's next opponents were beaten both times the clubs met last term, and may have been knocked out of their rhythm by a disappointing defeat of their own.

Ahead of Monday's visit from in-form Napoli, a commendable start to the new season had seen Udinese improbably mixing it with the big boys near the top of the Serie A standings, but by the full-time whistle the Bianconeri were well beaten and facing a tough trip to the capital without time to reset.

Conceding two goals in either half to the Partenopei came as a bitter blow to the Friuli-based side, who had - up to that point - let in just three altogether in both league and cup this term.

Luca Gotti had previously seen his side win two and draw one of their opening three fixtures - with their only failure to claim maximum points coming against supposed Scudetto-challengers Juventus - so optimistic fans will hope for a second successive away victory in midweek.

Admittedly, Udinese's most recent win on the road came in Liguria, where they beat Spezia 1-0, but they may also recall a fine 2-0 success at the Olimpico, post-lockdown in the summer of last year.

On that occasion, former captain Rodrigo De Paul set up both goals for the Bianconeri, but now others - including former Premier League pair Gerard Deulofeu and Ignacio Pussetto - are stepping up in the wake of his departure to Spanish champions Atletico Madrid.

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

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

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

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

Team News

Just days before his first Derby in the Roma dugout, Jose Mourinho is expected to rotate his squad somewhat, with several fringe players in contention to feature at the Olimpico on Thursday.

Long-term absentee Leonardo Spinazzola and injured full-back Matias Vina aside, the Giallorossi should be at full strength in terms of fitness - with their absences being filled-in for by young Riccardo Calafiori once more.

Benched for the last two matches, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is set to return to the first XI, with Eldor Shomurodov the man most likely to miss out. Alternatively, the former Genoa striker could deputise for Tammy Abraham up front should Mourinho decide to rest the Englishman, whose compatriot Chris Smalling is also in contention to play.

Udinese, meanwhile, have only cruciate ligament injury victim Ilijia Nestorovski - who was on the scoresheet the last time the Zebrette won in Rome - definitively out of action ahead of the trip to the capital.

Teenage defender Destiny Udogie is unlikely to feature due to a muscular injury, with Sunday's fixture versus Fiorentina a more realistic return date from a knock he picked up while on duty with Italy's Under-21s.

The visitors are again poised to field Gerard Deulofeu and Ignacio Pussetto in attack, with another ex-Watford man Roberto Pereyra a probable starter in behind.

Roma possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Karsdorp, Mancini, Smalling, Calafiori; Veretout, Cristante; El Shaarawy, Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Shomurodov

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Becao, Nuytinck, Samir; Molina, Arslan, Walace, Pereyra, Zeegelaar; Pussetto, Deulofeu

We say: Roma 2-0 Udinese

Even with one eye on upcoming events at the Olimpico this weekend, expect Roma to return to winning ways due to their opponents' lack of punch in the final third - with no conventional 'number nine' to turn to for visiting coach Luca Gotti.

The Giallorossi look capable of scoring from several departments, so should take care of business against a well-organised but relatively limited side.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data

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