High-flying Roma will hope to continue their title push and keep the distance behind leaders Juventus when they travel to face struggling Genoa in their first match since the turn of the year.
No Rincon & Pavoletti, no problem?
Tomas Rincon missed only two games for Il Grifone in Serie A this season and his departure to Juventus could bring new problems for struggling Genoa. The former Hamburg midfielder leaves Genoa on the back of 82 appearances for the club and it is now up to manager Ivan Juric to try and fill the gap the experienced midfielder leaves behind. Juric will also have to compensate for the absence of Leonardo Pavoletti, who left for Napoli. It will be easier said than done given the fact that Genoa are going through a rough patch. Il Grifone lost three of their last four Serie A matches toward the end of the year, which saw them drop to 12th place in the standings. On the positive note, Genoa’s Pietro Pellegri – dubbed the next Messi – who became the joint-youngest player ever to debut in Serie A at the age of 15 could be given more room to show his potential in the second part of the season, after coming on as a substitute in Genoa’s 1-0 defeat against Torino. Genoa head into the game with Roma hoping to end the poor run against the Giallorossi and looking for the first win after four consecutive defeats against the Rome-based club.
Miguel Veloso is suffering from a thigh injury and will be out for about six weeks, whereas the home side will also miss Togo’s Serge Gakpe, who is with his national team at Africa Cup of Nations.
Roma struggling away
Luciano Spalletti’s men have been rather dominant at home turf this season with Roma winning last 12 home games. On the other hand, the Giallorossi won just three on their nine games on the road and that is one aspect Spalletti will have to work on if Roma are to continue their title push behind Juventus. Roma are currently sitting in second place in the standings, four points behind the league leaders. Spalletti’s side faces a tough challenge ahead of htem, knowing that they will be forced to go along without one of their top players, Mohamed Salah, who is now on international duty with Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations. The winger scored eight goals and five assists for Roma, but Roma will also miss his creativity and edge he provides the team with. Roma have a good record against Genoa of late and will most certainly hope that Edin Dzeko will be able to keep up his fine scoring form to help the team record a much-needed win. Bosnian forward has bagged 13 goals thus far in the season including one in his team’s last game against Chievo.
Daniele De Rossi is dealing with a muscular problem and will be forced to miss the first game of 2017. Kostas Manolas is in for a two-week break due to a hamstring problem, whereas Leandro Paredes and Alessandro Florenzi are also unavailable.
Roma need to win this game in order to keep pace behind Juventus and we expect Luciano Spalletti to order full charge from the off. Genoa have lost two of the most important players from the first part of the season and it will be highly interesting to see how Il Grifone will cope without Rincon and Pavoletti.
Top pick: Roma 1.95 (19/20) @Bet365
Alternative pick 1: Roma/Roma 3.20 (1/5) @Coral
Alternative pick 2: Edin Dzeko to score anytime 2.00 (1/1) @Betfair