Continuing their pursuit of a European place for next season, Roma welcome crisis club Genoa to Stadio Olimpico on Saturday afternoon.
Before the last fortnight’s hiatus, the Giallorossi had put together a three-match winning run between Serie A and the Coppa Italia, while their relegation-threatened visitors are without a victory in 20 games all told.
Further establishing himself as a darling of the Olimpico, top scorer Tammy Abraham was on target twice in Roma’s last league outing, when they raced into a four-goal lead over Empoli at Stadio Carlo Castellani.
Though Jose Mourinho’s men only managed to seal a 4-2 margin of victory by the final whistle, another three points were banked – a week after defeating Cagliari and just days after securing progress to the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, where they face Inter next week.
Roma sit sixth in the standings, but could be far better placed were it not for their lack of points accrued away from home. Even modestly funded clubs such as Empoli and Sassuolo have managed more, so they must continue to pick up wins on Roman soil in order to remain contenders for a top-four spot.
One of the Giallorossi’s few successes outside the capital this term came at Genoa’s expense in November’s 2-0 win at Marassi, and they will certainly fancy their chances of completing the double over their Ligurian counterparts on Saturday.
Not only are they unbeaten in 15 Serie A meetings with this weekend’s opponents, but they have also averaged more than two goals per game in the process. Therefore, Mourinho will expect to complete a three-match winning streak in the league for the first time since the very start of his tenure.
Already on their third coach of a tumultuous campaign, Genoa will travel south this weekend still seeking just their second league win of the season.
After they drew at home to Udinese last time out, in Alexander Blessin’s dugout debut, the Grifone remain entrenched in the bottom three – currently five points adrift of safety having played a game more than some of their relegation rivals.
Having ruthlessly sacked their high-profile head coach Andriy Shevchenko, as the club’s new ownership feared a potential descent to the second tier and appointed Blessin, the former RB Leipzig youth coach is now tasked with reviving an ailing side.
Crushed 6-0 by Fiorentina just days before his arrival, Genoa – who were also recently knocked out of the cup by Milan – at least kept a rare clean sheet against Udinese, but it is arguably at the other end of the pitch where their most acute problems lie.
Averaging less than a goal per game this season, the Ligurians have endured a winless streak in Serie A which now stands at 20 consecutive matches – the longest ongoing run throughout Europe’s top five leagues.
Roma Serie A form:
Roma form (all competitions):
Genoa Serie A form:
Genoa form (all competitions):
We say: Roma 2-0 Genoa
Although Genoa’s winless run must eventually end, the likelihood of that happening at the Olimpico this week is minimal – even with a number of fresh faces to provide new attacking options.
Roma really must take advantage of a clear opportunity to take three more points on home turf, and their final-third quality will prove the difference on Saturday.