Preview: Spezia vs. Roma

Preview: Spezia vs. Roma

After three consecutive Serie A draws – and four games without a win – Roma look to get their pursuit of a top six place back on track this weekend, as they visit Spezia at Stadio Alberto Picco.

The teams meet on Sunday evening, with Jose Mourinho under pressure to produce a first victory of the month against a side managed by one of his former players.

Never far from the headlines in victory or defeat, Jose Mourinho took top billing again last weekend as his faltering Roma side posted their third league draw on the spin.

Though the Giallorossi fought back in improbable style to rescue a point against in-form Verona – with teenagers Edoardo Bove and Cristian Volpato both finding the net in the final half-hour – Mourinho stormed onto the pitch to argue with the referee, before kicking the ball into the stands.

Having made “serious allegations” in a “threatening” manner towards the official – according to the Italian football authorities – the former Inter manager was sent off and will now serve a two-match touchline ban.

Aside from such drama, Roma’s latest comeback draw leaves the capital club in eighth place – six points outside the Champions League qualification spots and now trailing both Fiorentina and bitter rivals Lazio in the standings.

They have won just twice in Serie A since the turn of the year, and also slumped out of the Coppa Italia earlier this month; leaving only the Europa Conference League – in which they have been drawn against Vitesse Arnhem in the last 16 – as a potential source of silverware.

Before Sunday’s game, though, they remain unbeaten in their three Serie A matches versus Spezia, with two wins at the Olimpico and an away draw since the Ligurians were promoted in 2020. It could be an entertaining affair, too, as the teams have racked up a total of 13 goals in those encounters.

Confirming their excellent start to 2022 has certainly come to an end, Spezia were beaten by Bologna last time out – going down 2-1 at Dall’Ara to a side that had won just once in their previous nine matches.

Heading into the final few minutes still level thanks to Rey Manaj’s early strike – later cancelled out by a Marko Arnautovic equaliser for the hosts – the Aquilotti were unable to hang on for a point and allowed Arnautovic to double up in the 84th-minute.

Previously held by rock-bottom Salernitana and defeated by Fiorentina at home, Spezia are now only four points above the drop zone, after having surged clear of trouble since the winter break.

Nonetheless, Thiago Motta’s men are still enjoying a nine-game scoring streak in Serie A – representing a club record in the top flight – and pose a threat to any team on the peninsula.

Wins over Scudetto contenders Milan and Napoli during the past two months highlight their ability to cause an upset, so Mourinho will be wary when he visits an opposite number with whom he claimed the treble for Inter back in the glory days.

Spezia Serie A form:
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Roma Serie A form:
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Roma form (all competitions):
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We say: Spezia 1-2 Roma
It will surely not be a straightforward process – as only Empoli have conceded more goals than Roma’s 13 in Serie A during 2022 – but the visitors can return to the capital with all three points.

Having lost consecutive games and starting without their first-choice striker, Spezia’s downward trend will continue – with Juventus also on the horizon next week.

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