AS Roma, are set to take on Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir FK in Thursday evenings UEFA Europa League clash at the Stadio Olimpico. Although Roma have had a shaky and inconsistent start to the new Serie A campaign, they should be able to pull out a much-needed win against their Turkish opponents.
Roma who are currently sitting eighth in Serie A thus far, possess a 1-2-0 record and a goal differential of +2, while scoring eight goals in three games. New head coach Paulo Fonseca is trying to implement a new system with the Giallorossi and the squad have shown glimpses of his style of play but thus far have been inconsistent. After disappointing back to back ties with Genoa CFC and SS Lazio to start the season, Roma came out with a 4-2 win over US Sassuolo Calcio on Sunday, giving them some momentum for Thursdays match.
Istanbul Basaksehir FK are currently in 14th place in the Turkish Super Lig and have a 1-1-2 record with a goal difference of -3. Clearly not an ideal start for new club manager Okan Buruk who almost had his team in UEFA Champions League if not for losing to Greek club Olympiacos FC in the qualifying round. This task of facing a decent Roma squad may also result in a loss for the team from Istanbul.
AS Roma (4-2-3-1): Pau Lopez; Alessandro Florenzi, Gianluca Mancini, Federico Fazio, Leonardo Spinazzola; Bryan Cristante, Jordan Veretout; Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Justin Kluivert; Edin Dzeko
Istanbul Basaksehir FK (4-2-3-1): Mert Gunok; Junior Caicara, Martin Skrtel, Alexandru Epureanu, Gael Clichy; Mahmut Tekdemir, Mehmet Topal; Edin Visca, Danijel Aleksic, Robinho; Enzo Crivelli
Who to watch
Both squads possess talent, but it would be safe to say Roma have a more talented squad. A few Giallorossi players to look out for would be new boy Mkhitaryan, youngster Kluivert and the Italian Pellegrini.
Mkhitaryan, Roma's new boy who came over from Arsenal FC, impressed in his Roma debut on the weekend by scoring a goal and Roma are hoping for much of the same from the skilled midfielder throughout the season. The 20-year-old pacy winger Kluivert, who also scored on the weekend, will hope to keep that form going on Thursday against a weaker opponent. Lastly, Pellegrini looks to keep getting better year after year and looks to be an important player to the new Italy under coach Roberto Mancini. Pellegrini also picked up three assists in Roma's win at the weekend.
For Istanbul Basaksehir look for the veteran Brazilian Robinho who still has tricks up his sleeve even at 35 years old. Also, Bosnian international midfielder Edin Visca who has scored two goals in four league appearances for Istanbul Basaksehir and has played the full 90 minutes in all four league games for them thus far this season.
Also, possibly making an appearance from the start or from the bench, look for former Chelsea FC striker Demba Ba and talented former FC Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan.
Thus far Roma has been unconvincing but did show much improvement in their match on Sunday and they will be hoping to keep up their winning ways on Thursday.
After finishing second in the Super Lig last season, Istanbul Basaksehir are off to a slow start and are hoping to turn things around as soon as possible, but playing such a talented squad like Roma may be too much for Istanbul to handle in the end. Expect there to be goals and if Roma plays to their potential, they should come out on top.
The clash Thursday evening will take place in Rome at 8:00 p.m (GMT+1).