Leicester City face off against AS Roma this week at Stadio Olimpico, with a place in the UEFA Europa Conference League final on the line.
Jose Mourinho is known to win trophies at whichever club he manages, and it could turn out to be the case at AS Roma this season, as he leads the Italian giants into the second leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final. Coming back with confidence despite a 1-1- draw away in the first leg, the Portuguese manager will be positive going into the return leg.
Roma could only manage a bore goalless draw against Bologna at the weekend in Serie A. That result effectively ruled them out of the running for a top-four place, but qualification for the Europa League through their domestic standings remains a strong possibility
The reward for winning the Europa Conference League also remains the same, but Mourinho will be hoping to have his name on yet another European trophy. He could become the first manager to win all three major European trophies.
Meanwhile, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers will be under increased pressure heading into this semi-final. The Foxes have endured an underwhelming Premier League campaign and will be unable to qualify for Europe through their domestic standings. Hence, winning the Conference League represents their only chance of playing in a continental tournament next season.
Leicester City rested many of their first-team starters in the loss to Tottenham at the weekend. Those changes signalled Rodger’s intention, as he prioritises the Conference League more than the Premier League. The Foxes will have to be at their best and put in a top-notch performance to have a chance to progress through to the final.
Leicester did not perform to their best ability in the first leg. After going behind to a Lorenzo Pellegrini strike, they were fortunate enough for Gianluca Mancini to score an own goal to keep the Foxes in the tie ahead of their trip to Rome for the second leg.
Team News & Tactics
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) May 3, 2022
Despite an underwhelming result at the weekend over Bologna, Jose Mourinho will be happy his squad came out of the game unscathed and will look to field his strongest lineup against Leicester. They have good news regarding Leonardo Spinazzola, who will be fit to feature in the squad after a long time since suffering an injury at Euro 2020 last summer.
Tammy Abraham and Lorenzo Pellegrini should return to the lineup after starting on the bench against Bologna at the weekend. The latter should replace Felix Afena-Gyan in the team, while the former Chelsea striker should slot in for Carles Perez. Pellegrini could start in the No. 10 role for Roma, keeping Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the bench.
Mourinho will likely start with a front two of Abraham and Nicolo Zaniolo, while there could be a change in central midfield with Sergio Oliveira replacing Jordan Veretout. Bryan Cristante should keep his place in the team.
Mourinho is expected to go with a back three comprising of Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling and Roger Ibanez. Nicola Zalewski and Rick Karsdorp could start at wing-backs.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Cristante, Oliveira, Zalewski; Pellegrini; Zaniolo, Abraham
Brendan Rodgers confirmed that James Maddison and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall were absent for Tottenham due to injury issues. However, the manager assured fans they are okay to play against Roma and will likely feature from the start. Meanwhile, he also suggested Jamie Vardy has made enough progress from his fitness problems to feature in the midweek clash.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) May 4, 2022
The veteran striker is expected to play from the start and lead the line for the Foxes. Wilfred Ndidi and Ryan Bertrand continue to remain absent through injuries.
Wesley Fofana and Jonny Evans were rested for the weekend, and the duo could start against Roma in central defence. Rodgers will play with the back four, meaning Ricardo Pereira and Timothy Castagne ought to line up as the full-backs for the visitors.
Dewsbury-hall could be pulled back into central midfield alongside Youri Tielemans. Maddison will likely occupy the No. 10 role, with Harvey Barnes paying on the left-hand side of the attack. Ademola Lookman remained on the bench against Tottenham, and his recent performances warrant a start against Roma.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Pereira, Fofana, Evans, Castagne; Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall; Lookman, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy
- Roma are winless in their last four games across all competition.
- Roma are unbeaten across ten games at home in all competitions.
- Roma and Leicester will face each other only for the second time in their history, with the previous encounter from last week ending in a 1-1 draw.
- Leicester City are winless across their last five games across all competitions.
- Leicester City have won only three times in their last 18 away games in all competitions.
Player to Watch
🏴 James Maddison vs. Roma
• 1 big chance created
• 4 successful dribbles
• 5 ground duels won
• 85% passing
• 100% take-on success
• 100% ground duels won
Yet another strong performance ✅ pic.twitter.com/cV7yEXFOyT
— Matchday365 (@Matchday365) April 28, 2022
Brendan Rodgers’ management of Maddison’s game-time to keep him fit for a big occasion in the Conference League may have been a wise choice. The Foxes’ fans will be keen on the attacking midfielder putting in a showing as the team enters a pivotal period of their season.
Maddison is due a top performance that could potentially take Leicester into a European Final and boost their chances of playing Europa League football next season. The stage is set for the England international to stamp his authority as he will look forward to helping the Foxes defeat Roma.
AS Roma 2-1 Leicester City
Going by the form guide, both teams have endured terrible runs across all competitions of late, although Roma have a slight edge over Leicester City. The Foxes have not found rhythm due to the constant chopping and changing of their lineup, although they will pose a strong challenge for the Giallorossi.
However, in terms of quality game-changers, Roma may have the edge with players like Tammy Abraham, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolo Zaniolo. The Italian side could trump Leicester in the second leg and move into the UEFA Conference League final with a narrow win in Rome.