MX23RW : Sunday, September 19 21:54:17| >> :120:23499:23499:
May 31, 2015 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Olimpico
Totti (85')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Vasquez (35' pen.), Belotti (94')

Preview: Roma vs. Palermo

Sports Mole previews the Serie A encounter between Roma and Palermo.

Roma host Palermo at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening having guaranteed second spot in the Serie A standings last weekend.

As for the visitors, they still hold small hope of overtaking AC Milan in 10th spot, but their main aim will be to ensure that they don't drop down to 13th position in the table in their first year back in the top flight.


AS Roma French coach Rudi Garcia gestures during their Italian Serie A football match against Sampdoria in Rome's Olympic stadium on February 16, 2014© Getty Images

After finally securing their Champions League place last weekend, Roma can head into their final fixture without the pressure that has followed them since the turn of the year.

At one stage this season, the Giallorossi had looked on course to feature in a two-way battle with Juventus for the Serie A title, but a run of just three wins from 16 games left the club battling for a top-three position with the likes of Lazio and Napoli.

However, after seeing Lazio close the gap over the past few weeks, Roma finally made sure of their spot in Europe's premier competition with a 2-1 victory in the derby at the Stadio Olimpico.

That win has extended their recent record to four wins from their last five matches, but despite their achievement, the club's supporters won't necessarily be impressed with sitting as many as 16 points adrift of the league leaders.

Rudi Garcia's men can afford to enjoy their last 90 minutes of the campaign, but with their boss keen to ensure that they only suffer one home defeat all season, they could relish the chance to reward their fans for keeping faith with them over the past six months.

Recent form: LWWLWW


Giuseppe Iachini head coach of Palermo gestures during the Serie A match between US Citta di Palermo and SS Lazio at Stadio Renzo Barbera on September 29, 2014© Getty Images

In their first year back in Serie A, Palermo once had hopes of achieving a place in the top half of the standings, but despite that now being unlikely, they can still be satisfied with their campaign.

First and foremost, they would have wanted to avoid an immediate return to Serie B, but a winter burst of 19 points from nine games effectively guaranteed that wouldn't enter the equation.

The Rosanero have been poor since the start of the year, but it would still be a solid achievement if they can finish in 11th position.

Manager Giuseppe Iachini has relied on the goals of Luca Rigoni in recent weeks, with the midfielder netting four times in his last seven outings.

Palermo will make the trip to the Stadio Olimpico having recorded seven points from their last four games on their travels, and with Roma perhaps playing at a lower intensity, they could capitalise to end the campaign on a positive note.

Recent form: LDDLWL

Team News

Juventus' midfielder Andrea Pirlo (C) fights for the ball with Roma's midfielder from Bosnia-Herzegovina Miralem Pjanic (R) during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Roma on October 5, 2014© Getty Images

With their season effectively over, Garcia is likely to be considering changes to his starting lineup for their final 90 minutes before the summer.

Midfielder Miralem Pjanic and on-loan striker Victor Ibarbo are possible inclusions, as is defender Ashley Cole.

As for Palermo, Andrea Belotti may be drafted into the team after he made an appearance off the bench in the 3-2 defeat to Fiorentina last weekend.

Roma possible starting lineup:
De Sanctis, Holebas, Torosidis, Yanga-Mbiwa, Manolas, De Rossi, Keita, Nainggolan, Florenzi, Totti, Iturbe

Palermo possible starting lineup:
Sorrentino, Vitiello, Andelkovic, Gonzalez, Lazaar, Rigoni, Della Rocca, Jajalo, Vazquez , Quaison, Dybala

Head To Head

In 21 meetings between the two clubs, Roma have emerged victorious on 10 occasions with Palermo winning seven times.

During that period, seven of Roma's triumphs have come at the Stadio Olimpico, but they have failed to record three points in their last two away games.

The second of those games took place in January when Mattia Destro netted a second-half equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw for Roma.

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We say: Roma 3-1 Palermo

Scoring goals was a problem for Roma earlier in the campaign, but having rediscovered their touch in front of goal over the past six games, it's hard to back against Garcia's team extending their recent run of form this weekend.

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Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in action for Roma on December 10, 2014
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