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Serie A | Gameweek 1
Aug 20, 2023 at 5.30pm UK
Stadio Olimpico
Salernitana
Roma
2 - 2
Salernitana
Belotti (17', 82')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Candreva (36', 49')
Gyomber (41'), Maggiore (66'), Kastanos (69'), Fazio (83')

Preview: Roma vs. Salernitana - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Roma and Salernitana, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Having finished sixth in their first two seasons under Jose Mourinho, a precious top-four finish is the target for Roma this term, and they start the new Serie A campaign at home to Salernitana on Sunday.

While the Giallorossi narrowly missed out on claiming successive European trophies in 2022-23 and failed to find consistency in the league, the visitors consolidated their place in Italy's top tier.


Match preview

Roma midfielder Nemanja Matic looks dejected after losing the Europa League final on May 31, 2023© Reuters

Ending a previously promising season in defeat and bitter recrimination, Roma's Europa League final clash with competition specialists Sevilla saw them denied silverware in a tense penalty shootout, as they left Budapest empty-handed.

Although the inaugural Europa Conference League winners had scrapped their way to a UEFA final for a second straight season, they ultimately came up just short - just as they did in pursuit of a top-four domestic finish.

Goals were hard to come by in the closing months of the campaign, as Tammy Abraham and Andrea Belotti both struggled and the mercurial Paulo Dybala was beset by injury - the Giallorossi registered the fewest Serie A strikes throughout Italy's top nine teams.

During the summer, Roma's hierarchy and abrasive boss Jose Mourinho continued their uneasy relationship, and the veteran tactician has been provided with signings such as Evan N'Dicka, Leandro Paredes and Houssem Aouar to help take his squad closer to a title challenge.

While few expect the capital club to contend for the Scudetto, Mourinho is under pressure to improve Roma's standing in the months ahead - but the long-term absence of Abraham through injury will not help.

Mourinho's men - who fared well on a tour of Portugal but lost to Toulouse in pre-season - won 1-0 at Stadio Arechi in last season's Serie A opener, and they now meet Salernitana back at Stadio Olimpico; the last five times they have started the season at home, Roma have remained undefeated.

Salernitana coach Davide Nicola during the match on March 13, 2023© Reuters

Salernitana have won just one of their eight top-flight encounters with Roma to date, and that sole success came back in January 1999. Indeed, the southern side have never before beaten their capital-city counterparts at the Olimpico in Serie A.

As recently as May, though, the Granata came within minutes of success in Rome, as only a late Nemanja Matic equaliser denied them victory in a 2-2 draw also featuring goals from Stephan El Shaarawy, Antonio Candreva and Boulaye Dia.

The latter's contribution helped coach Paulo Sousa keep Salernitana afloat in Serie A last term, as the Senegalese striker chipped in an impressive 16 league goals and six assists. Somewhat surprisingly, having converted his loan from Villarreal into a permanent deal, Dia remains in Salerno - for now, at least.

Amid a terrible run of form after the World Cup, Sousa took over from Davide Nicola - who had steered the Granata to safety from an improbable position just months earlier - and ultimately secured top-flight survival.

Following his appointment in February, a 10-game unbeaten run saw Salernitana all but assure a third straight campaign in Calcio's top tier, and being hard to beat brought them a relatively comfortable 15th-placed finish.

Although the Campanian club - who progressed to the Coppa Italia's second round last week by beating Ternana 1-0 at the Arechi - failed to win any of their last nine away fixtures in 2022-23, no fewer than nine of a league-high 15 draws came when on the road.

Roma pre-season form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W


Salernitana form (all competitions):
  • W



Team News

Paulo Dybala in action for Roma on October 6, 2022© Reuters

Due to suspension, Roma will be without two integral players on Sunday evening, as both Paulo Dybala and captain Lorenzo Pellegrini must serve bans lingering over from last season.

Tammy Abraham remains on the long road to recovery from an ACL injury, while Roger Ibanez, Nemanja Matic and Georginio Wijnaldum are among those to have left the club this summer; nonetheless, Houssem Aouar arrived from Lyon and should deputise for Dybala, while Diego Llorente steps into the boots of Ibanez at centre-back.

Aouar was one of only five midfielders to have been involved in at least 50 goals for a single team in Ligue 1 from 2016 to 2023, scoring 30 times and providing 24 assists, and the Algeria international should start behind lone striker Andrea Belotti.

Another recent arrival, Rasmus Kristensen, could feature on the right flank for the hosts, but midfield pair Leandro Paredes and Renato Sanches only signed this week and may start their Roma careers on the bench.

Salernitana, meanwhile, hope to have all of their main men available, and after beginning last week's cup win on the bench, Boulaye Dia will be promoted to the starting XI if fully fit. Defensive duo Lorenzo Pirola and Matteo Lovato remain doubts, though.

Among outfield players currently in Serie A, Antonio Candreva has played the most matches (468), including 24 against Roma. During that time, the former Lazio winger has scored just twice against the Giallorossi, but he did net when the clubs met in May.

Roma possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Llorente; Kristensen, Bove, Cristante, Spinazzola; Aouar, El Shaarawy; Belotti

Salernitana possible starting lineup:
Ochoa; Gyomber, Fazio, Pirola; Mazzocchi, L. Coulibaly, Maggiore, Bradaric; Candreva, Kastanos; Dia


SM words green background

We say: Roma 1-1 Salernitana

No team drew more games in Europe's top five leagues last season (15, level with Reims and Nantes), so Salernitana are not easy to beat under Paulo Sousa. With a settled side and a proven goal threat, the visitors can therefore frustrate their hosts on matchday one and restrict new-look Roma to just a point.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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Game History

How you voted: Roma vs Salernitana

Roma
68.6%
Draw
23.5%
Salernitana
7.8%
51
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