MX23RW : Sunday, June 13 00:56:08| >> :600:119883:119883:
May 23, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Alberto Picco, La Spezia, Italy
Verde (6'), Pobega (38')
FT(HT: 2-0)
El Shaarawy (52'), Mkhitaryan (85')
Kumbulla (90+4')

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

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

Roma can guarantee European qualification for next season if they beat Spezia away from home at the Stadio Alberto Picco on Sunday afternoon.

The Giallorossi have failed to claim any points from each of their last four Serie A matches on the road, while the hosts have won just one of their last seven league games.

Match preview

Roma manager Paulo Fonseca pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Roma boosted their hopes of securing European qualification when they beat bitter rivals Lazio 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico last weekend.

Strikes from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pedro either side of half time helped the Giallorossi claim their first win in five matches against the Aquile.

Securing three points in the Italian capital means that Roma head into the final day with the knowledge that a victory against Spezia would seal a place in next season's inaugural Europa Conference League. However, failing to win could see Sassuolo leapfrog them into seventh place if they were to win against Lazio.

Paulo Fonseca will take to the dugout for the final time as Roma head coach, before he is replaced by Jose Mourinho. The 48-year-old has been with the Giallorossi for just two years and was unable to guide the club to the Europa League final earlier this month, losing 8-5 on aggregate to Manchester United.

Fonseca's side are not ending this campaign strongly, having won only three of their last 11 Serie A matches. Defensive frailties have cost them throughout this season, conceding 56 goals; only four times in the last 70 years have they conceded as many goals in a single top-flight campaign.

In addition, Roma travel to Spezia having lost each of their last four away games in the league; the last time they suffered five successive defeats on the road was back in 2008 under former boss Luciano Spalletti.

Fonseca will be hoping that he can leave the club on a high with a victory on Sunday, while Mourinho is sure to be watching from the wings hoping that his new team can clinch European qualification.

Spezia's Giulio Maggiore celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on February 13, 2021© Reuters

Spezia claimed their ninth Serie A win of the season when they comfortably beat Tornio 4-1 on home soil last weekend.

A brace from M'Bala Nzola either side of half time as well as strikes from Riccardo Saponara and Martin Erlic sealed all three points for Vincenzo Italiano's side, who have now avoided relegation.

Spezia are the third team in the last five top-flight campaigns to avoid relegation despite conceding at least 70 goals, after Cagliari in 2016-17 and Genoa in 2019-20; this had happened only twice in the previous 62 Serie A seasons.

After securing promotion via the playoffs from Serie B last season, Italiano's men have shown that they can compete against the biggest clubs in the Italian top-flight, with results such as a recent 1-1 draw against champions Inter Milan last month and previous successes against both Napoli and AC Milan earlier this year.

They also came close to taking points away from Roma in January, after an entertaining 4-3 loss at the Stadio Olimpico, which saw Lorenzo Pellegrini score a 92nd minute winner for the Giallorossi.

With survival now confirmed, Spezia can relax and enjoy the final game of the season, and a victory could see them climb as high as 11th in the table if other results were to go their way – an impressive position to finish considering this has been their first ever campaign in the top-flight.

Spezia Serie A form:
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W

Roma Serie A form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Roma form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Henrikh Mkhitaryan warms up for Roma on September 19, 2019© Reuters

Spezia forward Diego Farias picked up his fifth yellow card of the season last weekend, so he is suspended for the final game on Sunday.

Federico Mattiello is also unavailable with a muscle problem, while Gennaro Acampora, Julian Chabot and Andrey Galabinov are all doubtful with injuries.

Jeroen Zoet was recalled to the starting lineup at the expense of Ivan Provedel last weekend and the Dutchman could keep his place in goal against Roma.

Striker Nzola – who is the first player in his Serie A debut season to score at least 11 goals for a promoted team since Sassuolo's Domenico Berardi in 2013-14 – is expected to lead the line, with Saponara and Kevin Agudelo to provide support from the flanks.

As for Roma, Pellegrini and Roger Ibanez came off with hamstring injuries in the win against Lazio and are the latest names to join a lengthy list of absentees, including Chris Smalling (thigh), Pau Lopez (shoulder), Amadou Diawara (groin), Riccardo Calafiori (muscle) and Jordan Veretout (thigh).

Federico Fazio (tonsilitis), Leonardo Spinazzola (hamstring), Nicolo Zaniolo (knee) and Carles Perez (back) also remain on the treatment table.

Daniel Fuzato is set to keep his place in goal, while 19-year-old Ebrima Darboe could be handed another start in central midfield ahead of Gonzalo Villar and Javier Pastore.

Edin Dzeko is expected to lead the line with Stephan El Shaarawy, Pedro and Mkhitaryan to operate in advanced midfield roles behind him.

The latter could become the third player in the last 15 campaigns to record more than 10 goals and 10 assists in a single top-flight season for Roma, since Mohamed Salah in 2016-17 and club legend Francesco Totti in 2012-13.

Spezia possible starting lineup:
Zoet; Ferrer, Ismajli, Erlic, Marchizza; Maggiore, Ricci, Pobega; Agudelo, Nzola, Saponara

Roma possible starting lineup:
Fuzato; Karsdorp, Mancini, Kumbulla, Santon; Cristante, Darboe; El Shaarawy, Mkhitaryan, Pedro; Dzeko

SM words green background

We say: Spezia 2-3 Roma

Both sides will be looking to end the 2020-21 campaign on a high, with more riding on this game for Roma, who know that a win will guarantee European qualification.

Goals are to be expected on Sunday as the net has been found at least twice in each of the last 10 fixtures involving either Spezia or the Giallorossi.

January's encounter between the two sides was a closely-fought contest won by Roma, and we feel that this weekend's clash at the Stadio Alberto Picco will be a similar affair, with the visitors claiming all three points.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 2.5 goals 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.Over 2.5:data

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