Cagliari vs Roma: Serie A Preview, Potential Lineups & Prediction

Unipol Domus is the venue as rock-bottom Cagliari and resurgent Roma face off against each other in the final Serie A round ahead of October’s international break. Let’s look at our match preview for this contest.

Cagliari’s swift return to Serie A after a season-long spell in the second-tier division has been far from ideal thus far. When Claudio Ranieri inspired the Sardinian outfit to top-flight promotion through last season’s dreaded playoffs, everything looked idyllic from fans’ perspective. But only seven rounds into the new season, the pessimism is back at Unipol Domus.

Fiorentina put Cagliari to the sword on Monday, cruising to an overwhelming 3-0 win at Stadio Artemio Franchi. It was the Sardinians’ third league defeat in a row and fifth in seven Serie A games this season (D2). As one of only three winless sides in Italy’s elite society, they risk summoning devils from the past with another disappointing result here.

Nailed to the bottom of the table with only two points to their name, Cagliari are at risk of matching an ominous feat. Both sides to have had fewer than three points after the opening eight matchdays across the last four seasons suffered relegation. That perhaps best illustrates the home team’s dire need to break into the win column. 

However, visiting Roma won’t touch down at Unipol Domus to make friends, with Jose Mourinho gunning for another success after overseeing back-to-back triumphs for the first time this season. Giallorossi bounced back from a 4-1 mauling at the hands of promoted Genoa with a 2-0 home win over the Griffins’ fellow newcomers Frosinone last weekend.

Romelu Lukaku and Lorenzo Pellegrini were on the scoresheet on either side of halftime to inspire Roma to only their second Serie A win of 2023/24 (D2, L3). Both players struck again as Giallorossi followed up that morale-boosting result with a scintillating 4-0 Europa League thumping of Swiss outfit Servette on Thursday.

Match Preview


Ranieri’s experiment with a new 3-5-2 formation has suffered an epic failure, with a three-man backline proving unreliable. The veteran coach should, therefore, revert to his favored 4-3-3, desperately looking to find a balance between defense and attack. 

Cagliari’s defensive frailties have seen them concede multiple goals in their last three Serie A outings. But their uneventful frontline probably gives Ranieri a much bigger headache. Only Empoli’s one-goal haul is worse than Cagliari’s dreadful record of two goals scored in the first seven rounds. 

They’ve only scored one in three home league matches so far, doing so in a 3-1 loss to Milan a fortnight ago. 

Player to Watch: Zito Luvumbo

Luvumbo remains Cagliari’s only goalscorer in Serie A this season, having hit the back of the net against Milan and Bologna. His insane pace could pose a genuine threat to Roma’s relatively slow backline.  


Mourinho’s men have fared disastrously on the road in 2023/24 thus far. Except for a 2-1 Europa League win at Sheriff Tiraspol, they’ve gone winless on all three Serie A travels (D1, L2) despite getting on the scoresheet on each occasion. That puts the emphasis on a porous defense.

Stretching back to a 1-0 win at Torino in early April, their last league victory on hostile turf, the visitors have only managed one clean sheet in their last seven Serie A away games. Topically, Roma have conceded 2+ goals on four consecutive league visits to Cagliari since a 1-0 triumph in May 2018 (W2, D1, L1).

Player to Watch: Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku comes into this fixture in superb form. He’s been on the scoreboard in five of his last six appearances for Roma across all competitions. His three most recent strikes also served to open the scoring.

Team News

Ranieri cannot call upon long-term absentees Marko Rog, Marco Mancosu, and Gianluca Lapadula. Worryingly for Cagliari, there are still question marks over the heads of Jakub Jankto and Jacopo Desogus. 

As for Roma, Chris Smalling, Tammy Abraham, Renato Sanches, and Marash Kumbulla are still in the treatment room. Diego Llorente could make the matchday squad. Yet, Pellegrini may not take this trip after sustaining a muscle injury against Servette.

Cagliari vs Roma Potential Lineups

Cagliari (4-3-3): Simone Scuffet; Mateusz Wieteska, Alberto Dossena, Pantelis Hatzidiakos; Gabriele Zappa, Nahitan Nandez, Makoumbou, Alessandro Deiola, Tommaso Augello; Zito Luvumbo, Adnrea Petagna. 

Roma (3-5-2): Rui Patricio; Gianluca Mancini, Bryan Cristante, Evan Ndicka; Rasmus Kristensen, Houssem Aouar, Leandro Paredes, Edoardo Bove, Leonardo Spinazzola; Paulo Dybala, Romelu Lukaku. 

Cagliari vs Roma Prediction

Based on the recent H2H record in Sardinia, this game could go both ways, but we give Roma a slight upper hand after hitting the ground running in the wake of their Luigi Ferraris fiasco. 

Prediction: Roma Win

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