Preview: Roma vs Brighton – Team News, Lineups & Prediction

Stadio Olimpico sets the stage for the first leg of a handsomely-looking Europa League last-16 tie between Roma and Brighton & Hove Albion. Thursday’s encounter comes amidst Giallorossi’s purple patch, increasing the likelihood of their progression into the third consecutive UEFA quarter-finals. 

Led by new manager Daniele De Rossi, Roma drew both knockout playoff round legs against Feyenoord 1-1 but qualified for this stage via a penalty shoot-out win. A second-leg stalemate in Rome forms part of Giallorossi’s five-match unbeaten streak across all competitions in the build-up to this fixture (W4, D1). 

Roma will take the field off the back of a 4-1 demolition of Monza last weekend. That triumph maintained their hopes of securing a first top-four finish in Serie A since 2017/18, keeping them within a four-point distance of fourth-placed Bologna. But the Europa League remains their last chance of avoiding a trophyless campaign.

With that in mind, last season’s beaten finalists will be out to capitalize on Brighton’s rough patch. Roberto De Zerbi’s charges head into proceedings having lost back-to-back domestic outings without a reply, including a 3-0 defeat at Premier League mid-table strugglers Fulham over the weekend. 

As the club’s first continental journey hindered their domestic aspirations, going the distance in the Europa League is Brighton’s only opportunity to salvage a disappointing season. However, a lack of experience in these high-octane contests gives Roma the upper hand ahead of an all-important first leg at the Olimpico.

Match Preview


Although English sides boast a formidable reputation in European football, Roma have often handled these challenges well on home turf. They’ve emerged victorious from seven of the last eight encounters against Premier League visitors in the Italian capital. As if that’s not encouraging enough, they’ve gone from strength to strength at home this term.

Only the Milan clubs have taken Roma down in their backyard in 2023/24, with De Rossi’s troops going unbeaten in all 17 remaining home games in all competitions (W13, D4). Almost unplayable at the Olimpico, Giallorossi won all three Europa League group-stage fixtures here via multiple-goal margins and without conceding. 

With Paulo Dybala back to full fitness and firing on all cylinders, Roma ought to be confident of preserving their flawless continental record on home soil this season.

Brighton & Hove Albion

In contrast to Roma’s highly impressive patch, Brighton’s form has suffered a substantial decline, with the Seagulls racking up just one win in their last five competitive matches (D1, L3). Once an attacking force to be reckoned with, De Zerbi’s men have only netted once in their three most recent outings. 

Against this backdrop, Brighton have fared tremendously well on their Europa League travels in their debut campaign. After a 2-2 draw at Marseille in their first-ever away fixture in the competition proper, they’ve won back-to-back such contests ‘to nil,’ overcoming Ajax and AEK Athens in that run.

Those victories are parts of Brighton’s four-game winning streak in Europe’s second-tier tournament. More importantly, they did not concede a single goal in that sequence. 

Team News

Roma boss De Rossi can call upon his entire squad for this encounter, barring long-term absentee Tammy Abraham. His countryman Chris Smalling returned to the starting XI in a 3-2 win against Torino and will probably retain his place at the heart of Giallorossi’s backline. 

As for Brighton, Solly March, Kaoru Mitoma, James Milner, and Jack Hinshelwood are unavailable due to injuries. But the absence of the Europa League top-scorer Joao Pedro with a thigh problem remains De Zerbi’s principal concern ahead of this trip.

Roma vs Brighton & Hove Albion Potential Lineups

Roma (4-3-3): Mile Svilar; Zeki Celik, Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, Angelino; Bryan Cristante, Leandro Paredes, Lorenzo Pellegrini; Paulo Dybala, Romelu Lukaku, Stephan El Shaarawy.

Brighton & Hove Albion (4-2-3-1): Bart Verbruggen; Tariq Lamptey, Jan Paul Van Hecke, Lewis Dunk, Pervis Estupinan; Pascal Gross, Carlos Baleba; Adingra, Julio Enciso, Facundo Buonanotte; Danny Welbeck.

Roma vs Brighton & Hove Albion Prediction

Roma have reigned supreme in recent Europa League games at home, claiming an eye-catching 17 wins across their last 23 (D3, L2). With Brighton performing well beyond expectations, we expect De Rossi’s team to seal an all-important first-leg lead ahead of next week’s trip to East Sussex.

Prediction: Roma Win

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