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

Stadio Olimpico sets the stage for Sunday’s high-stakes Serie A clash between top-four hopefuls Roma and relegation-threatened Sassuolo. Points are imperative for both teams, albeit for different reasons, increasing the likelihood of a fascinating affair. 

Daniele De Rossi’s rare defensive approach backfired on Roma on Thursday as they slipped to a 1-0 loss to Brighton in the return leg of their Europa League last-16 tie. But they left East Sussex happier of the two sides following a thumping 4-0 victory in the first leg at home. 

Roma’s next stop on the continental front is a mouth-watering quarter-final tie against Milan. There’s still time until then as they return to domestic duties, looking to whittle down a six-point deficit on fourth-placed Bologna, who grabbed a last-gasp 1-0 win at Empoli on Friday.

Diego Llorente salvaged a point for Giallorossi with a last-minute strike in a goal-glutted 2-2 draw at Fiorentina last weekend. Another stalemate would be unacceptable, especially as they face a downtrodden Sassuolo side on their home venue. Yet, the visitors will be out to prove their worth.

After succumbing to a gut-wrenching 1-0 loss at fellow relegation rivals Hellas Verona on his touchline debut, new Sassuolo boss Davide Ballardini oversaw a hard-earned 1-0 home triumph against Frosinone last time out. Lady Luck was on his side as Kaio Jorge spurned a late penalty to help Neroverdi post their first league win since early January.

Match Preview


Thursday’s loss at the Amex Stadium was a rare blip under De Rossi, marking only Roma’s second competitive loss in 12 matches during the post-Jose Mourinho era (W8, D2). In Serie A alone, only runaway leaders Inter have bested Giallorossi during their ex-captain’s tenure. Otherwise, it’s been plain sailing, especially at home.

Roma have won their three remaining league outings under De Rossi, notably scoring 2+ goals on each occasion. Delivering action from the opening whistle, their last five home top-flight matches have featured at least two first-half goals, highlighting the potential for a quick-fire start. That was also the theme in this corresponding fixture in 2022/23.

However, it didn’t go well for Roma. Sassuolo’s rampant first-half performance resulted in a 4-3 triumph, which remains Giallorossi’s only defeat to this opposition in ten Serie A encounters they’ve hosted (W4, D5).


It’s virtually impossible to expect Sassuolo to score three times before halftime, as they did in March 2023. Ballardini’s men have massively struggled on their recent travels, losing each of their last seven across all competitions while failing to get on the scoresheet on five. 

Sassuolo’s form woes away from home are part of the reason they commence this round two points adrift of safety. The other reason is their notorious inability to keep a clean sheet. Regardless of Ballardini’s first league win in charge, defensive frailties remain Neroverdi’s foremost problem.

Only twice have they registered a shutout across the opening 28 Serie A rounds. On top of that, just Salernitana (58) and Frosinone (57) have conceded more goals than Sassuolo’s 55. On that basis, it takes no rocket science to understand Ballardini’s principal task for the remainder of the campaign.

Team News

A minor hip injury could prevent Romelu Lukaku from continuing his free-scoring form against Sassuolo. The Belgian has scored six times in as many appearances against this opposition. But like long-term absentee Tammy Abraham, he could miss out on this fixture.

Rasmus Kristensen and Chris Smalling are also out, but Roma’s Argentine duo Paulo Dybala and Leandro Paredes should return to the fold. Sardar Azmoun, who filled Lukaku’s boots in England on Thursday, will likely retain his place in attack.

On the other hand, Sassuolo lost two first-team stars to suspension against Frosinone as Josh Doig and Kristian Thorstvedt accumulated yellow cards. Ballardini can’t call upon Neroverdi’s best player, Domenico Berardi, who’ll likely miss the rest of the season due to injury.

Roma vs Sassuolo Potential Lineups

Roma (4-3-3): Mile Svilar; Rick Karsdorp, Gianluca Mancini, Evan Ndicka, Angelino; Bryan Cristante, Leandro Paredes, Lorenzo Pellegrini; Paulo Dybala, Sardar Azmoun, Stephan El Shaarawy.

Sassuolo (4-2-3-1): Andrea Consigli; Jeremy Toljan, Gian Marco Ferrari, Martin Erlic, Marcus Pedersen; Uros Racic, Matheus Henrique; Gregoire Defrel, Nedim Bajrami, Armand Lauriente; Andrea Pinamonti. 

Roma vs Sassuolo Prediction

Even without Lukaku, Roma should still have more than enough firepower to tear apart Sassuolo’s porous defense despite Ballardini’s best efforts to plug the leaking. Don’t be surprised to see plenty of late drama, as Giallorossi have tallied a league-high 15 goals beyond the 75th minute. 

It’s no less important to note that Sassuolo have conceded no fewer than 16 during that same timeframe.

Prediction: Roma Win

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