Serie A 2022/23 Season Preview and Predictions: Roma

Ahead of the start of the Serie A 2022/23 season, we preview Roma as Jose Mourinho enters his second season in charge of the Giallorossi and go through their pre-season form, transfers in and out, predicted line-up, one to watch and their season target. So, let’s take a look at Roma’s 2022/23 season preview and predictions.

A Look Back at the 2021/22 Season 

Jose Mourinho guided Roma to a sixth place finish last term but did also secure a European title with a Europa Conference League victory, defeating Feyenoord in the final. He ended the Giallorossi’s 14-year trophy drought after just one season at the helm and he will be hoping for an improved Serie A finish this term as he builds a squad capable of competing in the Champions League.

Mourinho’s aim is a return to Champions League football for Roma – they last qualified in 2018/19 – and despite failing to do so last season, the improvements he made were clear. The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss will also look to perform well in the Europa League this term, with the competition offering another route to Champions League qualification.

Tammy Abraham hit the ground running at Roma last term after he joined from Chelsea in 2021. The forward scored 17 goals and recorded four assists in his maiden season in Serie A. The 24-year-old also scored in Roma’s Europa Conference League semi-final second leg clash against Leicester which helped them reach their first European final since 1991.

Pre-season form: 

Shakhtar (H) W 5-0 (Goals; Pellegrini, Mancini, Zaniolo, Bove)

Tottenham (N) W 1-0 (Goals; Ibanez)

Nice (N) D 1-1

Sporting (N) L 3-2 (Goals; Pellegrini)

Portimonense (N) W 2-0 (Goals; Tripi, Zaniolo)

Sunderland (N) W 2-0 (Goals; Afena-Gyan, Zaniolo)

Transfers In: 

Paulo Dybala (forward) Juventus – free transfer; Georginio Wijnaldum (mid) PSG – on loan; Nemanja Matic (mid) Manchester United – free transfer; Zeki Celik (right-back) Lille; Mile Svilar (gk) Benfica – free transfer; Gonzalo Villar (mid) Getafe – end of loan; Riccardo Calafiori (left-back) Genoa – end of loan; Lovro Golic (center-back) Domzale.

Transfers Out: 

Jordan Veretout (mid) Olympique Marseille; Henrikh Mkhitaryan (att mid) Inter – free transfer; Sergio Oliveira (mid) Porto – end of loan; Ainsley Maitland-Niles (right wing-back) Arsenal – end of loan; Alessandro Florenzi (right-back) Milan; Pau Lopez (gk) Olympique Marseille; Cengiz Under (winger) Olympique Marseille; Daniel Fuzato (gk) Ibizia – free transfer; Robin Olsen (gk) Aston Villa; Davide Santon (right-back) free transfer; Bryan Reynolds (right-back) Westerlo – on loan.

Summary of Transfers

Jose Mourinho has started making significant changes to his squad this summer as he builds a team that’s really his own. Paulo Dybala is the marquee signing, joining from Serie A rivals Juventus after his contract expired with the Bianconeri this summer. Dybala made 15 goal contributions in Serie A last term and the forward himself has previously said that joining a coach like Mourinho was a key factor. The world-renowned player will be hoping he can make an impact straight away with the Giallorossi. 

Georginio Wijnaldum seems like a shrewd pick up by Mourinho and the Dutch midfielder will be looking to revitalize his career after a disappointing move to PSG last summer. Wijnaldum joins on an initial loan move with an €8 million option to buy and the former Liverpool midfielder will be keen to showcase what he can do. The 31-year-old adds experience and a winning mentality after winning the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League in 2020 with Liverpool.

Wijnaldum and Dybala seem to be clear upgrades upon the departures of Jordan Veretout and Henrikh Mkhitaryan this summer and Mourinho could be building something special with his Roma side. The Portuguese boss bolsters his midfield options further by adding Nemanja Matic to his squad – a trusted servant who Mourinho has signed for a third time now. Zeki Celik also seems to be a nice piece to slot in at right-back after impressing with Lille over the past few seasons. This will help offset the departure of Ainsley Maitland-Niles who has returned to Arsenal following his loan spell last season.

First Five 2022/23 Serie A Fixtures:

Salernitana (A)

Cremonese (H)

Juventus (A)

Monza (H)

Udinese (A)

Predicted line-up: 

(3-4-2-1) Rui Patricio; Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, Roger Ibanez; Zeki Celik, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nemanja Matic, Leonardo Spinazzola; Paulo Dybala, Nicolo Zaniolo; Tammy Abraham

Rui Patricio is expected to keep his place as starting keeper for Roma after playing every league game last season but the signing of 22-year-old Mile Svilar from Benfica offers depth and he is likely to be the number two for Mourinho this season. A back three of Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling and Roger Ibanez is likely to take shape, whilst the likes of Marash Kumbulla and Matias Vina offer depth choices at center-back.

Vina was deployed at left wing-back regularly last season but Leonardo Spinazzola is likely to be the preferred starter, despite missing the majority of last season after tearing his Achilles tendon at the European Championship’s for Italy last summer. Zeki Celik could take over from Rick Karsdorp at right wing-back but both present very good options here.

Lorenzo Pellegrini will continue to run the show in the middle of midfield – the Italian scored nine goals and assisted five in Serie A last season. The position next to him, however, is a little more up for grabs. Nemanja Matic and Bryan Cristante offer a more solid defensive approach to their game and compliment Pellegrini well. However, Wijnaldum also offers an extra selection headache for Mourinho, leaving him with plenty of options here.

Paulo Dybala and Nicoló Zaniolo are likely to be the first-choice starters in attacking midfield and both offer creativity, whilst Dybala adds goals to the attack. Zaniolo scored just two goals and assisted two in Serie A last term and he will be looking to step up this season. Stephan El Shaarawy, Felix Afena-Gyan and Eldor Shomurodov all offer depth options here but are seen more as wingers. Abraham will lead the line once more this season but there are options elsewhere due to the versatility of the squad, with the likes of Dybala, Shomurodov and Afena-Gyan all capable of leading the line.

One to Watch:

Paulo Dybala

Mourinho is starting to build a squad full of quality and it oozes across the pitch. However, Dybala is the man that offers that extra bit of quality that could take Roma to the next level and, most importantly, to Champions League level. Combining with the likes of Abraham and Pellegrini, the Giallorossi are building a lethal and threatening offense to take on Serie A this season.

Season Target: 

Top four finish. Mourinho and Roma want Champions League football and, as part of a three year plan, they may be ahead of schedule if they are to finish in the top four this season. Regardless, that is the aim and it will be interesting to see what competitions take priority towards the end of the season. The Europa League offers a good chance of qualification too but continued overall improvement will keep the Roma faithful content.