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

Top-four hopefuls Roma take a trip to the Stadio Alberto Picco to encounter bottom-half Spezia in Sunday’s intriguing Serie A fixture. Both sides have done reasonably well since Italian football’s resumption in 2023, so there’s plenty to look forward to this weekend. 

M’Bala Nzola slotted home a penalty midway through the first half to hand Spezia a 1-0 win at Torino last weekend. That result saw the Aquilotti go unbeaten in five straight Serie A matches (W2, D3) for the first time in their three-year stay in the top flight. More importantly, they’re now nine points clear of the relegation zone.

Following a stuttering start to his managerial tenure at Alberto Picco, ex-Udinese boss Luca Gotti has steadied the ship. Spezia’s bid to establish themselves as regular members of Serie A is in good hands, then. But a 5-2 Coppa Italia demolition at Atalanta on Thursday may have extinguished the optimism somewhat. 

Unlike Spezia, fatigue won’t be a problem for Roma as they completed their Coppa Italia duties last week, overcoming second-tier Genoa 1-0. With Jose Mourinho back on the touchline after serving another ban, the Giallorossi eased past a 10-man Fiorentina 2-0 last weekend

Star forward Paulo Dybala stole the spotlight, netting on either side of halftime to cement his place at the top of the club’s scoring leaderboard. The Argentine has tallied seven Serie A goals this season and should be the visitors’ driving force in the front third alongside Tammy Abraham on Sunday. 



Paradoxically, Spezia boast the same number of wins at the halfway point of the season (four) as they did at the stage of the last Serie A season. However, they have racked up five more points than they did midway through the 2021/22 campaign, so Gotti has seemingly found the winning formula. 

After holding Lecce to a scoreless home draw and subsequently conquering Torino ‘to nil’ last time out, Spezia are on the cusp of making history. The Aquilotti could keep three consecutive clean sheets for the first time in Serie A. In order to pull off that feat, Gotti’s men will have to shut Roma out for the first time in Italy’s premier club competition (D1, L3). 

Player to Watch: M’Bala Nzola

Free-scoring N’Zola has been Spezia’s danger man this season, registering nine goals in 18 Serie A appearances. Yet to score against Roma, the 26-year-old will have an added incentive to whittle down a three-goal gap on Serie A top-scorer Victor Osimhen of Napoli. 


Except for a come-from-behind 2-2 draw against reigning Serie A holders Milan a fortnight ago, Roma have won their three remaining matches in 2023 without conceding. Another victory is well on the cards, at least based on their formidable recent record against sides from Liguria in Italy’s top flight.

Mourinho’s men have notably won 11 of their last 15 Serie A encounters against Ligurian clubs (D3, L1). On top of that, they’ve kept a blank sheet in their four most recent such contests, including a 1-0 triumph in this corresponding fixture against Spezia in 2021/22. Ruthless against sub-par rivals, Roma have won a league joint-high 25 points against teams from the bottom half of the table (W8, D1).

Player to Watch: Paulo Dybala

Despite experiencing an injury-plagued 2022/23 campaign, Dybala has been a focal point of Roma’s attacks this season, clocking up seven goals and three assists in 12 Serie A outings. However, only two of his seven strikes have come on the road. 

Team News

Barring a first-choice goalkeeper Jeroen Zout, who picked up an injury against Atalanta earlier this year, Spezia boss Gotti will have the remainder of his squad fit and ready.

On the other hand, Roma will be without long-term absentee Georginio Wijnaldum, while Nicolo Zaniolo won’t be in contention after accumulating five yellow cards. 

Spezia vs Roma Potential Lineups

Spezia (3-5-2): Bartlomiej Dragowski; Kelvin Amian, Petko Hristov, Mattia Caldara; Emil Holm, Szymon Zurkowski, Ethan Ampadu, Mehdi Bourabia, Arkadiusz Reca; Emmanuel Gyasi, M’Bala Nzola. 

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

Spezia vs Roma Prediction

With both teams faring well since the calendar year flipped to 2023, an evenly-contested encounter could be on the cards.

Goals have been hard to come by for both sides of late in Serie A, so we expect a low-scoring draw to be the order of the day.

Prediction: Draw

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