Leggo (Francesco Balzani) Nainggolan and Dzeko have fallen at the final hurdle. Spalletti received the worst news possible from the two fitness tests yesterday ahead of a crucial match against Juventus – as well as the suspended Strootman, he will have to do without the Bosnian and is at risk of not having the Belgian available either. The two most frequently used players in the squad: Radja has played 4042 minutes, Edin 3862. The latter is certain to miss out on his duel with Higuain given that the tests showed “a 1st degree calf strain in his left leg”. He is expected to be out for 10 days, and may be back in time for the penultimate game against Chievo. There’s a ray of hope for Nainggolaan who reported a “swelling in his left calf” in San Siro. His conditions will be evaluated on a day by day basis, although a recovery in time for Juve seems unlikely. Two muscular injuries that are the result of Spalletti’s lack of squad rotation in the past weeks and which have now forced the coach to change his lineup for a game against one of the best teams in Europe.
It’s likely that he will revert to a 3 man defence with Rudiger returning to play alongside Manolas and Fazio, with Peres and Emerson used as wing backs either side of De Rossi and Paredes in midfield, while the striker-less attack will be formed of El Shaarawy, Salah and Perotti (who will return to training today following the ankle problem he picked up in Milan). The alternative is to start Grenier in place of Nainggolan. The chances of seeing either Totti or Gerson (who disappointed Spalletti in the first meeting) play from the start are remote. Meanwhile yesterday Nainggolan himself was the guest of the first ‘Szczesny Show’, a new light-hearted show that showed how good the keeper is as an interviewer. “Roma is a life choice, I like living here. Will I stay with the Giallorossi for another 5 years? I’d like that,” Radja said. At the end, Szczesny signed off with a joke: “Hopefully next time they’ll send me a good player to interview like Totti”.