Roma v Verona: Three opoosition players to watch

Roma square off with Hellas Verona on Sunday in what will be Luciano Spalletti's first official return to the dugout for the Giallorossi.

Verona, who are still winless in Serie A this season and are in the midst of a battle to escape the relegation zone, will be looking to spoil Spalletti's special day at the Olimpico.  Wayne Girard picks out three opposing players to watch out for...

Emil Hallfredsson

The Icelandic international has been the main force in Verona's midfield since 2010. Blessed with exceptional physical strength, Hallfredsson is rarely dispossessed, and has made a name for himself with tough tackles and highlight-reel goals. He has seven yellow-cards in 14 appearances this season, showing that he is prone to committing fouls. If Roma can focus on keeping the ball on the ground and avoiding aerial duels, they should be able to keep Hallfredsson from employing his strengths.


Jacopo Sala

The speedy 24-year-old is an expert at tracking back to help the defense and starting the counter-attack. He has played in a variety of roles this season: his preferred wing position, seven starts at center midfield, and four at right-back. He consistently shows up on the stat sheet defensively, with over two tackles and almost two interceptions per match. It's Sala's speed on the counter, however, that Roma will have to watch out for come Sunday.

Giampaolo Pazzini

After joining in the summer, the forward, 31, was supposed to form a top-level strikeforce with Luca Toni. Injuries have hampered both players' contribution, however, and the team have struggled as a result. Pazzini has made 14 appearances this term, eight of which have come as a starter. He leads the way for the Gialloblu in terms of completed passes in the opposition half (67.7%) and has hit the target with nine of his 24 efforts on goal. Pazzini has struck just once this season, from a penalty, but the Giallorossi defence mustn't underestimate the threat posed by an experienced striker who has hurt Roma in the past.