NEWS
Saturday April 7 2018
What we learned from Roma-Fiorentina

From Roma’s serious lack of strength in depth to Fiorentina finding the positive energy from tragedy, here’s what the 2-0 Viola victory taught us.

Words: Ciro Di Brita

Fiorentina have a united front

Since Captain Davide Astori’s tragic passing Fiorentina have now won six league games in a row a first since 1960 conceding just once against Torino in a 2-1 win. Those 18 points have seen them jump up into seventh place. La Viola have something to focus their grief on and having an end of season goal to play for now by honouring their Captain’s name and qualifying for the Europa League. That ambition had looked rather unlikely just a few weeks ago, but now is on the horizon.  

Federico Chiesa sat this game out due to a suspension and Giovanni Simeone scored an excellent individual goal when he out-muscled the Roma defence, showing it can pay to stay on your feet.

CoachStefano Pioli has done a superb job in gathering his players into a strong united front when his team could hardly be blamed if they had things other than football on their minds. Pioli has finally confident Riccardo Saponara helping to drive them forward and the trequartista had another good game, setting up Marco Benassi’s opener, and is beginning to look like the player he was at Empoli.

Roma’s bench isn’t up to it

Roma went into this match with their minds on other things, namely their Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona. While they might have deserved something better than a 4-1 loss at Camp Nou, that tie is all but over and ensuring they get in the top four and qualify for next season’s tournament is their main goal now.

Unfortunately for Roma fans, their team never got their heads into this game and they now find themselves in a proper old battle with Inter and city rivals Lazio for those Champions League places. The Nerazzurri and Biancocelesti could feasibly both overtake the Giallorossi when playing on Sunday. The upcoming Rome Derby could be a winner takes all affair, but Coach Eusebio Di Francesco will first have to work out how to get his mis-firing frontline back among the goals.

Gregoire Defrel started today’s game, but was hauled off at half-time for Patrik Schick in a move that can’t have done the Frenchman’s brittle confidence any favours. After leading the line for Di Francesco at Sassuolo over the past few seasons, he has still yet to be given a proper chance at playing through the middle for his new side. And while Edin Dzeko continues to blow hot and cold in front of goal, Roma must find an alternative goal scorer to the Bosnian. Perhaps it is time for Defrel and Schick to get more than token minutes on the field.

Di Francesco brought in Juan Jesus for Aleksander Kolarov, Bruno Peres for Alessandro Florenzi and Maxime Gonalons for Daniele De Rossi and the level of quality on the field dropped significantly. Although Peres wasn’t too bad, Roma’s defence were all at sea on the rare occasions Fiorentina attacked them. Without Diego Perotti and Cengiz Under, the Giallorossi lack any creativity and penetration, relying on set pieces and half chances to trouble the Tuscans.

Di Francesco and Monchi have a lot of work to do in the summer if they truly want to build a side worthy of winning the Scudetto or even ensuring top four status.  

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