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Sunday April 21 2019
Roma live to fight another day

The Giallorossi keep their Champions League hopes alive with a vital point against Inter, but Vilizar Yakimov wonders if they'll achieve this sporting miracle.

How are Roma still in the Champions League race? That’s a very good question with a very complex answer. It's fitting that going into the Easter weekend, Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov said it was a "miracle" they were still in contention at all.

The Giallorossi’s inconsistency has been the only consistent thing about them all season and yet, if they somehow managed to weather the storm in the second half against Inter, Claudio Ranieri’s men would’ve topped Milan and climbed up to fourth place.

It was only logical that La Magica’s leaky defense would capitulate eventually and Ivan Perisic’s diving header cancelled Stephan El Shaarawy’s stunner and marked the 46th Serie A goal that Roma conceded this season. That’s twice the amount of goals that champions Juventus have let in and the worst defensive record in the top half of the table.

As usual, the stats highlight some of the biggest problems that weren’t addressed during Monchi’s controversial reign at the club, as even last season it was obvious that some serious defensive reinforcements were needed.

Federico Fazio and Kolarov had solid campaigns last term, but even then they were far from solid defensively. With both of them being well on the wrong side of their 30s and Alessandro Florenzi being asked to start another campaign as the first-choice right back, Monchi’s failure to reinforce what already was an ageing and inconsistent backline promised a disaster all the way.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s dismissal was another strange decision by the club, as it was obvious that the former midfielder was not the main reason for Roma’s struggles. It must be pointed though that Ranieri has managed to revive part of the character and passion in some players since his appointment, but the overall state of the team is far from what it should be.

Yet, Roma are still just one point off fourth place and might well reach the goal that was set at the start of the season. Do the Giallorossi faithful feel confident in their team getting enough points in the five remaining games against Cagliari, Genoa, Juventus, Sassuolo and Parma?

Reaching the Champions League next term would be vital for Roma and despite everything, this goal might still be reached. However, if that doesn’t happen, the abundance of young talent that the club currently has could very well mean that one step backwards today might result in two steps forward tomorrow.

As for Inter, just like against Atalanta, the Nerazzurri did just enough to keep their rivals at distance and kept Milan’s slender advantage in fourth spot. However, La Beneamata do not have any more games against any of the top four contenders, so they should take their fate in their own hands and start winning a bit more frequently, instead of waiting on the others to slip up.

It seems almost impossible for Inter to lose their place in the top four, but whether the Nerazzurri management would be satisfied with “doing just enough” in Serie A all year long remains to be seen. The fates of Gennaro Gattuso, Simone Inzaghi and Ranieri heavily depend on reaching the top four, but unlike them Spalletti might very well face the axe even by finishing third.

The only certain thing at this point is that the top four race will go down to the wire.

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Have your say...
Milan have a young squad so room to improve but also more willing to invest. Might be better for Serie A growth if they qualify rather than Roma, as Pallotta has no long term plan.

Atalanta has the most difficult schedule of the 3. They have Coppa Italia to deal with and have to play: Napoli (they already won), Juve, and Lazio in Serie A. If they earn the 4th CL spot it will be because they deserved it more than the others.
on the 26th April, 2019 at 8:00pm
Pallotta annoys me. He hired EDF + Monchi to buy, develop, and sell youth until the club gained stable finances. EDF was doing that, made CL knockouts, then got sacked. If there was a plan to hire someone better at youth development then that would be reasonable but the rumours are troubling. Hire Conte? Great motivator but sucks at developing youth so not the right fit. Has the owner's long term vision changed? Is he willing to invest more money now or does he have no plan?
on the 26th April, 2019 at 7:49pm
EDF was the reason we have problem with the side! So he had to be sacked!
on the 23rd April, 2019 at 2:13pm
@Ferban Got to be Inter. They've got the cash and FFP clearance to spend big this summer and will probably replace Spaletti with Conte or Mourinho.
on the 21st April, 2019 at 11:55pm
Hard to know which of the three from Roma, Milan, and Inter would be less of an embarrassment to Serie A in the CL next season
on the 21st April, 2019 at 9:48pm
Hard to know which of the three from Roma, Milan, and Inter would be less of an embarrassment to Serie A in the CL next season

Roma, probably, given they've actually won twice as many CL knockout games in the last 14 months than Milan have in the past 12 years.

But all are run like a bad joke, so it's a toss of the coin. Maybe Atalanta don't have the cash the others have, but at least they wouldn't be hiding under a rock, too scared to come out like Spalletti's Inter, or often, Allegri's Juve
on the 21st April, 2019 at 12:22pm

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