Tuesday March 16 2021
Which is the real Roma?

Last week’s results mirrored Roma’s season and Owen Diana wonders which is the real version of the Giallorossi.

The winds of change are sweeping the red half of Rome. La Lupa have forged a reputation as the Peninsula’s great entertainers under Paulo Fonseca, but an aggressive approach has been detrimental on numerous occasions.

That has been especially true against the Serie A aristocracy, but strong performances against Genoa and Shakhtar Donetsk show the way forward for the capital club. Defensive solidity was on full display in both of those shutout successes.

Recent declarations from Fonseca and captain Lorenzo Pellegrini confirmed a newfound commitment to keeping things tight at the back. That has manifested itself mainly in an increased pragmatism when in possession.

The costly errors on the ball that doomed the Giallorossi against Milan a fortnight ago have

ushered in a stylistic shift, but a commitment to error-free football and a willingness to take risks are not mutually exclusive.

A striker-less setup was deployed against Shakhtar to target the visitors’ high line. Although La Lupa enjoyed few chances in a cagey opening period, there was a clear intent to try and get in behind at every opportunity.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pedro were both flagged offsides on numerous occasions, and Pellegrini’s willingness to play on the last man was a crucial factor in the opening goal.

Despite some early pressure in the second stanza from the Ukrainian champions, Roma’s management of that precious lead was highly encouraging.

As was the case against Il Grifone, they sat off their opponent and waited for opportunities to appear on the counter. Stephan El Shaarawy’s sumptuous strike was a direct result of that intelligent reconfiguration.

That was Il Faraone’s first goal since returning to the Eternal City in January, and spreading the scoring responsibility is especially important in place of a fully firing forward line.

Roma’s strikers are struggling in Serie A, with Pedro’s late curler against Udinese the lone contribution from that unit in the last seven domestic outings.

Midfielder Jordan Veretout was able to paper over those problems until recently, but his thigh injury picked up against Fiorentina has robbed La Lupa of their greatest goal threat. His late runs into the box were dearly missed in a drab 2-0 defeat to relegation-threatened Parma.

That surprise reverse at the Ennio Tardini is a hammer blow to Roma’s hopes of securing a top-four place, but it should not take away from their impressive Shakhtar triumph just days earlier.

The Miners extracted eight points from a possible 12 against Real Madrid and Inter in the fall, with dual draws against the current Serie A leaders, a significant reason why Antonio Conte’s men exited the continent’s premier club competition prematurely.

If Roma have proved incapable of beating the big boys, they have at least demonstrated a capacity to conquer a certified giant killer.

That should serve as a major confidence boost heading into the business end of the season, where crunch contests against fellow Champions League contenders Atalanta, Napoli and Lazio will decide the Giallorossi’s top four fate.

The Giallorossi have had many ups and downs this season, but their defeat at Parma was one of the few slips against the so-called ‘small teams’ this season.

Fonseca’s side won’t be able to snatch a Champions League spot without victories against the top sides, let alone if they start losing against the Serie A strugglers.

The Portuguese coach needs to find a balance we haven’t quite witnessed so far this season. A compromise between keeping the possession and sit deeper to avoid counter-attacks.

It’s accessible only on paper, but the challenges ahead for Roma – finish in the top four and win the Europa League - are not simple to achieve either and both the Giallorossi and their coach would need to go beyond the ordinary.


Have your say...
Yeah Rian, hopefully people don't misunderstand... --Milan is far better than Roma!
But that's because their group is UNITED & they BELIEVE in themselves.
They inspire each other like fanatics/ blood-brothers & really fight for Milan & each other. No one can understand their bond, it's personally "theirs".
They sacrifice so much in trainings it's not surprising to see so many injuries. Remember how their players stayed & trained on their days off? --That's admirable commitment.
on the 22nd March, 2021 at 6:05am
--Yep. FI would not publish THAT. :)

I think some Roma players feel unwanted by the club & fans. It's hard for them to train in that environment (it's like bodybuilding without supplements!) so they're dragging other teammates down...
That's not really Fonseca's fault, right? It's hard to motivate that kind of a player...

Except, (--Lightbulb!) --IT IS FONSECA'S FAULT & THAT IS HIS JOB!!! (Apart from tactics which he also got wrong numerous times).
Train players physically and mentally, Paolo.
on the 22nd March, 2021 at 6:02am
Actually Ferban, at first I agreed with you on Roma being inconsistent for years now; Beating BARCA, then losing to LAZIO! (I'm obviously trolling CoppaInfacia, LOL),
But Roma nowdays is QUITE CONSISTENT.
Like clockwork they are being outplayed by good teams, it's not even funny anymore. (I'm sure everyone is mocking Shakhtar for being eliminated by us...)

Say what you will; if Fonseca gets destroyed in EL by Ajax/ United & he misses out on fourth in league by more than 6 points... HE NEEDS TO
on the 22nd March, 2021 at 5:57am
@Romantic, Agreed. Roma’s squad is not that bad really. Coaches like allegri or sarri will get Roma to better position in the league. Perhaps not scudetto, but top-4. Milan can do it with relatively comparable players.

Roma is playing more attractively under fonseca though, especially against the smaller clubs. They’re entertaining to watch for neutrals but perhaps frustrating for their own fans.
on the 21st March, 2021 at 9:11pm
But remember games against Atalanta, Napoli, Sevilla, Milan, Lazio?
It was like watching kids playing adults, incredibly EMBARRASSING! Even when real minnows (Spezia, Verona...) play against these teams, they don't get outplayed like Roma!

PLAYERS ARE THERE! Def not for a Scudetto, but at the start of the season a top 4 finish wasn't seen as an impossible achievement.
It is now, though. Team lacks proper mentality & motivation... & next year, it will be truly impossible to reach CL (money)!
on the 21st March, 2021 at 7:58pm
LOL, For a team that doesn't play in CL (for a second straight year) & doesn't have the revenue of big clubs, Roma has GREAT players!
Their squad is on par with Milan & Atalanta; only Juve, Napoli & Inter have better teams.
But, because this year Juve & Napoli are underperforming, getting a fourth spot shouldn't be impossible or that special.

Fonseca isn't turning heads. He only managed some great results against WEAKER opposition. (--Admitedly, surprisingly CONSISTENT good results!)
on the 21st March, 2021 at 7:55pm
Roma have been a hot mess for over a decade but with Fonseca at the helm, they appear to be making positive strides forward, so I give him a lot of credit for developing the squad. He also plays a roster with many Italian players which is a rarity in Italy. He puts faith in his players and they are not perfect but at least they have shown growth and adapted well in Europe. They are now the only club flying the Italy banner in Europe. Hopefully they can win EL; would b Italy's 1st trophy in years
on the 20th March, 2021 at 11:12pm
@DDR you hit the nail on the head.
on the 18th March, 2021 at 11:17pm
@inter I’m scratching my head trying to work out if you have complimented us or not haha. Thanks I think? Yes we may not have a squad as strong as the teams you mentioned, but other than against you and Atalanta, we actually played on par with juve and Napoli.
on the 18th March, 2021 at 10:23am
Players aren’t an excuse. Look at Milan. Their squad is prob on par with roma, neither have any world class superstars, none of their players would start in any other top clubs in the Italy or the world, yet Milan are second currently. Even though looks likely to finish outside of top 4, they have done extremely well with the players they have. Roma just seem to be so inconsistent and not turn up at all. Bar the spezia game, Milan have lost to better teams like Atalanta, Napoli, juve or inter.
on the 18th March, 2021 at 10:20am
Its due to a consistently bad transfer policy over the last few years. Signing players not good enough and giving them huge salaries and then end up stuck with them. Pastore, Juan Jesus, Pedro, Bruno Peres, Pau Lopez, Santon, Nzonzi, Olsen even Dzeko now. We have one of the best youth academies, yet we constantly let the youth players leave and they prosper elsewhere. Calafiori should be playing more than he is as Spinazzola cant play every game yet Fonseca plays the incumbent Peres.
on the 17th March, 2021 at 2:32pm
As others have mentioned this Roma squad isn't great and for the players available I think Fonseca has done a fine job. If they can finish in the top 4 and go deep in the Europa League I don't think anybody should be complaining. Yes they're inconsistent but what do you expect with the players available to him. The best thing about Roma is how Italians such as Pellegrini, Mancini & Spinazzola are flourishing. If Zaniolo can come back and get back on track that's another to add in
on the 17th March, 2021 at 12:51pm
Some delusional fans believe that Roma have the best squad that’s why they want
Fonseca out even with Allegri Conte won’t do better job with this Roma squad
Those delusional fans need to wake up and accept the reality
on the 17th March, 2021 at 8:29am
I've been romanista since i was around 12 or 13 yo, and all these years the same problem has been dogging Roma. INCONSISTENCY !
on the 17th March, 2021 at 2:37am
This is the real Roma.

Haven't they been this way for years now?

It'll be interesting to see if the new owners treat them like a supermarket and sell every half decent player they have, or if they want to build something.

They could be a really big club if they were run properly.
on the 16th March, 2021 at 12:36pm

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.