Gdansk is calling for the Giallorossi. The capital club are on the doorstep of a first European Final since 1991 after overcoming Ajax, but they must first defeat a familiar foe. Manchester United favourites what promises to be a gripping tie, but La Lupa cannot be discounted.
The Eternal City slickers have already dumped the reigning Ukrainian and Dutch champions out of this competition. Their triumph over the latter was a particularly poignant demonstration of the belief that is coursing through a closely-knit changing room. Roma responded to adversity on multiple occasions over the 180 minutes against Erik Ten Hag’s men, with Pau López’s penalty save in Amsterdam and Edin Dzeko’s equalizer at the Stadio Olimpico the standout moments.
That perseverance will be crucial against the Red Devils, who are sure to give the Giallorossi their stiffest test yet. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have gone from strength since the start of February, with an FA Cup elimination at the hands of Leicester City the only blot on an otherwise spotless copybook.
The likes of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford are widely recognized as world-class talents, but despite that excess of quality, some weaknesses can be exploited. The right side of the Red Devils’ rearguard is the principal problem area, with Victor Lindelof a liability at centre-back.
Roma are likely to target the shaky Swede at every opportunity, and the return of Leonardo Spinazzola is a massive boost to the successful execution of that strategy. The Italy international is a constant threat going forward, and he has developed a telepathic understanding with ex-United man Henrikh Mkhitaryan since the Armenian arrived in 2019.
Those two are a terror on the flank, but they are not the only attackers that United should be concerned about. Dzeko has dominated the Red Devils down the years, with seven goals and two assists in nine matches.
The big Bosnian is in fine form after his crucial contributions over both legs of the quarterfinal. It appears that his row with Fonseca has been at least temporarily forgotten. They will almost surely part ways this summer, but both must be applauded for putting their differences aside for the greater good.
That mending of the fences could yet be the catalyst for the first trophy in 13 years. Roma’s struggles for silverware have earned them a reputation as a star-crossed side, but they have gone some way to reversing that narrative in recent weeks. Regardless of the result against the Englishmen, La Lupa can look back with pride on their brave battles in this Europa League.