Score: A.S Roma 3 Sassuolo 1 FT
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Following Roma’s win in the league last weekend against Palermo and their Elimination from the Europa League Round of 16 to Lyon they would continue their crusade in Serie A. In what would be match day 29 in this season’s campaign. As the Giallorossi would try to make it three wins in a row as they would host Sassuolo welcoming them to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. It would be the second match played between the two teams with Roma looking for a season sweep after beating the Neroverdi 3-1 in October. It wouldn’t start off great as Gregorie Defrel would give the Sassuolo the early lead 1-0 in the opening 10 minutes. Leonardo Paredes would equalize not long after it make it 1-1 it stayed even until the very end of the first half when Mouhamed Salah gave Roma the 2-1 lead right before the break as Roma would go into the second have with the 2-1 lead. In the second half Roma would put away the game for good when Edin Dzeko for the second week in a row would come off the bench and score to give Roma the 3-1 lead to take his season total to 31 goals. Roma would end up winning 3-1 to give them their second victory against Sassuolo this season as they retain second place to pick up a very important three points giving them an important two point advantage on 3rd place Napoli with 9 games remaining
With the elimination from the Europa League; the Spalletti to Juventus Rumors and potential replacement rumors continues to be talked about. Roma boss Luciano Spalletti several weeks ago said that he would leave if Roma were to win nothing. The Giallorossi really only have a chance at one remaining trophy which is the Coppa Itaila Italy’s domestic cup where they currently trail arch rivals Lazio 2-0 after the first leg. The Roma boss has also been linked to take over Tottenham if Mauricio Pochettino should take over at Barcelona. The Board has backed the 58 year old Italian but are preparing for the departure just in case with PSG’s Unai Emery Former Inter Boss Roberto Mancini and the manger they faced off against in this very game former Roma player Sassuolo boss Eusebio Di Francesco. I imagine that several new names will be thrown in the hat as the Roma job is a massive position although all of us at Roma would like Spalletti to stay on as manager as he was the last manger to bring silverware to the club. Also this week Liverpool is preparing a deal to hijack Inter Milan target Roma defender Kosta Manolas as they will try to sway him out of his reported move to Inter Milan this summer. Manolas has been one of Roma’s better players, as he is averaging 2.3 interceptions per game and 5.8 clearances per game this season. He is also very strong in the air (2.5 aerial challenges won per match) and is a competent passer (85.7% pass accuracy he is rated between in 35-45 Million euros. I would say he’s very likely to leave but I think Liverpool has a legitimate shot at hijacking the transfer from Inter but Inter Milan Remain the favorites to sign him. Also Antione Rudiger would find himself once again a subject to transfer rumors with Premier league teams is targeting the defender. Rudiger rejected offers from England prior to the season in favor of a Roma stay. However due to Racial abuse he has dealt with this season he could be convinced to leave Roma at the end of the season, Pep Guardiola and Man City appear to be the favorites to land the German center-back with Antonio Conte and likely Premier League Champions Chelsea as second favorites. He is worth approximately 30 million euros it would be a cheap buy for teams like Chelsea’s and Man City given what they have to spend. I would like to keep both Manolas and Rudiger but Roma does has Fazio, Bruno Peres Emerson and a few other options so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they were to leave given the fact it would give Roma about 60-70 million extra to spend. Although these are just rumors whether or not they become a reality is unknown the good thing is the key players appear to be staying with the club. Luciano Spalletti would go back to the 3-4-2-1 formation for this game as well as making four changes to his team in the process. Serie A’s clean sheet leader Wojciech Szczesny would return to his post as the keeper replacing Allison Becker who was Roma’s first choice keeper during their Europa league campaign. Roma’s back three would remain identical to the defensive trio that they used on Thursday against Olympique Lyonnais. The left-back would be Antonino Rudiger, the right back would be Kosta Manolas and deploying the middle as the team’s center-back would be Fazio so very familiar defense as these three have worked together many times this season. There would only be on change to the defensive midfield from Thursday’s game so pretty much the same midfield line. Returning to the starting lineup replacing Mario Rui on the wing one is one of my favorite players on this team Emerson as he would take up his left wing-back role. On the opposite side of him would be his Brazilian compatriot Bruno Peres playing right wing-back Bruno has been sensational the last few weeks as he find himself on a rare scoring streak having scored two goals in the last 5 games. To control the center of the defensive midfield would be the duo of Kevin Strootman and replacing Danielle De Rossi would be Leonardo Paredes one of Roma’s most underrated players this season. Than as the attacking midfield after making immediate impact of the bench in the game Thursday El Shaarawy would be rewarded as he would get the start replacing Edin Dzeko is the starting 11 as he would take on the left midfielder position. Originally I thought having Dzeko come off the bench again was a poor decision but last week he came off the bench as scored so I’m giving Spalletti the benefit of the doubt here. Than joining El Shaarawy on the opposite side of the midfield would be SERIE A’s Best midfielder Raja Nainggolan taken his usual spot on the left. Than up front would be Mohamed Salah as he would take Dzeko’s position as the team’s striker. No Dzeko starting but still is a very strong team regardless with Perotti, De Rossi and Greiner available and ready off the bench if needed.
The Season is coming to a close as we approach the deep end of this year’s campaign with only 10 games remaining this season every match becomes important as Roma continue to battle with Napoli for the final automatic champions league spot. As it seems like Juventus is going to wrap up the Scudetto in the next few weeks as they are on the verge of their sixth straight Serie A title it will be the last of their reign in my opinion with Roma, Napoli and Inter improving. 2nd place A.S Roma would continue their home stand as they would face off with Sassuolo as they would welcome them to the Stadio Olimpico for their second meeting between the two teams. Roma beat Sassuolo on October 19th 3-1 away from their ground. Roma are looking to double up on Sassuolo making it two wins out of two this season. It what is a very important game despite the huge separation between the two teams in the table it would be a must win game. Juventus is pretty much a done deal as they are a few games away from being crowned champions. So it has become a battle between Napoli and Roma for the final automatic champions league spot before Serie A go to 4 champion’s league spots next year. Napoli would hold off Relegation threated Empoli 3-2 prior to the game making this game Massive for Roma. It is very important that Roma pick up wins in match ups like this one given the fact they end the season playing Lazio AC Milan and Juventus in the final starch of the season so it was crucial Roma to pick up as many points as possible until that time. After Thursday’s elimination from Europe I think it gives Roma a chance to get back on track it was disappointing not going through especially given all the chances they had in the last game but it seems like they are getting their confidence back after dropping four of five games. Their Derby lost to Lazio in the Cup about a month ago caused the team to lose confidence Roma would start underperforming; they would lose three games in a row on the bounce struggling to put away their chances was an issue they also struggled defensively during that time. However over the last week they have gotten back into good form winning their last two games the team has used different tactics over the last week to get them back on track. Dzeko was left out of the starting 11 in there last league game I thought Dzeko is misused as a super sub giving how well the Bosnian has played this season. Last week it turned out to be the right call as he would come off the bench and score. Dzeko again would come off the bench much like last week as Salah would get the start in the striker position. Roma have also moved a lot of different players around in the last two games as they seem to have a good rotation going. It’s almost a blessing in disguise that they have been knocked out of Europe because not they purely focus on finishing the season strong in hopes of getting back into the champions league. Despite Sassuolo being in in 15th and 31 points behind Roma in the table they are a squad not to be taken lightly despite the fact they finished a lot higher in the table last season they still have a very good squad with some terrific young players as they have a three-headed monster of their own. To start off with they have Domenico Berardi one of Italy’s best young prospects has not played a lot of games this year but has scored in about half of the games he’s played in a player that will sooner rather than later be pick up by a big club. Then have Former Roma player Lorenzo Pellegrini who has a buy back clause in his contract and we could see the 20-year old return to Rome at the end of the season and finally a player Roma, Inter, Juventus & Napoli have all targeted Grégoire Defrel. All three of them are a big threat to score when given the chance. Sassuolo also have a brilliant manger in someone linked to the Roma job former Roma midfielder Eusebio Di Francesco. They are in 15th in Serie A but that doesn’t reflect their ability this is a side offensively that can hang with the Romans when they are in a form a better team than they are advertised. However Roma are the favorites in this game as their home has been a fortress all season as the Giallorossi have won 15 out 16 games at home. Both teams were ready for this prime time matchup between two teams at the opposite side of the table as we would approach kick off in Rome at the Stadio Olimpico.
A Primetime Sunday Night football match is what would be in store as Roma would get the night game for the second week in a row. Match Day 28 took off after struggling for several games Roma started to look like themselves once again playing with great confidence they started to look like the Roma team that earned such a high position in the table despite the absence of Dzeko Roma got after it right away controlling the game from the very beginning even though Sassuolo plays a very similar style. Within minutes Roma would string together the chances. Just two minutes in Mouhamed Salah used his pace to get in scoring position as he would rip through defenders to get into the box the Egyptian would take a shot from the center of the box trying to put it in the bottom corner but his shot was saved. Salah would get another chance about a minute later Salah while in the Sassuolo danger area he would hit a shot from a very difficult angle his shot was very close but he would just miss. Salah was very impressive early in this game. Striker is not Mouhamed Salah’s natural position he is accustom to playing on the wing he is very rarely plays up front and even if he is on the front its uncommon for him to play in the middle. Winger and Striker aren’t all that similar to each other so that fact that he played his role so well in the game was very impressive. Salah is versatile but it’s very difficult to play separate positions on not a lot of training so fair play to him. Roma were very much in control as they were expected to be but as expected with the front three Sassuolo have we knew that they were going to be a handful. Sassuolo created an especially dangerous chance involving two of their weapons. Domenico Berardi got in good space as he would send a cross into the box where he found Gregoire Defrel; the striker would hit a shot from the right side of the box but it would misfire. That is something that Roma need to be careful of Roma will control the game but it will only take one good chance for Sassuolo to take advantage as they have the weapons to do so. Roma would response to Sassuolo’s chance with a similar chance of their own. Leonardo Paredes had the ball in Sassuolo’s danger era as the Argentine was preparing to take a corner he would send a cross into the box of the corner Manolas got his head to Paredes’s deliver the Greek international attempted to head it home but it would miss to the left. Leonardo Paredes has been an existing young talent this season despite not starting every game he has taken advantage of the starts he has been given; he has made an impact in many ways this season whether it’s a pass or a goal he’s been really special this season for Roma in my opinion. Another player who has been good this season is Gregoire Defrel the dangers of the Defrel & Berardi would come alive once again and this time there was nothing to be done about it. In the 9th minute Domenico Berardi would send a well time pass into the box to find his strike partner Gregoire Defrel and the Frenchmen blasted a high strike into the back of the net to give Sassuolo the early 1-0 lead. Roma needs to figure out a way to contain the Sassuolo’s strike force but Roma still are in good shape if you contain them you win simple as that. Roma would get a quick fire response less than 10 minutes later. In the 16th minute Mouhamed Salah would give Leonardo Paredes a pass and Paredes would add another wonder strike to his goal collection. The Argentine International would smash a wonder strike from outside the box into the bottom left corner an absolute belter of a goal to equalize making it 1-1. Paredes continues to fly under the radar as he continues to impress me his loan last year at Empoli as clearly helped him. Not long after the Roma goal Sassuolo would try to regain the lead; after receiving a pass from Gregoire Defrel midfielder Matteo Politano would take a shot from the center of the box but Szczęsny made the save. Despite Roma looking like the better team Sassuolo were still in the game because of their weapons they were still in it. After returning to the lineup Emerson made his presence known as he would come close to giving Roma the lead. After getting the ball from Raja Nainggolan the Brazilian would hit a shot from the left corner of the box it would be close but would slightly miss. The first half was coming to a close but before it did both teams got few more chances to try to go ahead before the end of the half. Rudiger would come close for Roma off a set piece situation his header would be close but the German couldn’t put away Strootman’s cross. Sassuolo would get two quality chances but both Gregoire Defrel and Matteo Politano were denied by Szczęsny as the Roma keeper made two massive saves late in the half. It looked like Roma were on the brink of Breaking through; than in the last minute of the first half they would. Roma would try to break through with Stephen El Shaarawy when the Italian hit a shot from the right side of the box from a Fazio through ball but the keeper saved it. However Mohamed Salah picked up the rebound to put it in the back of the open net to give Roma the 2-1 lead. It would be Mohamed Salah’s 10th goal of the season as he continues to be a massive threat to score every time he gets a chance he could have easily 15 goals if it wasn’t for injuries and the African Cup. The first half would end with Roma in front 2-1.
Mouhamded Salah Gives Roma the 2-1 Lead Before the halftime.
A very good first half for Roma as they were able to mount a comeback after falling behind early despite the offensive firepower that Sassuolo has to their disposal Roma fought back to nick a goal at the end of the half as they showed they ability to fight back. Sassuolo didn’t play poorly but they would need a strong performance in the second half to get something from the game they are really weak in the back so there attack would have to be really good for them to get back in the game it will be really hard to do that especially with Dzeko still on the bench. There would be no change in Spalletti’s team as he would keep the same team that got his side the lead. Being down Sassuolo would try to get back on the score sheet with the Defrel + Politano connection as Politano would send a cross into the Frenchmen but Defrel’s shot from the center of the box would miss. To be fair to Defrel he was absolute class all night as he putting his best foot forward it’s no wonder why a lot of Italian clubs are after him. The Romans were still on the front foot though as Mouhamed Salah got yet another chance as Kevin Strotman would set Salah up perfectly. Kevin Strootman would send a pitch perfect pass on the fast break threading the needle into Salah; the Egyptian would be on verge of breaking up the game but he would miss just to the left. Not long after Sassuolo was hit with a major blow when Gregoire Defrel had to come off due to an injury. He had been Sassuolo’s most effective player on the pitch they have no chance of a comeback without him. Alessandro Matri would come on to replace him of course we wish Defrel a speedy recovery. Just a few minutes after Roma would make a sub of their own as they would finally bring on the Big Bosnian Edin Dzeko. He would replace Bruno Peres who was a non-factor in the game so far. Edin Dzeko would make his impact with in minutes of being subbed not a bad call tactically speaking. Leonardo Paredes again would be on behind another chance the Arginine sent a cross into the box where Dzeko attempted a header but it went a little too high. After the Defrel injury Roma would stomp on their throats. Edin Dzeko would get another chance when once again Paredes sent in service Dzeko fired a short from inside the box but he was denied by the keeper. Dzeko was looking like he was going to score with Sassuolo’s biggest threat no longer in the game it would only be a matter of time before he would find the back of the net. Than Finally Dzeko would play his role as a super sub and deliver. In the 68th minute near the outside of the box he got a defender off him as he would fire a quick pass to Strootman; Dzeko would run into the box and Strootman chipped a perfect pass into the box to Dzeko the Bosnian would control it with his leg and put it in the back of the net to make it 3-1. It would be Edin Dzeko’s second game in a row where he has come off the bench and scored. Dzeko now has 31 goals this season including 21 in the league he is currently 7 goals away from breaking the Roma goal scoring record in Serie A with 29 held by Rodolfo Volk in 1931. Roma would just continue to put the heat on the Sassuolo defense. Dzeko tried to double up not long after his goal as Paredes connected with Dzeko once again but his header was a bit high. After the shot Roma would go to their bench to bring on Diego Perotti to replace Mohamed Salah would had a hell of a game scoring the second goal. After that as Roma continued to show why they are the better team. With about 10 minutes to go Leonardo Paredes tried to strike from distance again but this time he would miss. Paredes has been the man of the match in this game as he has done everything. Once Minute later Sassuolo would get there final chance of the evening but Lorenzo Pellegrini shot from deep went wide it was the only shot they had after Defrel was taken off. In the closing moments of the game Emerson tried to make it four but was unsuccessful. After full time it would end as a 3-1 win for the Giallorossi.
Edin Dzeko puts the game away for good as he scores his 31st goal of the season.
After this result it would be Roma’s three win in a row as it seems that have hit stride at exactly the right time. The Scudetto is most likely out of reach unless Juventus collapses however if Roma remained in top form they will surely have a great chance of maintaining second as Roma have been in second for 100 days. Leonardo Paredes is my man of the match as he did everything he possibly could for the Romans scoring a wonder strike but along with that he gave a lot of service to the strikers chased down every ball played good defensive all around was the best player on the pitch although it could had easily gone to Salah or Dzeko as well but I’m giving it to Paredes in this occasion. Sassuolo had no chance after Defrel’s injury it was a power vacuum as they failed to anything for the rest of the game halting any hope of a comeback. After this match we have international break when they return from Break they will face Empoli for the second time this season as they try to avenge their 0-0 draw from earlier in the season. Then Roma follows that up with the second leg of the Derby Semi Final in the Coppa Itaila against Lazio much like the Lyon game Roma already trails 2-0 But Their track record against Lazio is really good in the last several meetings only one loss to them in the last 10 so a comeback may happen. We have to win it for Totti and we will!
MAN OF THE MATCH: Leonardo Paredes
Next Match in Serie A: vs Empoli April 1st, 2017
Copa Itaila Semi Final Second Leg: vs S.S Lazio April 4th, 2017
BY THE NUMBERS
On Target: 8
Passing Accuracy: 80%
On Target: 4
Passing Accuracy: 74%
TOP OF THE TABLE
1. Juventus 24-1-4 73Pts
2. A.S Roma 21-2-6 65Pts
3. Napoli 19-6-4 63Pts
4. S.S Lazio 17-6-6 57Pts
5. Inter 17-4-8 55Pts
BOTTOM OF TABLE
16. Genoa 7-8-14 29Pts
17. Empoli 5-7-17 22Pts
18. Palermo 3-6-20 15Pts
19. Crotone 3-5-21 14Pts
20. Pescara 2-6-21 12Pts