Score: A.S Roma 2 Empoli 0 FT
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Following the final International break of the season Roma would return to Serie A action after the week off. They would pick things up as they would face Empoli in their 30th match of their Serie A campaign as they would try to get revenge on an Empoli side that shutout Roma earning a 0-0 draw in their first meeting this season. The Giallorossi would try to keep the hot streak going having won their last three games beating Lyon, Palermo and Sassuolo. With only 8 games left this season Roma are getting hot at the right time. Empoli shutdown the Roma attack in the first meeting it would not be such in this game. Roma would find no problems as they would open up the scoring in the first 15 minutes to give Roma the early 1-0 lead when Dzeko put it in the back of the to give Roma the advantage tying Roma’s single season scoring record in the process. Roma would take their slim 1-0 lead into the second half. Than once again Dzeko would find the back of the net in what would be his record breaking 33rd goal this season to give Roma the 2-0 lead. They would be more chances but it would end as a 2-0 win for the Romans picking up a very important three points. With 1st place Juventus and 3rd place Napoli playing later on it could cause Roma to close in a Juventus or possibly widen the gap between them and Napoli. With the fight to hold on to the only remaining automatic champions league spot this result put The Giallorossi in great shape as they served revenge on April fools.
Over the last week there has been a huge amount of news with a lot a big storylines over the international break. Unfortunately while on international duty Roma captain Danielle De Rossi picked up a hematoma after going off injured in Italy’s win against Netherlands during an international friendly. The Roma captain remains a major doubt for the game but supposedly his injury won’t be out for long as according to roma it is not serious he is probable to return for the Coppa Itaila semifinal against Lazio but is very likely to return the following week. The Wojciech Szczesny rumors has continued to surface according to the keeper he is happy to stay in Rome but isn’t done with arsenal either as he would welcome a return to north London. The club is interested in bringing him back but is also considering letting him return to London as they have a lot of faith in Allison as Roma new number one next season. Roma was struck with controversy regarding the transfer of Raja Nainggolan to Chelsea; likely inter bound Kosta Manolas when asked advised him to leave the club I think that was a snake move to say something like that. However it still seems unlikely to happen as he has rejected a move to England last year also according to the pundits on ESPN FC they don’t believe that he will leave based on his comments about the situation this year. Speaking of Transfers it appeared a few weeks ago that Manchester United was in for Kevin Strootman on a 45 million euro deal. That has all changed as Strootman is scheduled to discuss a contract extension after Roma’s Derby cup semi on Tuesday. The club also is planning to extend the contract of Danielle De Rossi as the Italian is close to agreeing on a two year deal. Two massive deals especially for Strootman as Roma had fierce competition after his signature. Liverpool are planning to go back in for Roma youngster Leonardo Paredes on a 22 million deal but as I said in January I find it very unlikely that Paredes will leave the club as he has established himself as an impactful player the last few months. Finally as far as transfers goes Roma are no yet done chasing Kessie despite his man united aspirations Roma will still do what they can to sway him to Rome. Near the end of this last week Sevilla Sporting Director Monchi said fare well to Sevilla as he is days away from taking on the same position at Roma. He is one of the brightest minds in the business with Luciano Spalletti’s future in doubt Monchi will attempt to try to bring Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to join him in Rome it would be a brilliant hire. Luciano Spalletti would keep the same formation intact only three positional changes to his side for this game. They would go with a 3-4-2-1 formation which is in my opinion their best formation Roma have used this season. Wojciech Szczesny would be in goal taking his league best 12 clean sheets into the game. The back three would stay the same as in their last game with Antione Rudiger as the left-back Kosta Manolas as the right-back and deploying the middle as the center-back would be as usual Fazio. There would be a few changes in the center midfield unit; as the left wing-back replacing Emerson would be Mario Rui getting a start against his old team; on the opposite side of him it would be Bruno Peres getting another start on the right. In the center of the midfield would be Raja Nainggolan as he would drop down from the leftwing replacing Kevin Strootman in the middle and to join him would be Leonardo Paredes. Than up front underneath the striker would be the pair of Diego Perotti on the left and Mouhamed Salah on the right. Finally up front as the lone striker would be Edin Dzeko coming in for Stephen El Shaarawy after coming off the bench and scoring in two games in a row Dzeko would return to the starting 11 to try to extending his scoring streak and break the roma record.
This year’s Serie A campaign continues on as the seasons end approaches after 8 long mouths they are just a fair few games left. Roma remain in 2nd in the table trailing Juventus by 8 points and lead Napoli by two points. The top 3 is pretty much settled but the order in where they finish is still uncertain with just 8 games remaining after this game it will continue to be a tight race for which two teams will be getting automatic qualification to the champions league. In the past few weeks I said that I felt that the title race is over but now I’m not so sure Juventus will most likely win the Scudetto as the reign will likely continue however Napoli and Juventus play each other this week despite Juventus having won 7 out of 8 against Napoli but if Napoli win Juventus’s lead will be minimized to 5 points will 8 games left Roma only have maybe two games in which they could drop points if the result goes Napoli’s way Roma could get back in the title race in a very real way. Although if Napoli lose Roma will increase their lead on them to 5 points it essentially it’s a win/win situation. The important thing for Roma is to win all the games they possibly can as they given their remaining games they should be able to win most of them. Roma have won three games in a row as they have started to heat up at exactly right time if they can maintain their form they as small chance they could do the Impossible. In this game 2nd place and title chasers Roma would welcome bottom feeders 17th place Empoli to the Stadio Olimpico for their second match between the two teams. In Roma’s first match against Empoli back on October 30th away from home Roma struggled as Empoli shut them out in a 0-0 draw. That result caused Juventus to increase than a small lead at the top; Roma lost a grip on the title race during that game. The Giallorossi would be looking to avenge the poor performance going on current form Roma shouldn’t have many problems. Empoli are in dreadful form having lost six games in a row as they continue to be in danger of slipping down into the relegation zone and if that wasn’t bad enough Roma is an unstoppable force at the Stadio Olimpico. As Roma have one lost one game at home in Serie A this season. They are two teams are different side of things as Roma have been in fantastic form since Roma’s elimination from Europe as they have won three games in a row since. Unlike against Sassuolo there not a player on Empoli that can counter the attack of the Giallorossi. During the hot streak Roma has lineup in many different ways including having Dzeko come off the bench but even that worked as he scored in both games and is on the verge of history. If Dzeko scores two goals in today’s game he will break Francesco Totti’s single season record of 32 goals to set record for the most goals scored in a single season. Empoli will have a massive challenge on their hands it’s very unlikely to will be able to contain the monster that is A.S Roma.
After roughly two weeks without a match due to International break both teams were ready to get back out there again as the preparation for the game both teams were ready as fans awaited in Rome under the lights as Roma would once again get the Saturday Night football match as Match day 30. D. Massa would blow his whistle and we would get under way. Roma looked like the better outfit from the start as they controlled the game from very early on. Roma continues to play with great confidence Empoli would get an early chance but they were called offside. Not long after Roma would finally get a chance ten minutes in as Mario Rui would create a chance for Dzeko. Mario Rui running up the wing would cross the ball into the box to find Dzeko; the striker would get his head to it but the ball would be too high as he missed. A wonderful chance for Roma as they were able to exploit Empoli quite easily Empoli were already in trouble it looked like they wouldn’t be able to hold off Roma for very long. In the 12th minute of the game the moment arrived Marcel Büchel would concede a corner sending it out of bounds setting up a Roma corner. Leonardo Paredes would take the corner he would cross it in. Rudiger put his head to it off the cross putting a header pass into Dzeko; the Bosnian would hit it off his leg into the back of the next to give Roma the early 1-0 lead. Dzeko got the goal but what a pass by Rudiger setting up the goal off a well-placed cross from Paredes. It would be a history moment Dzeko would score his 32nd goal of the season in all competitions tying record holder Francesco Totti one more goal and Dzeko would break the record he has been world class this season. Not long after Roma would get another scoring chance using the wings as a valuable weapon once again. Diego Perotti made his impact on the game I think he’s been one of the most underrated players in the roma shirt this season. The Argentina would zip in a cross into Dzeko; the striker got in great space but his header missed to the right as he was unable to break the record. Despite how one sided the game appeared Empoli got a few chances Omar El Kaddouri tried to strike in from outside but his shot missed to the right. Roma would hit right back through as Salah would hit a cross into Perotti but his header from the right-side of the box was saved by the keeper. Empoli would get another chance not long after when Frederic Veseli tried to head it home from a Omar El Kaddouri cross but Szczęsny would save it to keep his 12 clean sheets intact. Those two chances would be the only real chances for Empoli in the first half as the game would flip back into Roma’s control. Leandro Paredes attempted to repeat the wonder strike he had in Roma’s last game. The Argentine would smash a shot top corner but the keeper would save it. The relentless attack would continue Leandro Paredes this time would provide the service crossing it into Fazio who attempted a header on goal following another roma corner but the defender’s header was off target. Empoli used there only quality player to try to crawl back as Omar El Kaddouri shot from outside the box was close but missed. Mohamed Salah connected with Diego Perotti once again not long after but Perotti’s header missed high. However the two of them looked like they were fueling off chemistry. Once again Empoli would get an immediate response when Guido Marilungo shot from to the left of the box but would once again miss. Roma would get one last chance as it was late in the first half when Raja Nainggolan tried from distance but he would misfire. Empoli was given a free kick in a dangerous area to end the half as Mame Thiam was brought down by Raja Nainggolan. Rade Krunic took the free kick but his shot went too high the first half would end several minutes later. After the first 45 minutes Roma would have a slim 1-0 lead thanks to Dzeko.
Edin Dzeko Scoring the Game’s Opening Goal Early in the first half
Dzeko scoring his Record breaking 33rd goal of the season passing Francesco Totti For Most goals in a Roma season
It was a very good half for Roma putting together several good chances but I’ve seen them do better. Empoli was rather flat despite a fair few of chances Omar El Kaddouri is the only positive you can take out of their first half performance but it won’t be enough to take down a team like roma he needs more help but to be fair he has done very well in this game. Dzeko will continue to be a big problem with his size he will continue to make things difficult to slow down. Luciano Spalletti would keep his same core as he decided not to go to the bench. Empoli would get a chance early in the second half as they tried to get back in it. Guido Marilungo took a shot from the corner of the box from a cross but Szczęsny made a remarkable save to keep the clean sheet. A Minute later Empoli tried to send a through ball on the counter but Omar El Kaddouri was caught offside. At this point it went back into Roma’s control Roma would get several quick fire chances. After receiving a ball from Antione Rudiger; Diego Perotti took a shot from outside the box but he put a little too much power on it as it would go wide but this would only be the beginning. Minutes later Leandro Paredes took a shot from distance but would miss despite hitting the ball very well than they followed that up with yet another chance Leonardo Paredes would connect with Antonio Rudiger sending a cross into the German following a corner but Rudiger’s header would miss to the left. Roma again would continue to push on but after several chances to double the lead as they would finally breakthrough in a record breaking moment. Mario Rui sent a short pass to Diego Perotti and the argentine sent a breathtaking deep cross into the box as he would connect with Salah who was on the very edge of the box; the Egyptian headed gives a short pass to Dzeko who was fairly close to him; Dzeko would hit it on the first touch and smashing it in the top corner to make history. It would be Dzeko’s record breaking 33rd goal of the season in all competitions. Breaking the single season score record of 32 goals previous held by Francesco Totti. Totti would give a smile as Dzeko would celebrate to give Roma the 2-0 lead. With the goal it also takes Dzeko to 23 goals in Serie A this season to taken him back to top of Serie A. Down by two goals Empoli would go to their bench as Andrés Tello replaces Guido Marilungo. Leandro Paredes would try again from deep not long after but he would miss to the right. It would be at this point that Roma would go to their bench Clément Grenier would come in to replace Diego Perotti. Perotti played very well in today’s with the 2-0 lead Spalletti thought he would bring in Greiner. Empoli would get a few more chances after the sub; Rade Krunic would try to head it home off a corner but he would miss. Quite soon after Szczęsny would once again deny Mame Thiam as his shot in the top corner would be saved once again. Szczęsny was brilliant all game as he was at his very best. Roma would give a quick fire response with Mohamed Salah he took a shot after been given the ball from Greiner but his shot was saved in the center of the goal by the keeper. Not long after Roma would be given a corner; Greiner send in a cross following a corner Roma would be nearly in once again when Mohamed Salah’s header hit the bar. After the corner Roma would go to the bench with about 15 minutes to go. Francesco Totti would make his 779th appearance to replace Edin Dzeko quite a symbolic moment as Dzeko broke Totti’s single season scoring record earlier in the game. The Roma fans gave Dzeko a lovely reception as he left the pitch. Empoli would also go to the bench as Massimo Maccarone replaced Omar El Kaddouri. Roma would take their last chance they would get with about 10 minutes to go when Mouhamed Salah took a shot from the middle of the box from a through ball from Totti but Salah’s shot was wide left. At this point Roma would make their final sub as Juan Jesus would come on for Fazio. Empoli had a very more chances but practically wasted all of them as they game was cooked. Roma would pick up the three points.
It would be Roma’s fourth win on the bounce; than on Sunday Napoli and Juventus drew 1-1 in their match up. That result means Roma increase there separation to 4 points which means most likely Roma will finish in that position as they would get the final automatic champions league spot before SERIE A goes to four places next season. As far as the Scudetto goes it will still most likely go to Juventus but it isn’t quite out of reach just yet. Roma remain hot as Szczęsny gets his 13th clean sheet and Dzeko’s record breaking afternoon couldn’t come at a better time. Roma will face Lazio on Tuesday in part two of the Derby Semi Final Roma are already 2-0 down after losing in the first leg. With Roma’s hot streak it could create a monster that can overcome the adversity and come back to win against their rivals to make the final as they search for their first trophy in 9 years. In what will be the third meeting between the Roman giants with each team having won one game each. Following the derby Roma will return to Serie A action next week to go on the road to face Bologna as the Giallorossi attempt to go two wins out of two against them. Edin Dzeko’s two goals earns him the man of the match the 31-Year old has scored 33 goals this season. An incredible season for a player in his 30’s many could argue that this is his best ever season there no chance he leaves he can deliver greatness to this club. Dzeko has 23 goals in the league that keeps him atop the chart as Surely by the seasons end the Serie A Golden Boot is surely his as the Romans continue to stay hot Roma may not go empty handed this season.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Edin Dzeko
Next Match in Serie A: Coppa Itaila Semi Final 2nd Leg vs S.S Lazio April 4th , 2017
Copa Itaila Semi Final Second Leg: @ Bologna April 9th, 2017
BY THE NUMBERS
On Target: 5
Passing Accuracy: 85%
On Target: 3
Passing Accuracy: 86%
TOP OF THE TABLE
1. Juventus 24-2-4 74Pts
2. A.S Roma 22-2-6 68Pts
3. Napoli 19-7-4 64Pts
4. S.S Lazio 18-6-6 60Pts
5. Atalanta 18-4-8 58Pts
BOTTOM OF TABLE:
16. Genoa 7-8-15 29Pts
17. Empoli 5-7-18 22Pts
18. Crotone 4-5-21 17Pts
19. Palermo 3-6-21 15Pts
20. Pescara 2-7-21 13Pts