.We have reached the winter break in this season’s Serie A campaign. The midway point into the season were going to take a look back and some of the negatives and positives over the first six months of the season. There have been plenty of highs and plenty of lows how Roma start the second half of the season is very important to the clubs chance to get back into the champions league. Roma over the summer went through some big changes this is a very different team then the one we saw last year. Roma’s Manager Luciano Spalletti left for Inter Milan, Roma’s second leading scoring Mouhamed Salah left for Anfild to join Liverpool, One of Roma’s best defenders Antonio Rudiger left for Chelsea, Roma’s keeper Szczęsny left for Juventus after his loan expired and Roma’s reigning Young Player of the Year Leo Paredes left for Zeint. A lot of changes Roma brought in Eusebio Di Francesco as new manager and Roma brought in 9 new signings as Roma started to ramp up the team. This was viewed as a rebuilding project lately it has looked that way but during the early parts of the season it had look like they hadn’t lost a step from the season before in fact Roma have more points then they did this time last year. Roma finished top of their champions league group of DEATH and beat Lazio in the derby. However lately things have gone sour with only two wins in Roma’s last 10 games as they have slipped out of the title race far to early recently seeing Lazio jump back in front of them in the table. Roma are currently in 5th with 39 points so far this season with drawing Shakhtar in the champions league Round of 16 and meeting Inter Milan at the San Siro after winter break its time to look to boaster the squad as Roma can still get something out of this season so lets look at some of the positive’s and Negatives as well as what Roma need to do to make this season still count
The signing of Alex Kolarov
Roma brought in a 32-Year old Alex Kolarov from Man City for about 5 Million the Serb join Roma after having played with Roma’s rivals Lazio several years back. A Controversial move to say the least they move turned of to be an excellent transfer. He has been one of the best transfers in world football this season for the amount that was paid for him. Kolarov has played like someone that his half his age this is the best Kolarov has looked in years. He has thrived in Eusebio Di Francesco system as Roma’s starting left back He has contributed both defensively and on the attacking side of the ball. He has used that left wing to set up countless chances for his Roma’s team he has been Roma’s player of the season so far. Not only has he provided but he as scored goals. Every goal he has scored had real importance his two free kick goals against Atalanta and Torino were winning goals not to mention his goal against Chelsea in the champions league started a rally as Roma came from 2-0 down to draw 3-3 with Chelsea. Kolarov has been a vocal leader on defense and is one of the best players in the league this season without a doubt the best signing in Italian football his 3 goals and 5 assists have been more then decent for the Romans.
The Impact of The Roman Speedsters (El Shaarawy & Perotti)
Stephen El Shaarawy and Diego Perotti known as the Roman Speedsters have been great attacking elements for Roman attacking going forward. They have combined for just 11 goals this season but the pair of the them have been Roma most effective players this season. They have been a nightmare to deal with for Defenses in the champions league and the league don’t believe me just ask Chelsea. What makes them so hard to deal with is their speed when they are played together they are able to get into dangerous space quite easily. Not only are they big threats going forward but there passing and dribbling skills have been on point this season they have shown what they can do for Roma this season. Two players who at times last year didn’t get the backing of the then Manager Luciano Spalletti. EDF has involved them in most games these are two of the most underrated players in the league they wont fill the stat sheet like some others might they will get about 10 goals each but their impact in the team is very clear anytime you see them play more times then not they are the best players on the pitch Perotti’s dribbling and El Shaarawy’s movement makes them a lethal pair they have been excellent through out the season in the league and in Europe on any given day they can show real quality they are a massive part of why Roma did so well in the champions league. Their versatility makes them very hard to control they are some of Roma’s most influential players I see a big second half of the Season from the Roman speedsters.
Allison Becker And The Roman Defense
Allison Becker joined Roma last season from Brazil as he served as the Back up to Wojciech Szczęsny who led the league in Clean Sheets last season. The Brazilian made just 15 appearances as Allison was the starting keeper in the Europa League and the Copa Itaila. Since he over took the starting role he has been nothing short of sensational he currently leads Serie A with 9 Clean sheets and has 13 in all competitions he has played a vital role for the Romans this season after Kolarov he has been Roma’s best. At the moment their are very few keepers better then the 25-Year old this season he is one of the top 5 keepers in world football in my opinion. He has pulled off some big saves in crucial moments this season he is the best goalkeeper in Serie A this season and its not even close in the league he has only conceded 12 goals and three of those were penalties. He has been a leader for Roma’s #1 ranked defense in addition to how great Allison is Roma’s defense has been equally impressive with the combination of a world class keeper and a world class defense this has made it incredibly difficult for Roma to be scored on. The depth of defensive options with Federico Fazio, Kostas Manolas, Alex Kolarov and Alexandro Florenzi as well as some options off the bench this is an extremely hard working unit then has caused issues against Italy’s biggest teams. This defense is only going to get stronger as time passes with new contracts handed out to Federico Fazio and Kostas Manolas this defense is one to be feared going forward the best defense in Italy without a shadow of a doubt and with Karsdorp, Nura and Luca Pellegrini coming through the ranks the defense will certainly withstand the test of time.
Roma were drawn into the most difficult champions league group when the draw was done. Drawing Champions League Semi Finalists Atletico Madrid, Premier League Champions Chelsea and Qarabağ from Azerbaijan. Going into the group I found it hard to believe that Roma would be able to get out of it I thought getting 3rd in the group was the most likely conclusion given the quality of Madrid and Chelsea. However this Champions league group has proven that anything can happen in this competition. Roma started out their champions league with a shock 0-0 draw against Atletico in which Alisson was world class pulling off 9 saves. Roma followed that up by beating Qarabag after two games Roma were looking very good but it still was early. Roma’s next two games in the group were against Chelsea and what a pair of games they were. Roma outplayed Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a game of two half’s in the most entertaining game of the entire 2017. As Roma went 2-1 down in the first half and crawled back into it with Dzeko scoring the goal of the season with a superb volley to equalizes for Dzeko to score another give Roma the 3-2 lead it ended 3-3 in a game that Roma deserved a win. At home against Chelsea Roma battered them 3-0 with El Shaarawy’s wonder goal giving Roma an early lead 36 second into the game. Roma ripped then apart in every sense of it El Shaarawy grabbed two goals Perotti got another as the Roma speedsters had a field day against a dysfunctional Chelsea. Roma were looking pretty top of the group they lost to Atletico Madrid setting up a chance to win the group on the last day all they needed was a win in the final match day against Qarabag. ROma delivered as Perotti’s second half header insured that Roma would win the group as they went on to the Round of 16 in February they will face off against Shakhtar Donetsk avoiding Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in the process. Roma were nothing short of special in Europe.
Finding the Back of the Net and Finishing In front of Goal
There is no question that Roma has the quality to rack up the goals but some times that’s easier said then done. Dzeko scored goals with no issue last season and it looked as if it wasn’t going to be a problem this season but he has just 11 goals this season which is low considering he scored 39 goals last season he hasn’t scored very many goals lately. If Dzeko starts banging them in on a more consistent basis it may solve this problem. However lets address this issue Roma on average creates more chances and has more shots then any team in Italy’s top flight this season. The only problem is they are not turning into goals the amount of chances and the amount of goals aren’t anywhere near each other. Clinical finishing in front of goal is simply not good enough Roma have dropped points from winning positions and a large part of that is their inability to score their chances when it comes. Roma cant continue to sit on one goal leads and hope they will win out. For the amount of chances they have they just need to do better with the weapons they have there is no excuse for not putting away good chances that they have on a weakly basis. Roma on average are getting 10 shots or more a game and have less then 5 on target. If they lads start putting their chances on target things will get better their lack of finishing in front of goal is why Roma find themselves out for the title race now and find themselves in 5th. Roma have just two wins in their last 10 and this is largely why that is the case. Once this is dealt with Roma will look like the quality side they were early into the season. They can still get a 3rd place finish and a champions league Quarter or Semifinal Appearance if these issues are addressed.
Dropping Points to Inferior Teams
Roma have dropped points against teams they should have easily beat. In some ways these results cost them the title. Roma had a string of games against teams they should have easily beaten given other teams scdudules this was their best chance to climb the table but they have done quite the opposite they have plummeted. SPAL, Cagliari,Sassuollo,Genoa, Cheivo, Atalanta and Juventus. If you looked at these games you would figure that Roma could get between 15-18 points from this string of games. The only ones on paper that look difficult is Atalanta and Juventus. Roma got 9 points from this that is horrendous only two of those teams are in the top half of the table there you have at least three teams near the relegation zone Roma should be walking through these teams like they are nothing. Roma remain on this horrid form so many points dropped here Roma can not play like this during the second half of the season these are the teams you are expected to be beating because you will have to deal with the big clubs if you aren’t winning against mid table sides how are you going to beat the big boys. Roma need to make sure to get back on form and start beating these teams more convincingly a club like Roma can not be dropping games against teams like this. Roma is a big club they need to fix this and fast because this is unacceptable.
Protecting Home Field
Last season Roma was a fortress at home no one wanted to play Roma in their house just one team last year has beat Roma at home. It hasn’t gone has well this season they have dropped several points at home. Out of Roma’s four losses this season three of them have come in their own back yard. Don’t get me wrong Roma have played some excellent football at home but in a lot of their home games as of late they have looked very poor. Roma need to start showing their supporters that they can perform at home being good away from home is great but you need to do the job at home as well. Once Roma can strings some good results at home it will give the team confidence going forward through the season will have a visit from Juventus they need to start picking up results at home before some of the bigger games arrive the team will start to play better if they are able to do a better job of defending their home.
What needs to Happen Going Forward
- Getting Dzeko Scoring Goals again
- Don’t lose any key player during the transfer window
- Start the new season HOT
- Finish Their Chances in front of goal
- ADD At least one piece in the Window
- Give Alisson a Improved Contract
- Give Pellegrini a starting position
- Continue to give Schick chances he will score