2017-2018 Season: 3rd 23-8-7 GF: 61 GA: 28 Pts: 77
Top Scorer: Edin Dzeko 17 in the League 24 in all competitions
Top Assist: Radja Nainggolan 11 All Competitions
Top Clean Sheets: Alisson Becker 17 In the League 22 in all competitions
After 9 months 38 games over 3000 minutes the season has finally come to an end. It’s been a long season a season in which Roma reached some historical Supreme Heights as well as some lows. A season that went over major overhaul over the summer but despite that Roma still found a way to fight through adversity to put together a tremendous campaign the old saying is Romans never quit that phrase especially caps off this season. Over the summer Roma lost alot of key pieces from the record-breaking season a year ago. The question on Roma was whether they could deal with the absences whether they could still compete in the league. Over the summer Roma lost Leonardo Paredes to Zenit St Petersburg Antonio Rudiger to Chelsea Woich Szczensy to Juventus and most notably Mohamed Salah to Liverpool who became a Ballon d’Or candidate at anfield as he tapped into his potential that Roma helped develop. Roma also saw the departure of their manager Luciano spalletti to Inter Milan not to mention this was the first full season without Francesco Totti. In Monchi’s First full season a sporting director after having pulled off magic in Spain while working with Sevilla the transfer wizard came in and pulled off a little bit of his magic. Roma President James pallotta and Monchi as well as Francesco Totti who was hired as a sporting director pulled off some pretty remarkable signings and made some really key decisions prior to the season. They brought in Eusebio Di Francesco a former Roma player who won the league title with the club in 2001. Who had been at sassuolo for the last five years making unbelievable things happen as he brought the club from the second Italian division to the Europa League in his time there. This appointment turned out to be one of the best decisions this club has ever made. His connection to Sassuolo insrpied Roma to activate the Buy-Back clause of Roma Academy graduate Lorenzo Pellegrini. The club also brought in Premier League winner Alex Kolarov, Turkish youngster Cengiz Under, Czech Republic Prospect Patrik Schick as well as many others. Some of the signings brought in we’re incredible while others struggled. We saw Alex Kolarov put in the best season of his career as well as seeing Lorenzo Pellegrini showing the incredible Talent he has. And Cengiz Under developed into an absolute star during the second half of the season scoring eight goals. Roma lost and key pieces but they got some bargain deals. In what also feels like a new signing Allison who took over in goal only to develop into one of the best goalkeepers in the world. In the league Roma secured a top-three finish for the 6th year in a row getting third with 77 points only behind Napoli and Juventus. For much of the season they found themselves in a dogfight for Champions League but ultimately the quality they had was too much for Inter Milan and Lazio. Their European campaign was one of the best we’ve seen in 20 years. Roma won the group of death that featured Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. Then in the quarterfinals Roma did The Impossible coming from a 4-1 first-leg deficit to overturn Messi and Barcelona. They eventually lost to Liverpool in the semi-final But they nearly overturn that one as well. A fantastic European campaign one that no one saw coming. It was not all great though Roma’s slip and form during December cost them a real title challenge as well as struggling at home. With Mohamed Salah gone Edin Dzeko struggled to find the back of the net after winning the golden boots last year but still managed 24 goals in all competitions as well 17 goals in the Champions League as he climbed all the way up to 12th on Roma’s all time scoring list. The duo of Stephan El Shaarawy and Diego Perotti although they saw a decrease in goals they were crucial to Roman success this season not to mention the young stars Pellegrini and under who caught fire this season. Radja Nainggolan also put together another tremendous season despite a massive decreasing goals he was one of the most important players for Roma during this campaign. The unfortunate sale of Muhammad Salah as much as a crushing blow it was it allowed Roma to make upgrades on their defense who not only proved to be a great defense for one of the best in the country they saw a massive decrease in goal scored against them this season. DiFrancesco got this team playing to their potential this isn’t a very expensive assembled Squad this is a bunch of guys who really play for the shirt guys who love Roma. Juventus may have won the title again and Napoli may have finished above them but on the potential standpoint this Roma team is coming. Di Francesco has proven to be one of the best managers in Europe this season he has been a massive upgrade over Luciano spalletti. His football is not only tactically better but they are proud to play for him. Roma are one or two signings away from winning the title the gap between Juventus and Roma is he lot smaller then people think Monchi James Pallotta and Di Francesco are brewing a monster. This wasn’t the best season that Roma could have had but given what they had lost during the summer Roma exceeded expectations and made history in European football this season will not be forgotten for many years to come. Step 1 of this process is complete!
One of the most surprising things we’ve seen in this Roma season is this success that this club had in Europe. They got further in the competition than any team in Italy as well as further then Man City PSG Manchester United and a lot of other big clubs. Roma ended up in what most people refer to as the group of death being in the same group as Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. Most people thought Roma would finish third but quite the opposite occurred. Against all the odds Roma won the group in doing so getting points off of Atletico Madrid and Chelsea including smashing Chelsea at the Olimpico. Roma then would draw Shakhtar Donetsk a very exciting Ukraine side. The ended up losing the away leg but got an away goal that turned out to be very important. Roma then at home got the winner through Dzeko who pushed them into the quarterfinals for the first time in 10 years. Against Barcelona we would see one of the greatest comebacks in champions league history as Barcelona went up 4-1 in the first leg at the Camp nou but once again an Away goal for Roma would be the difference. At the Stadio Olimpico Roma needed a 3-0 win and that’s exactly what they got. Dzeko and De Rossi scored before Kostas Manolas put in the winner as he celebrated in tears. As Roma pulled off one of the most incredible comebacks in champions league history. As Messi was held to no goals in either game. In the semi-final they saw the return of Muhammad Salah as they matched up with Liverpool. Roma got demolished in the first game 5-2 but this Roma team never gave up. And they almost pulled it off again falling one goal short of the ultimate miracle. Despite the elimination this was one of the greatest European campaigns Roma have been apart of since the competition’s Inception. A lot of Great Moments throughout this competition campaign that Roma fans will remember for a long time lives Edin Dzeko scored seven goals in the Champions League making it into the Champions League team of the season that included a streak of scoring in 5 straight games. His volley against Chelsea which is one of the best goals we’ve seen this year. A Champions League campaign to remember the Romans will be back in this competition next year and try to take the next step to get even further.
Continued Success away from home
Last season Roma’s home form was really impressive this year it went the other way. Roma’s form away from home was incredible over the 38 Game season. They still are unbeaten in 26 of their last 27 games away from home they are just a better team away from their own ground. When the Romans come to town teams are expecting not to win. Roma have dropped points on the road but when they visit your Stadium they are not losing. I’m not quite sure why this is but it’s a good thing to be good away most people consider away games more difficult they are finding these games quite easy. These aren’t small deals either we’re talkin beating AC Milan at the San Siro routing Napoli at the San Paolo as well as beating Atalanta at their home stadium which is a very tough place to play. Away from home they are just quality and I imagine this will continue even in unrest hard games Roma have to grind out victories away from home they are more than willing to do it. They even had a stretch of 13 straight away victories which was a league record Roma only lost one game on the road this year away from home these boys know how to perform.
Roma’s Rising Stars
One of the biggest positives that Roma can take from the season is the emergence of their young Stars. This Collective group of youngsters are going to be a force to be reckoned with in years to come. We saw Roma bringing Patrik Schick Lorenzo Pellegrini and Cengiz Under over the summer the potential in these three guys is enormous. Lorenzo Pellegrini was a Roma Academy graduate who came back this season. Although at times he struggled to crack into the starting lineup he has been quite consistent when he has played. There are games where you watch him and see how much of a star this kid can be. He’s still in his early twenties and has potential to be one of the best players in this league. He’s got mental intelligence for someone who is much older than he actually is he’s an excellent passer and you could already see he has some great leadership abilities. The Italian International scored three goals this season and provided a fair few assists in his first season back there’s a lot of positives to take from it if he just works on his game and gets a little bit more consistent I think he should be starting in Roma’s Midfield next year. Then you had the kid Cengiz Under the guy who was expected to replace the void left by Mohamed Salah. He’s much younger than the Egyptian but he plays the same position and has similar skill-set. He has frightening pace a very smart player who’s a good passer of the ball and has an extremely powerful left foot his range is unbelievable anywhere from outside the box he can score that’s how good he is. He did struggle for the first half of the season which I think a large part contributed to the fact that he did not speak Italian and was in an entirely different country once he grasped the language and once he had a better and understanding of the league he hit the ground running. A lot is attributed to Di Francesco and Kevin Strootman and Edin Dzeko who have helped them a lot through this season. But in the second half of the season during a time where they were winless in 7 Under scored his first goal for Roma and this was just the beginning. He scored twice in his next game the young Turkish Talent total of eight goals this season including the away goal scored against Shakhtar in the Champions League debut and the game-winning assist in the Barcelona comeback. This kid is going to turn into a superstar the end of the year with eight goals and five assists. With all of them coming during the second half of the season as he stole the starting job from Diego perotti and Stephan El Shaarawy he is going to be a superstar in this league and next year I think he has the ability to score 15 plus goals. Patrik Schick is another one who struggled with injuries and form for a large part of the season. However the last 8 weeks he has shown that he is capable of being a Difference Maker on this team if he can continue to play like he has at the end of the season he can be another guy who can be greatly impact this Roma team. These youngsters have all the potential to be Stars. I’m talking three potential stars in this league. That’s just three there are other stars like within this team this team is going to be built on the young Talent they have and this Roma group has some supremely young talented players with Under at the front of it.
Form at Home
Roma’s home form this season in the league has been pedestrian. Roma have lost seven games this season 6 of them came and their own backyard. It’s such a strange thing because historically Roma have been a really good home team and this year it just went out the window for whatever reason. And the even stranger thing is there would be best home team in the Champions League but in the league they really struggle at home. The Stadio Olimpico was a fortress in the Champions League campaign but at home it just wasn’t the same. And it’s not like they just lost to these big super powers like Napoli and Juventus but some of the smaller teams have come to Roma and left with points which is a problem Florentina and Atlanta come to mind specifically. They somewhat got it together late in the year but their home form could have cost them the title. I’m not saying they would have won the title if they would have cut them in half. There home form was standing in the way of them challenging for the league. If they can improve at home they can challenge the league and take the crown from Juventus home support will be crucial next season but this year they just didn’t play to their best at home and that is a problem and I don’t really think it’s coaching I don’t think it’s the player’s it might just be mentally. I don’t believe this will be an issue next season for this season but it’s severely cost them. If They played well then home they wouldn’t have had to fight for the Champions League and they would have put together a stronger title challenge. Which they seemingly fell out of within a few months. This is one of the things they must improve on that season if they want to take it’s to the next level.
Clinical Finishing needs improvements
Clinical finishing has been a major issue the majority of the season. It’s something that I’ve talked about week in and week out the amount of chances Roma have gotten this season have not been the problem. If I’m not mistaken Roma have created more chances than any team in the League this season it’s putting away the chances that have been the issue. During a spell in the November-december period Roma failed to win 7 straight games. They did have some VAR controversy and hit the crossbar more times they would have liked but if they had finished some of their chances they wouldn’t have been in that position and they wouldn’t have fell in out of the title race so quickly. This team is not in lack of good players Roma would like to have more fire power but they don’t have lack of players who can score goals Edin Dzeko Diego Perotti Stephan El Shaarawy Cengiz Under and Radja Nainggolan are all capable goal scorers. And I could even list some more there’s no reason that Roma should have problems putting the ball in the back of the net. I understand that Edin Dzeko is in his mid-thirties but he still scored over 20 goals this season Roma don’t lack the players. During this stretch that was a serious issue if Roma put away their chances on a more consistent basis going forward they’re not going to have any problems in the future they create so many chances that it’s almost sickening on the amount they have not scored. I know being a better team at home is really important but for me this is the biggest issue this Roma team it’s something I’ve discussed almost every week. If they’re able to address this and maybe not completely solve it but minimize it Roma are going to drastically improve but then again it’s a work in progress all I want to see is improvements and then we can go from there but this has been a major issue this season.