Roma hosted Empoli at the Stadio Olimpico last night. Claudio Ranieri made his return to the club last week as Roma’s new manager. Monday was his first game in charge and it was a difficult one with a large part of his team either out with injuries or suspension. Forcing him into not ideal circumstances. Empoli going into the game were just three points in front of the relegation zone and had a big opportunity to play Roma tough in hopes of getting upset. When these two teams faced the first time it was a huge battle Roma eventually pulling away at the end. Once again it would be a battle of true character while highlighting some positives and negative things about the performance. Stephan El Shaarawy scored an absolute screamer early in the game to give Roma 1-0 lead of their beliefs. However, it would be short-lived as defensive deficiencies would be highlighted as Juan Jesus despite having a stand out performance put the ball in the back of his own and net to equalize for Empoli. Roma had control in the first half and took advantage near the end of the first 45 minutes as Patrik Schick tucked a header into the bottom corner off a free-kick to give Roma the to 2-1 lead going into halftime. In the second half and Empoli played really tough and there were moments they looked like the superior side. There were even moments of controversy as Alexandro Florenzi was given a red card on his birthday. It was questionable at best he made it very little contact to imply that it was Worthy of being booked. At the very end of the match, Empoli equalized at least that is what we thought. After Consulting a VAR it had shown a handball and a foul on the play as it wiped off the goal. Despite everything that had gone on over the last week Roma held to an Incredibly important three points.
One of the biggest standout performers in Claudio Ranieri return is Patrik Schick. He had an excellent performance last night was a big reason why Roma ended up winning the game scoring the game-winning goal right before halftime. Patrik Schick. Had very limited time under DiFrancesco as he failed to get into the team on a consistent basis. He hasn’t got the opportunity to show what he actually can do. He needs to have the opportunity to show his worth. It is an opportunity that he will be given under Claudio Ranieri. The New Roma manager has already made it known that he plans to play Edin Dzeko and Patrik Schick together. Schick is extremely talented and still quite young he has a chance to be GREAT for Roma but he needs to be given a chance. I am a huge fan of Edin Dzeko one of my favorite players to ever wear the shirt but he is not the same player and Roma are not going to extend his contract. With that being said that means he will probably be departing at the end of the summer. Roma will probably be bringing reinforcements but the point is this will give Schick a chance to be the main Striker for Roma. The Czech Republic Striker deserves game time on a consistent basis you have to allow him the show the club what he can do. Not necessarily saying it’s going to work out but he hasn’t given the chance at all to prove his value. He did such a good job on the set piece getting into position before heading in the goal it surely was excellent execution and I suspect he will only improve on this positive energy he felt last night. That it’s been basically known that he will be one of the starters in Ranieri system it will give him the chance to show us all how good he can be. He has the potential to become something really special once he’s given the chance I truly believe he will prove it. He brings energy desire and determination you had all that together with game time Roma will get the results from him that we’ve been looking for.
Empoli’s Second Half intensity
Empoli we’re a very different team in the second half they had the energy and the intensity that you need in a team fighting for their lives. In the first half despite getting a goal it was very much a wrong mistake that caused it. Roma was much in control in the first half and looked like they’re going to coast to a very easy victory. Second-half adjustments changed everything. Having not created much in the first half and being completely dominated things turned in the second half they came out more aggressive and were ready to pull off an upset. Being down by only one goal they knew they had an opportunity to turn the game around. There were times in the second half they even looked like a more superior team they played really well like a team fighting for their lives. They are in a relegation battle this season and played Roma really tough. It turned the game into an ugly win for Roma rather than a routine Victory. They were very unlucky hitting the post off a free-kick at the end of the first half and their equalizer was wiped off after. Even though they lost the game they should be proud in the way they performed during the second half it was a completely different team than the one we saw from them in the first 45 minutes. Out of all the relegation teams they are the most dangerous that was on display on Monday night despite not getting the results they were looking for.
Justin Kluivert Shows Importance
Justin Kluivert was brought in the summer to be Roma’s next Star but that never really happened. He lacked serious game time under Di Francesco. I think he mismanaged the situation and given how talented he is. He started the game last night after having only limited minutes over the last few months it is something he truly deserved. Justin Kluivert when running forward it’s probably the fastest player in Italian football. In counter-attacking situations, he is as deadly as anyone which is why it is so strange he has had so little game time this season. Under Claudio Ranieri, it appears that is about to change even though Ranieri was dealt with some injury problems throughout his team Justin Kluivert stopped up to the plate and delivered. He was one of the most dangerous players on the pitch and the defense was having a big problem with trying to deal with him. The problem is he is so fast and skilled with which is why it was so strange having a lack of game time this season he is truly a special player while he may be having a better season then fellow youngster Nicolo Zaniolo he is an absolute super talent and if handled correctly he can be a truly special player for Roma. Last night’s his play was just antagonizing the way he executed on the counter was absolutely unbelievable. On the outside, with El Shaarawy the two of them looked so dangerous going forward. It might have been Justin Kluivert best performance since his move this summer. He played with intelligence aggression and athleticism. His current role of the game dictated the Roma attack at times. Justin Kluivert is a danger with and without the ball. He is so incredibly talented if he’s coached the right way we could be looking at a potential Superstar. He’s only 19 years old the last night we saw his true value Justin Kluivert isn’t a player who should be coming off the bench for 10-15 minutes he is a player that should be starting or at least playing important sub minutes. He played the majority of the game and was without question one of the best players on the pitch for Roma I suspect Ranieri will continue to use him after an unbelievable performance. Justin Kluivert wanted to show his new manager that he deserves a spot on this team he went above and beyond was that performance.
Empoli’s Missed Opportunities
Empoli missed out on a terrific opportunity Roma was not themselves last night With so many injuries and suspensions there was a major shake-up in the squad. If there was ever a match in which a team could expose Roma’s defense it was last night. Out of Roma’s typical backline defense, only one player remained. So many new starters for the match last night given all the injuries they had. Defensively Roma isn’t great and there were backups. Empoli may have a three-point distance between themselves and the relegation Zone but this was a Monumental opportunity wasted. This was not a full strength team even though they were still the more talented bunch and should have made them pay for it. They played it too relaxed in the first 45 minutes and even when they upped the intensity in the second half they failed to reach the target. They had a lot of opportunities to score goals they didn’t have the Cutting Edge in their clinical finishing. Roma even went down to 10 men and still couldn’t take advantage of it. The game was there for them to take they could have quite easily taken a point from this game but their lack of discipline a maturity prevented them from stealing a game. They did perform well at many points in this game but if you can’t get the results then it’s all for nothing. Empoli has a top 10 scorer in the league and couldn’t score against sub-par Roma defense backups that speak volumes.
Roma’s Most Valuable Player: Stephen El Shaarawy
Last night was Stephan El Shaarawy 100th game for Roma. He may not be considered one of the world the best but he is one of the most underrated players in so far given his impact of the game. With all that being said this has been his best season in the Roma shirt. Not only that but this has been his best season statically in years he has been an absolute threat for Roma throughout. Right now he would win player the season for Roma and I don’t think it’s particularly close at this juncture. Last night he scored his 9th goal in the league which is his highest total since 2012. He has been a leader and Incredibly impactful player on this team in all facets of the game. He’s scoring goals he’s finding his teammates and good spots and just controlling momentum. He has been in almost consistent starter on the left wing and for very good reason he has been a truly special player for Roma this season. Last night he scored his 33rd goal for the club an absolute screamer in the first half. Coming off a corner he stuck his foot in and hit a thunderbolt from distance one of his best goals of the season. This Roma team has been all about inconsistencies there have been so many up and downs. Stephan El Shaarawy is the only player this season for this club that has been consistent in every game he has played. When Roma lost him to injury a few months ago they went one of their worst stretches of the season. There’s no question he’s the most valuable player on this team the defense is the biggest issue and Edin Dzeko not scoring at the volume in which usually scores as somewhat of a problem. But no matter what game against what team Stephan El Shaarawy has performed and has turned into somewhat of the leader in the somewhat absence of Daniele de Rossi. El Shaarawy even got to wear the armband last night. After the game, he spoke about how much that meant to him. He is a player that I don’t think would even consider leaving the Stadio Olimpico. Roma will not allow that to happen even though he’s not among the top greatest footballers but he is definitely in that second class. Any team would love to have him on the club because of his energy he brings his leadership and intelligence. The one thing about him is he’s hard to control because of his ability to run forward with his incredible pace and that change directions without losing speed is something almost unparalleled. This is why Defenders have such a difficult time trying to stop him. He can cut through practically anyone because of his athleticism and speed. However, something we saw last night as well as many nights there’s one thing he does that no player in football does at a higher level. His movement without the ball is better than anyone I’ve ever seen he gets into positions almost on a constant basis he’s excellent with the ball but moving without the ball he gets into better position infrequent moments. It is a very underrated skill and last night Empoli had a serious problem dealing with it. His first goal was out of this world and he nearly scored the second of the same variety. Stephan El Shaarawy is Roma’s best player as much as we don’t want to admit that it is just the truth he usually does not get the credits that he deserves but he has been one of the best players in Italian football this season.