Roma hosted Florentina at the Stadio Olimpico Wednesday night. Roma going into the game was coming off back-to-back losses including a miserable showing against Napoli to end what was a terrible month of March only picking up one win in 5 games. The Champions League race took a serious dent but Roma would be looking for a response. As were Florentina who have been equally struggling with no wins in their last five games. Both were looking for some reaction after a month of poor football. The game and the result was something most were expecting. After making critical formation errors against Napoli Claudio Ranieri made adjustments that seem to a payoff. Florentina hit first breaking through coming off a set piece finished off by Biraghi to give them the 1-0 lead. Roma show character and immediately responded with a goal of their own. As Justin Kluivert picked out Nicolo Zaniolo as his header found the back of the net to equalize immediate reply. It was really a balanced first half with both teams seeming up for it knowing what the results could mean for both teams. The score remained unchanged going into the second half. Florentina started fast and broke through very early as familiar face gave Florentina the lead. On-loan midfielder Gerson orchestrated a beautiful play set up a teammate before striking the back of the net to give a Florentina the 2-1 lead. Once again Roma shows their character siding back into the game just a few minutes later. Once again Justin Kluivert orchestrated an opportunity as Diego Perotti hit an absolute Rocket into the back of the net to equalize making 2-2. Roma was the much better team in the second half and proved it with several opportunities to kill off the game it was a true battle but ultimately Roma could not finish it at the end. It’s not the result Roma would have liked what is the performance the team really needed as they split points at the Stadio Olimpico.
Performance Roma needed
Roma seemingly needed three points and still find themselves in 7th. Losses for Lazio and AC Milan helped their situation but three points would have been really beneficial. Despite that is not the main talking point is the performance. Roma would have loved to win this game and get closer back into the Champions League race but this game wasn’t about this. It was about putting in a performance of quality and that’s exactly what they have done. If we are really being honest with ourselves Roma hasn’t played good football in over a month. The performance we saw last night was excellent Roma over the last month fell out of the games after conceding goals. That was the polar opposite of what happened yesterday. Roma came back twice to earn points and it wasn’t just that they came back they hit back immediately. After Florentina scored their first goal it took Roma a little under two minutes to equalize. Then after their second goal, it took about 6 minutes. The fear of three consecutive losses inspired this team to continue to fight. This is exactly how Roma need to play for the rest of the season. From the Tactical perspectives the ball movement was superb there was great communication between everyone they seem to be on the same page. On both goals communication with key for their execution. It was a marvelous display even though the result was not what they wanted. In the second half, Roma had control throughout the game Florentina ended up looking a little flat while Roma looked energized and ready to score the winner. The results they got is probably Fair but none the less they performed as Roma should. They need to find a way to sustain their performance in the second half for the rest of the season. It is hard for me that Champions League football is possible but if Roma goes on a run it is possible. Roma finally displayed an encouraging game of football three points were not able to be collected. They lacked confidence and momentum after that performance they certainly have it to some extent an important performance even if the results was not what they wish for.
Gerson Haunts Roma
Roma saw a familiar face, to the Stadio Olimpico yesterday. On-loan Florentina midfielder Gerson the youngster is still incredibly talented and he showed exactly what he’s capable of. Gerson has been with Roma for three seasons his first year he got very little playing time under Luciano Spalletti. The last year he got a significant increase in game time and I gave him the most improved player of the season. He scored two goals last season ironically both coming against Florentina. This year at Florentina he has thrived and I have a suspicion that Florentina might try to negotiate to keep him in Florence. The honest truth is there is an inflection of young talent in Roma and it is quite possible his time at the Stadio Olimpico has already ended but nonetheless last night he showed his colors against his Club. Gerson with absolutely the best player for Florentina last night and played a very strong and tough game. We can talk about the goal but it wasn’t just his ability to find the back of the net it was his ability to find spaces and getting his teammates involved. Federico Chiesa didn’t start the match Gerson filled that void for Florentina making them a dangerous team especially coming forward. They did. He is a tremendously talented player but he has not quite reached his potential that we all had hope for him nonetheless we are starting to see he has the ability to be an important player even if it may not be for Roma. In the second half, he scored an absolutely brilliant goal. It took an incredible level of intelligence to orchestrate the entire play. From the Midfield Gerson hit a deep cross to the left wing. Following that he runs through the center to be aligned in the Run of play wing and ended up striking it from outside the box. Given the situation, he refused to celebrate which is something I really respected. It is quite possible he may not play for Roma again I’m hoping he does but that seems unlikely. He had a game of his life at the Stadio Olimpico against it really was a wonderful display.
Raneri Get is Right
Against Napoli, I called Ranieri’s his football intelligence into question. Which may have been harsh for at the time but given at the mistakes he made I felt it was warranted. However last night he got me tactics absolutely right he corrected the mistakes that he made on the weekend. The biggest issue with his tactics on the weekend is he did not put enough pace in the lineup because of this there was nothing to counter what Napoli was doing. This time Claudio Ranieri maybe right decision after seeing his 4-3-3 formation crumble against Napoli he made the correct adjustments taking Roma Back to the 4-2-3-1 formation. Initially, I was upset that he did not start Lorenzo Pellegrini and Cengiz Under But ultimately looking back on it was the right decision they were both just coming off injuries and he did not want to risk them. He started Nicolo Zaniolo and Justin Kluivert two of my suggestions prior to the Napoli game. Justin Kluivert was absolutely superb he had a two-assist performance and played one of his best games we have seen him play in the Roma shirt he has had an underwhelming campaign but last night it justifies his quality. Also, Nicolo Zaniolo scored as both of those guys being included in the starting XI paid off. It wasn’t just the formation it’s how they play together everyone seems to be on the same page for the majority of the match. Diego Perotti getting another start the Argentina International after having missed so much time this season has scored in three consecutive games and the goal he scored yesterday was an unbelievable strike it’s not just what he did with the starters it is the changes he made coming off the bench. He brought in Lorenzo Pellegrini who I am on record saying he is Roma’s Most Valuable Player the way they operate with him and without are night and day. He immediately made an impact making a few key passes something he is always done to create space and separation to get his teammates in position to score. He played very minimal minutes but he made his impact almost immediately It looks like he hadn’t lost a step. Not only how he played the way he controlled the game how he controlled the ball making great passes and his deliveries on set-pieces looked exactly like the Lorenzo Pellegrini we know. Also Cengiz Under made a return playing more significant minutes than he did against Napoli. He looked really strong on the ball was explosive and was extremely hard to deal with. It was just a reminder how good he has been this season the injury really affected this team and it looked like Roma had that spark back. Both substitutions paid off the two of them together looked great in late in the game they were hard to stop. The hope is that they are both healthy to start very soon. I ripped Claudio Ranieri up against Napoli he absolutely got it right this time.
Florentina’s Second Half let Down
Florentina was a big let down in the second half. They started quick and fast they got the goals only a few minutes into the second half but that’s as far as it got. Following their goal, they provided practically nothing even Federico Chiesa coming into the game didn’t make that much of a difference. Roma’s immediate response to their goal caused them to feel off balance. Napoli came out flat and couldn’t create much of anything. It seemed to be a big problem especially late in the game like I said the results were fair for both sides but Florentina could have lost this game in the second half. It was a complete let down in the first half they were exchanging blows and then early in the second half I think that also applied. It was a very balanced game through the majority of it but after Roma scored they couldn’t really create anything. This is the problem and probably a main contributing factor of why this team is in such bad form. They have talented players all over the place and they couldn’t collectively come together and finish off the game. Not necessarily winning it but at least putting up a better fight. Luis Muriel Federico Chiesa just couldn’t click in the second half they let Roma somewhat control and run away with this game. They got the draw but at the same time, they could have done a better job trying to close out the game. You didn’t see anything from Florentina it seemed they were just playing defensive football trying to avoid losing even though Roma had the advantage that had confidence and momentum after getting themselves back into the game Florentina couldn’t reciprocate they couldn’t react to the equalizer. Roma should be thrilled about the draw because they came back twice for the same reason Florentina’s to be disappointed they couldn’t hold on to it.
Kluivert Shows his Quality
Justin Kluivert has had an underwhelming campaign since his arrival in the capital. However last night I might have been one of his shining moments. After not being picked to start again Napoli he got the green light in a really important game against Florentina. The Dutch teenager showed his quality even though Bryan Cristante and Diego Perotti has had excellent games it was the young 19 years old who seems to be the difference for Roma. Not only was he one of the best players on the pitch last night but he completely Justified his price tag and his decision to move to the Italian capital. Roma want to feed this club with a lot of young talent and he is certainly a part of that even though he may not be most talented player on Roma and occasionally lacks game time a performance like yesterday shows exactly why he’s such an important piece of what Roma are trying to build with the young talents assembled. He was a sensation quite easily one of the best performers in all of Italian football this week. He got the stat and took full advantage of it Roma came back twice in this match against a Florentina. It was a two-assist performance for the Dutchman. An unbelievable display that showed intelligence and intangibles. He used his explosive skill set to get into dangerous positions on what seems like an almost regular basis. Justin Kluivert is one of the fastest players in the entire country he has the athleticism that is like no other. He is a tireless workhorse who has energy and conviction. Almost immediately after Roma conceded a goal. Justin Kluivert used his speed and pace to get into a good position before making a cut move to separate himself from the defender sending a cross that ended up being met by the head of Nicolo Zaniolo that ball ended up in the back of the net. It was a quick and immediate response. It wasn’t just that he got himself into a great position and his teammates. He was a facilitator throughout the game. Roma needed pace in the lineup and he provided exactly what he was almost unbeatable when he was running forward trying to create counter-attacks as much as possible. Even though they didn’t really use the counter last night space he got into and the way he was using his body effectively made a huge difference. Defenders were having huge issues staying up with him. Truly one of the best performances we have seen from him this season. You can see the Promise within him and that performance. Just like the first goal right after Roma conceded the youngster did it again he found space executed and picked out a good cross for teammates. He did a lot of damage in the amount of time he was given the was an absolute nightmare deal with the amount of skill and ability that he showed was on full display. Just a constant reminder of how talented he actually is Justin Kluivert can be a huge part of this team for the next few years he has a conviction the ability to grow and every time we have seen him perform this season he’s got just a little bit better he’s going to grow into a phenomenal player and will be a big part of the young core that this team is developing. He was absolutely Sensational easily one of the best performers this week in Italian football.