Score: A.S Roma 1 Udinesse 0FT
Following a late dramatic win against Sampdoria last week Roma have a chance to strengthen their Champions League chase as they sit just one point behind AC Milan in the fourth position. In what was a crucial match as they hosted Udinese at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. It was the second match between the two teams after Udinese beat Roma in the first meeting of the season. It will be a crucial match for both sides of the table a result for either could swing the momentum. It was an extremely wet and rainy condition as the two teams faced off in the capital. The first half didn’t develop all that much for either team it was great defensive display from both as the game didn’t really open up until late in the first half. A couple of chances for both teams but neither team displayed their superiority as it was a goalless first 45 minutes. In the second half, Roma really turned it on as they started picking up momentum as they grew into the game. Stephan El Shaarawy, in particular, seemed to be doing everything and anything creating a chance of for himself as well as facilitating for others. He was a nightmare to deal with and eventually Roma stuck late as El Shaarawy orchestrated Edin Dzeko in the Box as the Bosnian scored the winner in what was an eventual hard-fought win for the Romans. Roma temporarily moved into 4th place but AC Milan’s victory over Lazio maintained that spot for Milan. Despite that, it was a very strong and tough performance and have created a lot of separation between themselves as they find themselves on the front foot of the Champions League they are just narrowly behind Milan for that spot. Roma secure back-to-back wins for the first time in almost two months. A strong performance that inches them closer the Champions League football. With just six matches to go every result is important and 7 points from the last three games have proven to continuously display positivity following a very strong performance that could mean a lot for their Chase and European football.
Claudio Ranieri maintains his 4-2-3-1 of this much important match he has to used this exact formation over the last two games and it has worked effectively. In goal for Roma, they would once again opt for the experienced Antonio Mirante as Robin Olsen seems poised to leave the club this summer. They was a little bit of a shake-up in Roma’s backline. At left-back returning to the side so the first time in quite a while would be Ivan Marcano. Beside him would be the usual center-back partnership of Federico Fazio and Kostas Manolas then occupying right back filling in for the injured Alexandro Florenzi would be Juan Jesus. In the defensive Midfield, today would be the identical pair as we saw last week. Roma’s Captain Daniele De Rossi alongside Roma’s most consistent player Bryan Cristante. In the attacking Midfield, we would see a little bit of a mix-up as well. In the central position would be Nicolo Zaniolo as the young star returns to a much natural role. On the left wing returning to the starting lineup Roma’s best player Stephan El Shaarawy. On the opposite side controlling the right-wing would be Patrik Schick. Then up front, as the main Striker would the Edin Dzeko. A fairly solid lineup I personally would have gone with Lorenzo Pellegrini instead of Schick but other than that looks really strong. Not to mention Roma have a bench that will be featuring Cengiz under Justin Kluivert and Lorenzo Pellegrini.
After predictions and preparations, the match was just about to get underway in Rome at the Stadio Olimpico. Two teams in desperate need of points for very different reasons this was going to be hugely important regardless of the results. The match kicked off on this Saturday evening in the capital. Prior to the match, there were some clouds in the sky that suggested the weather might become an issue at some point in the game but for the time being, it was dry. It was a match that was very tactical early. In many games sometimes you see early chances this was not one of those games. It was about creating opportunities and defending not allowing to get exposed early. Defensively Roma has been very underwhelming this season and early there were some positives from that front Kostas Manolas in the first half was proving again why he’s one of the best center backs in the world using incredible effort and intelligence. In the beginning part of the game, Udinese seems to have a slight Advantage making Roma nervous in the early parts of the game but no team really showed their superiority at any point in the first half. In fact, we didn’t see a legitimate opportunity for 15 minutes the Possession battle was relatively even and even though both teams are being creative it didn’t develop into anything. Kevin lasagna tried to convert on the opening chance of the game he came very close to put in a Rodrigo de Paul through ball into the back of the net but narrowly missed. There were several attempts to strike on goal for both teams but both defenses did a tremendous job getting into the line of play preventing goal scoring opportunities for both teams leaving their goalkeepers relatively unchanged early. At about the quarter marks Bryan Cristante had an excellent opportunity Ivan Marcano sent in a well-hit cross into the box where Roma we’re packed. Bryan Cristante was not expecting to get the ball as quick as he did he tried to get a good touch on the ball but ultimately went wide. I don’t fault him at all for that situation because the ball came a lot quicker then he anticipated and he had to change his body position in a matter of seconds. Continue to be a very balanced game with no team really proving Superior. Roma was growing into the game as time progressed through Stephan El Shaarawy came relatively close just a little bit later. The athletic Winger put his head through an Edin Dzeko cross coming fairly close to finding the back of the net but went a little wide. Just two minutes later El Shaarawy was there again hitting a very vicious strike on the side of the box although the goalkeeper managed to get on it as it stung his hands because of the power. Roma really started to find a little bit of control even though I would not consider their momentum superiority they were growing into the game as the first half continued. Ivan Marcano saw his shot from inside the Box saved. Near the very end of the first half, Patrik Schick got into the action with a strike from close range that came very close. Then at the very death of the first half Kevin lasagna gave Udinese a late chance connecting on a header that was a bit too high leaving Antonio Mirante unbothered. that would single all the end of the first half in a goalless draw after 45 minutes.
An incredibly wet and rainy first half as Nicolo Zaniolo battles Rodrigo De Paul
Seemingly very limited chances for both teams in that first half Roma really need results and Raneri didn’t waste any time making adjustments as he went straight to his bench. Bringing in Lorenzo Pellegrini for Patrik Schick which is a really smart idea given what Pellegrini can do with the passing Lanes. He also brought on Alexandro Florenzi who has just returned from injury to give Roma more of an attacking look to them as they know how the wing to high press. The weather conditions continued to worsen after it started pouring early in the first-half it had not stopped and it continued to be slippery and wet in Rome. Even though the match was very balanced in the first half the substitutions that Ranieri made seem to make a difference almost immediately. Roma looks more poised on the ball with Lorenzo Pellegrini’s impact and his intelligent passing play Roma were able to get into the spaces on a more regular basis. Roma nearly struck relatively early in the second half as Stephan El Shaarawy who has just been a creative force throughout the match found Edin Dzeko on a cross. The Bosnian connected with his head but miss a little too high. Following a really good save by Antonia Mirante Roma’s goalkeeper made a slight mistake in his execution to come out and try to punch the ball. It left him a little bit exposed as a Sebastian di Maio hit the post as Roma dodged a bullet. Even though Udinese was very much in the game it was Roma who continues to try to mark their superiority. They were much more fluid with their passing and had more of attacking mentalities with the high press approach. Coming off a cross delivered by Lorenzo Pellegrini Bryan Cristante came close with a header that went wide. Lorenzo Pellegrini completely changed that second half and you could see exactly what his impact was. Roma started to really press against that defense and had some success against it. Their mentality continued to go forward while holding the backline which was really important especially for a team like who has struggled this year defensively. Udinese had very limited opportunities as the game continued to open up for Roma. Just a few minutes later Edin Dzeko was nearly there again as he put his head up through a Florenzi cross. The changes Ranieri made it halftime continue to make a big difference. The moment finally struck for Roma in the 67th minute. Alexandro Florenzi gave an excellent pass to El Shaarawy who had a magical moment with an unbelievable pass inside to Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian had mutually a one-on-one as he tucked the ball into the bottom corner to give Roma the 1-0 lead.
Edin Dzeko scored his first brace at the Stadio Olimpico in almost a year as he gives Roma a vital lead.
Edin Dzeko showed his pure excitement getting out of a slump at the celebrated with his teammates. It was the first goal Edin Dzeko has scored at the Stadio Olimpico since last year. It would be Edin Dzeko 13th goal of the season. It was a goal that Roma truly deserved. An excellent finish by Edin Dzeko but the pass by Stephan El Shaarawy was absolutely superb pinpoint accuracy finding Edin Dzeko perfect space El Shaarawy put on an unbelievable display. However, Daniele de Rossi got injured on the play and based on his reaction it does not look good. Cengiz under came in to replace him. almost immediately Genghis under try to strike from a very difficult angle misfiring a very selfish play as he was just trying to go for goal. Following Roma’s goal defensively Roma sat back and let Udinese come at them. Brilliance from Lorenzo Pellegrini and Stephan El Shaarawy as Rome were in the driver seat. Despite heavy resistance, Antonia Mirante made a late save on Prosecco as time expired with Roma holding on to an incredibly important victory that put them very much alive in this champions league chase. A very encouraging performance as they take momentum and confidence into Inter Milan next week as we finally see a strong Roma performance at the Stadio Olimpico.
Vice Captain Alexandro Florenzi embodies the importance for the result.
Roma wins back-to-back for the first time in quite a while this season. Over there last three matches they have finally looked like a cohesive team once again. However, this performance, in particular, stands out of my mind. They were more connected and made really smart intelligent decisions. They allowed themselves to get into the game rather than forcing themselves into it. The tactics were spot on by Ranieri we got to see the return of Stephan El Shaarawy in the starting lineup and my goodness did it pay off. He was absolutely superb the absolute best player on the pitch he got him to really good spaces and delivered a jaw-dropping pass for edin Dzeko. He did so much work and used his athletic ability to his advantage he was a tireless worker all night. He was an absolute nightmare to deal with furthermore proving that he is one of the best players in Italian football. Even though he does not get recognized for what he does on a daily basis in this league he just continues to show what his value is in this team. If you look at how they operate when he is fully healthy operating in that this attack Roma are much more efficient. I’ve said this a dozen times at this point but his movement without the ball is one of a kind there is no player in the world football moves more efficient without the ball. Absolutely no question he was the man of the match. This was a hugely important game for Roma and even though he didn’t score the goal he orchestrated so much for the team and he’s a large part of the ability to convert on their chances in this game. It wasn’t all happy and positive there were some negatives about it but overall collectively this team played exceptionally well. The thing that impressed me the most was Claudio Ranieri’s decision to make two changes at halftime after Roma failed to do much in the first 45 minutes. He brought on Florenzi & Lorenzo Pellegrini who both had exceptional performances. Lorenzo Pellegrini did a lot of really great things with a ball and his delivery on set-pieces was excellent. Then Alexandro Florenzi in his own right played a big role in Roma pushing the ball forward late in the game. In this game everyone did their job Roma upped to the intensity in the second half. Edin Dzeko scores his first goal at the Stadio Olimpico since last year which is a huge thing for a confidence boost across the board everyone played really well together. The thing that might be most surprising is defensively Roma was strong Kostas Manolas led that charge it was absolutely unbelievable. This is one of the most inconsistent defensive teams & they performed so well especially late in the game when Roma was trying to hang on to their lead. In this match, Roma makes great strides towards Champions League football. They are still just one point behind AC Milan for fourth place and Lazio losing today give Roma a big help in the Champions League race. Roma has Inter Milan next week at the San Siro if they come together and play the way they did tonight there’s no question they are capable of getting an important result. There are six games left this is exactly the right time to start heating up and I think Roma have done that.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Stephen El Shaarawy
By the numbers
On target 4
Pass success 82%
On target 2
Pass success 77%
Top of the table
1.Juventus 27-3-2 84pts
2.Napoli 19-6-5 63pts
3.Inter Milan 17-5-8 56pts
4.Milan 15-10-7 55pts
5.A.S Roma 15-9-8 54pts
Bottom of the table
16.Udinesse 8-8-15 32pts
17.Bologna 7-7-15 30pts
18.Empoli 7-7-17 28pts
19.Frosinone 5-8-18 20pts
20.Cheivo 1-11-19 11pts