Roma, after having back-to-back wins and being unbeaten in their last three matches, Roma had a stern test against Inter Milan. As a Roma was welcomed to the San Siro one of football’s most iconic stadiums Italy’s Cathedral. It would be the second match between these two teams this season after playing out a come-from-behind a 2-2 draw at the Stadio Olimpico earlier this season. There was a lot of hype surrounding a match on Saturday night. Headlining it was the storylines regarding the transfer between Roma and Inter Milan regarding Nicolo Zaniolo and Radja Nainggolan not to mention that Luciano Spalletti preparing a game plan against his former team. It is a huge game by itself Inter and Roma are Italian football heavyweights this is always a big match regardless of status in the table or what time of the year. However, with Millan’s draw, away at Parma Roma had an opportunity to take over 4th Place while Inter Milan could shorten the gap with 2nd place Napoli. It was an electric yet intense match between two teams that are not particularly fond of each other. El Shaarawy broke through early in the first half to give a Roma the 1-0 led. One of the best strikes we have seen this season as El-Shaarawy continues to display absolute brilliance. It was relatively balanced through the opening 45 minutes with Roma having a slight advantage. In the second half of all of that changed Inter Milan turn to switch and seemed to be in complete control the second half with very limited opportunities for Roma. Inter Milan dominated possession and had twice as many chances. Ivan Perisic eventually equalized for Inter Milan. The Milan Giants continue to look for a second goal but it just never happened an inability to convert their chances for Inter Milan as Roma earned a hard-fought point at the San Siro. A performance of momentum which both teams can take with them through the rest of the season as we get to the bitter end of the season with everything still at stake. Not the result Roma wanted but getting a point in a tough atmosphere at the San Siro certainly enhances their Chase for Champions League football.
Deterioration of Radja Nainggolan vs the Rise of Nicolo Zaniolo
One of the biggest talking points ahead of this match was the true resolution of the transfer that occurred between these two clubs in the summer. Regarding Radja Nainggolan and Nicolo Zaniolo who were apart of a 24 million swap deal between the two clubs in the summer. At the time it looked like a massive mistake and error on Roma’s account. Prior to the season, Radja Nainggolan was one of the very best midfielders in Italian football. There were even seasons in which you could argue that he was the best player in the entire league. Radja Nainggolan spent 4 years at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome and developed into a fan favorite. He was one of Roma’s very best players and there was a lot of anger and rage in his departure. Roma in exchange got a talented 19-year-olds by the name of Nicolo Zaniolo he was supposedly the Jewel of the deal. We had not seen him on any level whatsoever at that point the kid yet to make his first appearance in Italian football. Fast forward to the current time and it is quite clear The Inter Milan lost the deal. Roma comes out winners from this transfer. We have seen the deterioration of Radja Nainggolan meanwhile Nicolo Zaniolo is the future of Italian football and one of the best young talents in World football. This is not what inter expected or even Roma for that matter the rise of this young kid took everyone off guard but he is one of the best players on Roma and his importance could not be any more clear. Nicolo Zaniolo is going to lead this team for the next 10 years. He is the rising star in Italian football. Once Francesco Totti retired he talked about his successor and he said he’s not here yet but one day he will arrive. Nicolo Zaniolo has arrived and he is not just a future of Roma he’s the future of Italian football along with Juventus star Moise Kean. Roma robbed Inter Milan in the deal that is abundantly clear now. On the other hand, Radja Nainggolan has struggled with Inter Milan and is yet to really display the qualities he showed at Roma. Some controversial issues on and off the pitch have only justified the mistake that Inter Milan made in the summer. Radja Nainggolan was a world-class player one of the best in the league that no longer true. Against Roma last night at the San Siro you could see some of his deterioration he’s not the player he once was he made a very little impact and every time he touched the ball he seemed disoriented and unorganized. That’s not to say he’s not good anymore but he’s not the player Inter Milan thought they were buying. I do wish him very well the future and I hope he can find his feet again because he was one of my favorites but after this season he might have to do it somewhere else because this experiment has backfired and that was evidence Saturday night.
Last night we witnessed missed opportunities not only for Inter Milan before Roma as well. Saturday was a monumental opportunity for both clubs to make up ground in the Champions League race. Lazio lost to Chievo Verona and Milan saw three points a slip through their fingers after Bruno Alves equalized late in the earlier game in Parma. The opportunity to take advantage of that was there for the taking Inter Milan and Roma both missed out. From Romans perspectives a win, last night against Inter Milan would have taken them into fourth place in the Champions League spot they are fighting for. Not only that but had they beaten Inter Milan they would have been only three points from 3rd place. If Roma somehow were able to pull off 3rd place it would be an incredible story given how much they have struggled this season. It was not a bad result for Roma but had they gotten all three points it would have severely shaken up the Champions League. Even though Inter Milan are not going to miss Champions League regardless of what the results could have been. They had second place in their sights a win against Roma Saturday could have pushed them on the brink of second place. They would have been only three points away from potentially stealing second place from Napoli. Inter Milan inability to do that has basically ended any possibility of that. Even after all that inter and Roma still, haven’t lost too much as both teams are in very good positions to secure Champions League football. But none the less a results for either team could have been really important there wasn’t much to lose but there is a lot to gain and both clubs just missed the opportunity.
Switching to Antonio Mirante In goal was the right move for Roma
Robin Olsen was the starting goalkeeper for the majority of the season. He has had some unbelievable moments but he also had moments of Destruction and misery. Claudio Ranieri eventually made a change as goalkeeper after Robin Olsen’s Schoolboy goalkeeping against Napoli. 35-year-old veteran Antonio Mirante took over the starting job at the beginning of this month. The changes absolutely drastic my argument had been that Robin Olsen really wasn’t to blame because of how poor the defense has been this season but after the last month it’s quite clear that it’s possible that Robin Olsen was the problem. Claudio Ranieri made the switch and it certainly has paid off. In the past 4 games, Antonio Mirante has two clean sheets and Roma are unbeaten in their last four. The communication has been key his ability to communicate with his backline he made everything a lot easier on the defense. Robin Olsen’s inability or failure to learn Italian made things incredibly difficult given the fact that there was a communication issue making it really difficult to direct his back line. Antonio Mirante speaks fluent Italian and everybody seems to be on the same page since he has taken over. It is an incredibly difficult decision to make especially late in the season but I think Ranieri made the right call. Mirante, I will not be the long-term solution as Alessio Cragno is very likely to make the move to Roma this summer. Last night was a perfect display of his poise and Control. Very early in this game, Martinez nearly broke the game open but the Roma veteran made an unbelievable save on the goal line denying Inter Milan of an early goal. That save in itself inspired Roma to go out and get themselves in front. A very strong performance despite conceding in the second half he has been nothing short of Sensational in his four games in a tough environment at the San Siro only further Justified the decision that was made.
Inter Couldn’t Finish
From a purely statistical perspective, Inter Milan could have done a lot better in this game. They struggled in the first half a little bit but eventually came back to equalize earning a point. However, Inter Milan completely dominated possession and had twice as many opportunities. Inter Milan accumulated 21 shots that are 12 more than Roma. With that being said somehow someway they had the same amount of shots on target even though Inter Milan had significantly more opportunities. They wasted far too many chances this is a big reason they were unable to get the job done. From my viewpoint a draw was a fair result and had Inter Milan stolen this game it wouldn’t have truly reflected the match but at the same time, they had too many opportunities not to put this game away. Once they equalized they spent the rest of the second half searching for that second goal but they never got it. The reason we never got it was because they struggled with clinical finishing ability in front of goal. They created so many chances and I think you need to give Roma a little bit of credit and Antonio Mirante made some unbelievable saves and Roma’s defense was relatively error-free. However, none the less for the number of chances that Inter Milan created for them not to put it away in their own stadium at the San Siro was nothing short of a joke. Collectively Inter Milan played really well but their inability to finish off their chances is the reason they fail to win this game it is something that is going to need to be dealt with for the remainder of the season and going forward.
El Shaarawy’s Best Roma Season
Last week Stephan El Shaarawy was breathtaking as I acknowledged him as one of the top three performers. He was absolutely Sensational against Udin in a very tough game a match in which they kind of needed to win his passing skills effort and conviction played a big role in Roma’s ability to secure the three points was excellent. This week was no difference he was absolutely the best player on the pitch and made his presence felt throughout the match. Roma did not have a fluctuation of chances but El Shaarawy made his impact as the only continues to prove that he has been one of the best players this season. He is without question deserving of team of the season. He is in Roma’s best player and has been since day one. He has been nothing short of Sensational and only continues to display that through each match. He has dealt with some injuries this season had he not have gone through that he could have easily 15 to 20 goals this season. Yesterday it was questionable whether he would play at the game at all after feeling some discomfort in his thigh the day before the match however he started the game and Roma are so grateful he did. He passed protocol and was given the green light to play against Inter Milan at the San Siro a place he used to call home when he played for AC Milan. Stephan El Shaarawy has made it almost customary to score against both Milan teams since he has joined Roma. He has scored a great goal in the San Siro but the one he scored Saturday night was absolutely outrageous. He found the back of the net with an absolutely outrageous hit. He was so dangerous on an almost regular basis completely hard to control or stop. Stephan El Shaarawy gave Roma the opener with one of the best goals we have seen this season. From outside the box, he drove his Defender before striking an absolute masterclass of a hit finding the top corner not giving the goalkeeper a chance in the world. He used his Speed and Agility to get into good space and position to strike the ball. The defender couldn’t even keep up as El Shaarawy’s movement as he left him out to dry with a superb strike. It was his 10th goal of the season which is his most League goals since his AC Milan days. He has been nothing short of brilliant throughout the season a healthy El Shaarawy is as good as any Winger and in the entirety of Italian football., last week he was recognized for his performance and this week is no different as he makes the list for the second straight week. He has been such an impact player for Roma and after another brilliant display, he deserves a new contract Roma are not the same team offensively without him. He made things very difficult to deal with for Inter Milan using his speed an incredible intelligence he has been as good as practically anyone this season despite the fact that he continues to be ignored only further proving that he is one of the most underrated players in World football. People don’t realize is he’s performing like this every week if Roma are going to make Champions League this season it’s going to heavily rely on Stephan El Shaarawy he deserves so much credit and recognition for how well he has performed this season he is a big-game player and it’s capable of turning it on and those big moments I will only continue to give him the credit he truly deserves.