Roma vs Atalanta Talking Points #641


In one of the biggest matches in Italian football this week Roma hosted Atalanta with two of the most attacking-minded teams in Europe going head-to-head in the internal City. Going into the match Roma were in terrific form-finding confidence and momentum with back-to-back victories in the league and three wins in a row. With last weekend’s late Victory away at bologna with Edin Dzeko’s winning goal at the death. It was the first loss bologna has suffered at home in their last eight matches. They had momentum and confidence going against A team that is worthy challengers. Atalanta also has had a relatively strong start to the season. The Champions League darlings last season it may have not been at the same level as they were a year ago but despite that, they still look for a European Chase yet again. It was truly a battle between two evenly-matched teams. Atalanta has had numerous success against Rome at the Stadio Olimpico being unbeaten in Rome in their last six games despite that Rome came into the game as slight favorites. It was a back-and-forth first half with both teams showing their quality at times but also had its share of disappointment. Atalanta truly looked like they had the momentum and confidence. Roma struggled in the first half even though they had moments of magic from Leonardo Spinazzola who was Roma’s best player on the night. Atalanta Superstar Duvan Zapata started the game on the bench it was really an opportunity for Roma to take advantage of that they were unable to do so. Even though they had several opportunities at the end of the first half to take the lead. It was a goalless first half in the second half there certainly was a momentum shift. Atalanta had the ball in Roma’s danger area for almost the entire second half. Then very early in the second half Roma’s best player on the night, Leonardo Spinazzola had to come out through injury. With the momentum that Atalanta was displaying that signified what would come. Meanwhile, Duvan Zapata was warming up on the sidelines Roma was in serious trouble. However, Roma’s youngster Nicolo Zaniolo displayed some magic with an opportunity to give Roma the lead. He cut through the defense having a somewhat open net but he failed to release the ball quick enough as Atlanta’s defense was able to deflect. It was an opportunity in which Nicolo Zaniolo without question it should have scored. II that fact he didn’t hit the back of the net the game felt over. Duvan Zapata came in Off the Bench then lo and behold the moment arrived with about 20 minutes ago the Colombian Striker hit A rocket it to the top corner to give Atlanta the 1-0 lead. Roma struggled to find much of anything in that second half a few chances occasionally but for the most part, Atalanta dominated. In the closing moments, Atalanta added another as a Martin De Roon hit the back of the net to get the Atalanta the 2-0 victory. It is the sixth time Atalanta has come to the Stadio Olimpico and picks up points. I’m not sure what it is but Atalanta seems to have the edge in this matchup over the last few years. Roma is held at home to Atlanta as disappointment is felt around the Olimpico.



Atalanta has Roma’s Number at the Olimpico 


Atalanta for the longest time was a non-factor in Italian football. They were a relegation team or a team that was in Serie B. There was no European ambitions or anything that we have seen in the last two years. They were to a certain extent a dumpster fire. Most teams have been able to deal with that historically over the last decade. Roma included in that in the past. Roma was able to deal with this team like many others on a regular and consistent basis. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. In the last 4 years, Roma does not have a favorable record against them. Atalanta has been involved in Europe four consecutive seasons during that time Roma has found it very difficult. That’s not to say Roma never beat them that occurs away from home. They have struggled against this team at the Stadio Olimpico they seemingly have their number. In their last six matches at the Stadio Olimpico against Atalanta, they have failed to win every single one of them. With three draws and three losses during this time span. Roma has the better team and the majority of the time this is the case but nonetheless regardless of the strength of the team they struggle against Atalanta. Yesterday night was, even more, a display of that it seems they might even have a psychological Edge Atalanta used to be a walk in the park that is just not the case anymore so whatever reason Atalanta has made things incredibly difficult on Roma every time they make the trip to the Olimpico.


Justin Kluivert was Missed 


Justin kluivert picked up a minor injury ahead of this matchup. As it stands he is Roma’s most explosive player who can be incredibly dangerous and antagonizing on the counter-attack. While Roma had a strong lineup they missed his impact in the attack. Justin kluivert is incredibly fast and explosive going forward. Roma lacked that type of player yesterday. The dimension of the Roma attack is completely different when Justin kluivert is there. Given his skill-set talent and speed, he is as dangerous as anybody on the counter-attack being in the team by definition makes any attack that Roma put together dangerous. While Roma has some solid pieces in that attack yesterday they certainly missed him. They were many points in a game in which Atalanta took over and had control. Roma throughout the game struggled to be as dangerous coming forward as they have in the previous games. Justin kluivert was the key individually can make things incredibly dangerous for Roma. I’m not sure the results would have been different if he had played but they missed that type of figure yesterday. He has not fulfilled his potential as of yet but he is a superstar in the making with skills and abilities that would have made Atalanta really uncomfortable especially after they brought on Zapata. Roma would have had someone to counter that. When the young at Dutchman has the ball in space and going forward he can’t be stopped. Even if Roma aren’t playing well if they can get Justin kluivert the ball in those type of areas he can flip the game on its head. Roma had great players inside the squad yesterday but none that can make that type of impact in the squad. Last night Atalanta wouldn’t have had an answer for him.


Leo Spinazzola Injury Put Roma out of Contention


Roma struggled throughout the match yesterday but a single moment in the second half changed the complexion of the game. Subconsciously the game felt over when the sequence occurs. Leonardo Spinazzola was Roma’s best player he showed all the qualities within his game that makes him so dangerous and effective. He was the most expensive player that Roma brought in during the summer and the way he displayed that yesterday there’s nobody will question why anymore. He played us such an impactful role in getting Roma forward into opportunities. He was special all of last night when he was playing. He got forward with speed got teammates involved it was an all-around top performance. He was excellent there was not a lot of players that deserve recognition yesterday it was a less-than-stellar performance but Leonardo Spinazzola was keeping Roma in the game. He provided Roma something else that they weren’t previously getting. Leonardo Spinazzola has abilities and he showed how dangerous he can be. The way he telegraphed his moves did a great job and getting into position for himself and orchestrating opportunities for teammates it was just a special performance. Roma was hanging on to the game by a thread but the game ended when he had to come out. He picked up a minor injury in the second half when he was subbed out it seemed like there was no hope any longer Roma was already playing pretty poorly on top of that their best player the only player that was giving Atalanta any problems couldn’t continue. Meanwhile on the opposite sideline who did we see warming up none other than Duvan Zapata Atalanta’s most dangerous player on their team. Nicolo Zaniolo had a momentous opportunity that he failed to convert just following Leonardo Spinazzola exit. The sequences may not be related to each other but momentum was drained from the team. Roma never gave up they kept going but eventually, his injury cost Roma the match. Roma did not deserve to win or get a draw yesterday but when Leonardo Spinazzola was playing they seem to have some hope obtaining point. That ended the second he left. Duvan Zapata came off the bench and scored then that was it.

Clinical Finishing Issues 


Roma’s early struggles creating chances yesterday. It wasn’t their biggest problem but it was certainly a lack of offensive output. However, Roma came forward and had opportunities to score they just couldn’t convert. The creation of chances even though it was limited Roma are so talented that they were able to orchestrate enough Firepower to give them a Shooters chance to win the game. The problem was their finishing in front of goal. This is the first time under Paulo Fonseca but this has been a problem. This has has been an issue for the majority of the last few years. This is a different type of Team than the one we’ve seen. Paulo Fonseca is a brilliant manager who will not allow this to happen on too many occasions. I do not think this will be a problem Roma will revisit over and over again but last night they certainly lacked that clinical touch in front of goal. I’m not sure what attributed to it but it just wasn’t their day. Roma didn’t look good for the majority of the match and everything seemed to go South in the second half. Roman had their opportunities especially Nicolo Zaniolo who has I said should have scored his goal. None the less I’m not going to pick on the kid he was in great position score he was just unable to have the Finishing Touch at the end of it. Roma created enough they just didn’t have what it took to close the deal. This is something Roma needs to improve on and quickly. I don’t think this will be a huge problem for a good portion of the season but it needs to be addressed.


Duvan Zapata Instant Impact 


Last season duvan Zapata was the best player in Italian football. Anyone who watched the games and looked at the data came to that conclusion. He was the driving force of a Cinderella story as Atalanta finished third in a Champions League place. I elected him as a performer of the week on more occasions than any other player in Italian football during the 38 Game season. Some people speculated we would see some regression from the Columbian. Largely because he hasn’t scored the multitude and volume of goals at any point of his career as he did last season. This year is only to continue that rise. He is still is one of the best players in all of Italian football and on any given day one of the most physically imposing Strikers in the league. It doesn’t matter whether or not he scores goals are not the way he can impact the game in every way makes him such an explosive and antagonizing player to control and stop. Duvan Zapata already has four goals this season He thrives in big moments. I think to a certain extent he proves that Napoli made a mistake by letting him go. He was one of the best performers in all of Italy this week. He is likely to be acknowledged for this more this season Duvan Zapata did not start the game this week he came off the bench. You really can’t ask the Columbian to do anymore he came off the bench and won the game for them. When he checked into the game I knew there was a good possibility this is over. The effectiveness of a player does not depend on stats his impact on the game whether he scores or not he is incredibly crucial. He’s starting to gain a reputation of scoring against the biggest teams in Italy. Last season he scored against Lazio, Roma, Juventus, Inter, and Napoli. He is one of the biggest performers when the stakes are highest. He is still one of the best players in the league & the argument could be made that he is one of Europe’s best at his position as well. He is in for another season with 20 + goals he is just that good. Roma was on the receiving end instant impact from the Columbian they haven’t been the first and they won’t be the last this season.

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