Heading into last night’s game Roma were coming off a tough battle over the weekend in what was a 1-0 win over Lecce. A large part of that results was adjustments made in the second half as edin dzeko scored the winner. Yesterday’s a midweek fixture in the Europa League the Romans traveled to Austria to face wolfsberger. This was one of the teams that most people figured would finish at the bottom of the group. However they certainly put themselves in contention to advance through the group stage with an impressive win away In Germany against Borussia monchengladbach who they absolutely annihilated 4-0. A result that seem to shock the majority. Meanwhile Rome kind of did the same to Istanbul at the stadio olimpico in what was a 4-0 annihilation coming off a big second-half display. Top 2 of group J Battle it out in Austria on a Thursday night. Roma’s lineup looked a little bit different with a lot of the changes made due to some of the injuries they have faced over the last week. Edin dzeko Alex Kolarov Alessandro florenzi among others were rested for their game on Sunday. However Roma had more than enough to get the job done. It was a game that presented some difficulties despite having the bulk of the possession they found it difficult to finish in front of goal. However the Romans eventually broke through as Leonardo Spinazzola’s header found the back of the net to give Roma the 1-0 lead. Roma started to pick up some momentum in the second half at least it appeared that way in the very beginning. However wolfsberger despite losing possession battle had their moments. Michael Lindell struck an absolute screamer from outside the box giving the goalkeeper absolutely no chance to equalize. Roma tried to reopen the game and fueled some attacks with Justin kluivert and Nicolo zaniolo but it didn’t seem it was their night. It was a different Roma as they didn’t operate how they normally do. It ended up being a 1-1 draw as they split points in Austria they still stand at the top of the group but with that being said the presence of Pellegrini in the Roma’s Midfield was felt throughout the stadium as Roma were just a little off in what was somewhat of a battle against the austrians. Roma are still the favorites to win this group and in all likelihood they probably will but they’re certainly things Roma needs to do to put themselves in a better position going forward.
The Absence of Lorenzo Pellegrini
There was a lot of takeaways from Romans match yesterday but none was more evidence many absence of the Lorenzo Pellegrini. I’ve said this for a long time Lorenzo Pellegrini is Roma’s Most Valuable Player. The team operates at a different level when he is in the Roma’s Midfield. It doesn’t matter where he plays whether it’s in a defensive position or an attacking Midfield position. The intelligence and vision and passing ability of Lorenzo Pellegrini makes things easier for Roma. When he’s not there Roma have to recuperate themselves and try to find a different ways to recreate impact that Lorenzo Pellegrini provides. Even though I thought Javier Pastore did a good job it’s just not the same team when without Pellagrini. You can make the argument that he’s not the best player on the team but no players on Roma has more value within the results than Lorenzo Pellegrini. Quite simply he is irreplaceable you can use different situations and players in different spots to try to recuperate some of the impact that Lorenzo Pellegrini has on this team. Which can work as a collective but not a player on this team is capable of fillling the void that is left by Lorenzo Pellegrini. Last season Lorenzo Pellegrini faced a minor injury at one point in that time frame it was the worth stretch of the season. While Roma don’t need to panic because they have a much stronger team they did last year it is still something that is concerning. Watching that game yesterday if you really carefully analyzed it there was one thing that kept ringing in the back of my mind this team tonight is missing something. Lorenzo Pellegrini is not something you can replace but Roma need to find a way because when he is not in the mifild. It doesn’t operate to the same level as they are capable of tRoma can get results without but in big games will find things difficult. it’s going to be a problem when Genghis under and Diego perotti come back it will be alot smoother but there’s still that Gap in the Midfield. Without Pellegrini the Midfield can collapse that’s why I think he is probably the most valuable player in all of Italian football. I’m not suggesting he’s the best I would actually say he is the best player on Roma but it’s a close call his impact isn’t replaceable. Roma must find a way to use what they have. It’s not about putting up the numbers it’s about the impact he has within the knife of the game. Roma was clearly missing something yesterday without Lorenzo Pellegrini that is typically how this team is going to look. Paulo Fonseca will have a plan to address this but as we saw last night it’s not going to be easy.
Wolfsberger’s Strong Start to the Europa League
When the group came out most people assumed that wolfsberger would finish at the bottom of the group. However a large majority of the media and people in this industry I think of vastly overlook them. Wolfsberger it’s one of the top teams in Austria but never really has faced European competition before. They had little to no experience which is why it seems they have the underdog mentality on their shoulders. The lack of experience seems like it was going to be a difference-maker. It’s a club that has never been in the Europa League or the Champions leave the farthest they ever gone is to qualifying phase they were just happy to be here. However that is probably what was felt initially but once the games started they became a different type of team capable of getting through this group. This is not a particularly strong group but nonetheless seems like they have a good chance to come out of it. It’s only been two games we still have another four to go but based on what we’ve seen so far they have to feel good and encouraged by how they have done up to this point. They have proven that they can do it at home and away from home. They absolutely crushed Borussia in Germany. Then even though last night result was more or less about what Roma didn’t have they did what was necessary to get a point at home against the favorites to win the group. They could collapse collapse the next 4 games but it could not have started any better they are on the level with points with Roma even if they get out of the group it will be an incredible accomplishment given their lack of experience in this competition. We’ll have to wait and see if they get through but they got themselves in great position to do that with four points out of a possible 6 to start their European campaign.
Wolfsberger took Advantage of Limited Opportunities
Roma are without question be better team that’s not even a little close. The challenges that Roma enduor in Italian football is more antagonizing then anything that Wolfsberger can honestly imagine. Wolfsberger is one of the best teams in Austria but with that being said that type of qualities would not stack up highly in Europe’s top leagues. Wolfsberger we’re overmatched in this entire game but took advantage of their opportunities when it matters. Wolfsberger could have won the game I don’t think that would have been a Justified result but none the less you can make the argument that they did enough to do that. Roma dominated the line of play and had the bulk of the possession. There were times throughout this match in which wolfsberger have less than 30% possession. With that being said they took advantage of the possession they did have. Wolfsberger didn’t have a lot of possession but they came forward every time they had it they had opportunities and they took the one chance that guaranteed them a point. They got in position put the ball at the feet of their best player and he scored an absolutely special goal that decided the results. You can make an argument it was more about the lack of Lorenzo Pellegrini in the Midfield but nonetheless wolfsberger did more than enough to earn the points and put themselves in great position in the group.
Roma created enough chances to win this game. It didn’t come as fluid as it typically does given what they were missing in the midfield. You could also attribute to the lineup That was chosen and selected for this match with players getting rest. However they created more than enough chances to put this game away way earlier and maybe there would not have been a comeback. Wolfsberger took advantage of the few chances they had Roma had more than enough chances failed they failed to hit the target on a multitude of occasions. In front of goal they had far too many chances not to come away with the three points. Roma just failed to convert in front of goal Roma need to do better their finishing ability was just not up to par and you can make another argument that it was due to certain circumstances but nonetheless they couldn’t find the touches on a goal. The service may not have been there but Roma has to take advantage of those opportunities. They controlled possession for the large portion of the game so given that the ball is that their feet the majority of the time they have to find ways to be more effective with it. This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned it as an issue I don’t think it’s a major issue because Roma have so much talent within the squad and there are other glaring concerns that are more important. Their inability to have that killer instinct in to finish in front of goal is the difference between 1 & 3 points Roma are still at top of group but this was an unencouraging performance especially in the attacking sense. They just lacked that Killer Instinct it is a big reason why they were unable to get all three points.
Roma clearly had some issues yesterday in their Europa League match. However despite all the circumstances they still probably could have won this game. Paulo Fonseca is an absolutely brilliant manager when it comes to attacking football this Roma team is going to be very exciting and exceptionally good this season because of the impact he can have on a team. I don’t think he made mistakes tactically I think his team made too many mistakes in important situations. However I think he may have adjusted a little too late in the match where it seemed it was already over. After wolfsberger equalized I think Fonseca probably should have made changes. Just to give Roma spark that they seem that they were missing the majority of the game. I completely understand why he’s rested many of his key players because Roma want to get three points on Sunday before they head into the international break which is extremely important. However I believe Paulo Fonseca made his changes too late in the match. He brought on Jordan veretout late in the match I think it came a little too late. Edin dzeko was needed the late in the game also I think he would have been a good person to bring on just for the last 10 minutes. I was in favor of the adjustments he did make but I think the timing was just a little off.