We have reached the midway point of the season in Italian football. Through the opening 17 games, Roma finds themselves in fourth place just one point away from 3rd and on the verge of putting themselves into the title race. This is not been something that Roma has done over the last couple of Seasons. Especially after last season in which Roma finished outside of the top three for the first time in years. Roma ended up in 6th Place last season and the club has tried to correct their shortcomings from the season before. So far it has worked this is a new looking Roma. The structure of the Club has completely changed the perception of what we expect. Daniele de Rossi left last season after 18 years as he has now in Argentina with Boca Juniors. Meanwhile, over the summer Francesco Totti quit as a sporting director due to the disconnect with the presidency. Roma opted to hire Paulo Fonseca. This was the most important thing in trying to change the culture that was left by the Roma Legend. Paulo Fonseca has changed Roma as this has been a more of an attacking team that we have seen in years. He signed a bunch of players that fit his system and for the most part, it has worked. No one in their right mind thought Roma would be on the verge of entering a title race given what happened last season. Roma lost Stephan El Shaarawy Kostas manolas and still has managed to keep things together. Roma has been one of the surprises of the season and they’re on the verge of potentially getting back into the Champions League this season. Roma like where they are but there’s a lot that needs to be done before the end of the campaign. Through the first 17 games, Roma has to like where their positions with a possibility of perhaps winning a trophy this season let’s look at some of the positives and negatives of this campaign that’s far.
Gianluca Mancini & Chris Smalling defensive improvements
One of the biggest issues from the last several seasons basically since Alisson Becker went to Liverpool. Has been Roma’s defense it has something that has held them back almost consistently last season. It didn’t help that Roma elected Robin Olsen as the one to replace Alisson in goal at the Stadio Olimpico. Robin Olsen a year removed from signing in Rome isn’t even at the club anymore. However defensively just in general, it has been an absolute mess over the last year. There were so many games in which Roma with a better defense would have performed at a much higher level. However, this season that isn’t a problem, in fact, that is one of their strengths this season it is night and day in comparison to what we saw from Roma defensively last season to what we are seeing so far this season. There is very little left from Rome with starting defense last season. Paulo Fonseca has completely changed everything about it. They signed Real Betis keeper Pau Lopez. Centre-back Gianluca Mancini from Atalanta and Chris Smalling from Manchester United. Those two signings, in particular, have completely changed the complexion of what Roma are capable of defensively Chris Smalling was told that he did not have a place in the Manchester United team that is so far from the top of the league right now they could use a player like him Manchester United it has been an utter disaster. Despite this prior to the season they sent Chris Smalling all alone to the Italian Capital. Since he has arrived he has been one of the best center-backs in the entire league. He is playing some of his best football we have seen in years. So much show Chris Smalling has fallen in love with the city and has agreed on a deal to remain in Rome after the season. The fee is still being negotiated between Roma and Manchester United but by the end of the month, Chris Smalling could be officially be signed by the club on a permanent basis. Chris Smalling has been absolutely sensational clearly one of the best players at the position in Italy. The partnership he has it linked up with Gianluca Mancini has been essential. Mancini arrived from an Atalanta team that went to the Champions League this season. His value going into the campaign was probably around 30 million. He has a triple his value he is at least a 65 million player. This season he has been the best center back in Europe. Even better than Virgil Van Dijk and that’s saying a lot. The way he is adapted into this Roma team has completely changed their defense. Even when they had injuries Gianluca Mancini was able to play defensive Midfield and do quite well. They are going to end up securing that deal after this loan for about 30 million which is a daylight robbery quite honestly could be one of the best signings of the entire season the two of them have combined together and changed the defense that still features Leonardo spinazzola who came in from Juventus Alessandro Florenzi and Alex Kolarov. The defense isn’t a problem anymore it is one of their strengths and this is one of the most positive things we’ve seen from this Roma team so far this season. If Roma can stop teams from scoring as they have what they can accomplish is truly remarkable.
Paulo Fonseca has been one of the biggest differences so far this season. If Roma had a different manager they may not be where they are. If the season ended today he would without question and be the manager of the season. I understand what Antonio Conte is doing at inter and I understand that Giampaolo Gasperini got Atalanta to the knockout stage of the Champions League. However, Paulo Fonseca has changed life in Rome. He is having more success at Roma than any of the previous managers this decade. It is early in his career at the Italian capital but you already see the progression with some players that have struggled last season, as well as everything, has changed within the club. Paulo Fonseca is a manager of an attacking Football Genius. His football is exciting efficient and very attacking minded. Despite this, it is not just the way he plays and how great Roma have been and attacking situations this season. It comes down to the signings he made. Paulo Fonseca didn’t go after the best players available. He went after players that would fit his football in Rome. The Portuguese tactician genuinely likes to play from the back in the 4-2-3-1 formation. Pau Lopez in a goalkeeper that has a reputation for doing exactly that. That is why he was signed. Lorenzo spinazzola attacking-minded right back that fits the style. The defensive midfielders he chose Jordan veretout and Diawara. You go down every player he signed from The Defenders midfielders to attackers. Every one he signed fits his style of football and this is a big reason why he’s had success. It’s not just that it’s his attitude he never complains never blame the officials and is always trying to make Roma better. He’s very quickly falling in love with the city and the fans and supporters have fallen in love with him. He’s attacking-minded football in the players that he has and uses it to their best abilities is a big reason why we Roma are surprising everyone this season. He got edin Dzeko who seems to be on his way out to re-negotiate his contract. Lorenzo Pellegrini and Justin kluivert, in particular, have progressed massively because of the way he is as a coach and a manager to them. Justin kluivert is the one, in particular, there were talks of potentially leaving this season he has turned out to be one of the better players for Roma the progression is made is absolutely astounding. Every player that has played under him this year has shown improvements. There are very few players that have struggled to fulfill their own potential. what he did at Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine was very impressive Paulo Fonseca has adopted similar philosophies that are working in Italy. He is a manager that is going to take Roma to their first title since 2001 I’m not saying it’s going to happen this season but when Roma wins the title he will be the manager that takes them there. Paulo Fonseca has changed the entire Outlook of Roma and is progressing them much faster than anyone expected him too.
There is Young Talent emerging all over the place in the Italian capital. Roma has done a really exceptional job this season and continues to improve each week under the brilliant Paulo Fonseca. Collectively as a team, they are just operating on a different level than what we have seen in the past. A large part of that is the emergence of their young Talent all over the squad. Roma has been given chances to young players in this team and they have thrived under the circumstances. Justin kluivert really struggled last season for game time and to make a real impact. Only scoring two goals all season. Despite the fact that the Dutchman had seven assists last year it was a very underwhelming campaign for a promising start from the Netherlands. Under Fonseca, Justin kluivert is a different type of animal. Not only has he been the most improved player this season he is the most explosive player on the entire team his pace and athleticism are a nightmare for any team to deal with. He has already five goals this season which is three more than he had last year. He has been a regular starter for the team one healthy and is getting time to develop into a superstar. Before too long he will be a superstar I might be in the minority here but it is my belief that Justin kluivert is the most talented youngster on the entire team with the biggest chance to be world-class. He has bought into the culture in Rome and has proven every single day why he has been so important to the team. Even when he doesn’t score he makes a huge impact because he’s almost impossible to control. When he has the ball at his feet he is the fastest player in the entire league. On that wing, he’s also being fed by Lorenzo Pellegrini who is on another level this season. Lorenzo Pellegrini maybe in his early twenties but he still a youngster and he is as good as anyone this season. He has missed time through injury but since he’s come back he’s been dropping dimes like it’s his job. I have made this argument a hundred times Lorenzo Pellegrini in the most valuable player in the league and he is the best midfielder in Italian football. I do not want to hear about Luis Alberto he gets a lot of assists but he doesn’t make the impact within the team that Lorenzo Pellegrini does at this point there’s not another midfielder that even comes close Lorenzo Pellegrini. Then we have Nicolo zaniolo who was last season’s young player of the year and he might win it again. Just like Justin kluivert he is already nearly surpassed his goals from last season he continues to show that he is a superstar already. With six goals already this season he has shown his unbelievable ability. The young zaniolo continues to show that he is indeed the real deal. He’s a player that has kissed the badge and has adopted the Roman culture. He has become one of us his loyalty has shown so far shows that he is one of the players Roma is building this team around. Diawara also is another player that Roma has developed Roma and has young Talent from everywhere. this group will grow together and we’ll win together just give them some time.