Last night we saw one of the biggest matches in Italian football. A vital fixture between Atalanta and Roma in Bergamo. These two teams were separated by just three points in the Champions League race. A win for Atalanta would it take the home side six points clear potentially slashing any chance that Roma have at Champions League football next season. Roma coming into this game has suffered back-to-back losses from the middle of the table. Since the start of 2020 Roma have not been themselves as they have lost twice as many matches since January then the rest of the season. This was going to be an extraordinary challenge against an Atalanta team that might just do it again and Make Champions League for the second consecutive season after having not been involved in the competition in Club history. Atalanta has the League’s most dangerous attack and is capable of beating anyone on any given night. Especially being at home in Bergamo Atalanta went into this match as favorites. Despite this it was a make-or-break match for Roma if they fail to win this match their Champions League ambitions would have shrunk tremendously. Roma had a chance to get themselves back in contention. Even though Atalanta did control the majority of the first half it was Roma who took the lead near the end A mistake led to Edin Dzeko taking the ball from outside the box sliding it into the bottom corner to give Roma a 1-0 lead. Going into second half Roma had the momentum and confidence to take this match all the way to the end with a possibility of getting a really massive Victory away from home. Roma’s performance in itself was much improved to what we had seen from this team the previous two weeks. They didn’t really look like a liability defensively and Paulo Fonseca made some changes that seem to be working. However Atalanta are comeback Kings and they managed to pry their way back into it. Early in the second half Palomino stuck his foot out at the far post coming off a corner to equalize. Before they knew it Roma was behind. Pasalic came off the bench and within 19 seconds he curled home a wonderful strike that gave Atalanta a 2-1 lead. It was the second fastest goal from the substitute in league history. Roma try to orchestrate a way back but mistakes were made down the stretch that contributed to the results. Paulo Fonseca took out Roma’s most explosive player Justin kluivert out of the game. Even though Roma came close on a couple of opportunities it was too little too late as Roma drop their third consecutive game in a 2-1 loss to Atalanta in Bergamo. Atalanta opened up a six-point lead in the Champions League giving Roma very little hope it seems like Roma’s route to the Champions League must come through the Europa League as this team seemingly has hit a brick wall and has been unable to overcome it as the club is dealing with their worst stretch of the entire season.
Atalanta Can win the League next season
One thing in particular stuck out of my mind after the match yesterday. Atalanta has gone a tremendous way from where they come from to where they are now. It looks like they’re going to make champions league for the second consecutive season. Which would be an accomplishment within itself the sky is the limit for this team. They play Valencia in the Champions League round of 16 there is a possibility at the very least they can get to the quarter-finals. Once you reach that point anything can happen. Atalanta is capable of winning the league title over Inter Milan and Lazio. Player for player they are the second best team in the league behind Inter Milan. Their roster top to bottom has more quality then Lazio and arguably Juventus. They have players at every position that express quality. Last night was just another display of why this team is capable of winning the whole thing. It obviously will not happen this season but with some more depth they could compete for the scudetto and this time it wouldn’t just be a hopeless dream. They are capable of winning the league title next season. A lot of people have compared them to Leicester city in England. The difference is clear Leicester city was a team that came out of nowhere and won the league title after almost being relegated the year before. Atalanta was coming and everybody knew it. They had finished fourth to just a few seasons earlier before their historic top-three finish last season. They have one of the best coaches in Europe and Gianpaolo Gasparini who is changing the perception of the football club. They have attacking options with Luis Muriel Duvan Zapata and Josip Ilicic. They have goals for days they have scored 63 goals in 24 games this season they are the League’s the best attack and it’s not particularly close. On top of that they have quality within the Midfield with Remo freuler and Papu Gomez and enough quality in the back line and the goalkeeper to win the title if this team adds some depth they could win the league title next season as crazy as that may sound. In terms of building a champion they are Miles Ahead of Roma and AC Milan even Lazio despite their league positioning. If Atalanta is able to hold on to all these players this will not be out of the question. After a brilliant display against Roma this team should be building towards the Scudetto. They came from a goal down to beat Roma as they sweep the season series of one of the biggest clubs in Italy if that doesn’t prove what they’re able to do I don’t know what will.
Roma’s Champions League takes Hit
Roma skid only continued as the team has now lost three consecutive games. They have more League losses since January then the months before leading up to that. Even though they made some improvements in this match and didn’t look as sloppy as they had two previous two weeks they just continue to slide down. Champions league is now looking like an afterthought it is going to be really difficult to get back into it. I’ve mentioned this several times over the last couple weeks and I’m going to mention it again. The Christmas break really affected the momentum the players had. To start 2020 they’ve had almost all winnable games and they have failed to live up to it. They have struggled significantly in fairness they have dealt with injuries over the last couple weeks as well as suspensions but there’s no excuse for the lack of results. They have yet to recreate the form that they showed prior to the break. They were unbeaten in nine games and only a few losses in the league since January they have lost four league matches. Unfortunately with this loss they now find themselves six points separation from Atalanta who are on 4th Place they will have to find a way to get back into it before it’s too late. Champions League through the league is now looking like more of a dream than an expectation. The expectation going into the season was for the team to make Champions League football this season. We have a huge problem on our hands as the League’s best attack Atalanta will not drop points all that frequently in an order for Roma to get into the top four they’re going to have to perform and depend on others to help them. The expectations were that this team was good enough to make the champions league and I think they are good enough to make it the problem is they’re not playing well enough together and there are slipping at the wrong time. They could have picked up victories and several other previous games. They just can’t seem to find their footing this season winning the Europa League does seem It will be their best way to make the Champions League it just doesn’t seem like there’s a way back into it after the loss this weekend. They played a really good match against them but they were just beaten by a better team. The performance got a lot better but this doesn’t help them all that much. the winter break broke them and they’re finding it difficult to recover it’s unclear whether they can find a way back into the Champions League race I’m not going to declare this over but it does seem like there’s writing on the wall. It’s a long season but six-point difference is going to be incredibly difficult to overcome The Europa League will be their best shot.
Taking out Justin Kluivert
Atalanta were the better team and there’s no question about it that they deserved to win the game. However even with that being said certain circumstances led to the victory after Roma had conceded their second goal in the second half Paulo Fonseca made a massive mistake. The Roma manager did a really good job putting this team and better position to win. It was a much-improved performance from the Romans. Despite this one fatal adjustment may have cost them points last night. Justin kluivert is Roma’s most explosive player on the team and in the first half Atalanta we’re having a really difficult time trying to deal with they super athletic Dutchman who is a fright to score when he has space and time to operate with the ball at his feet he may just be the fastest player in the league. Roma had just conceded the second goal and Paulo Fonseca took out Justin kluivert which was a catastrophic error in that moment. Taking him out could have cost them the results. Carlos Perez entered the game which was a smart tactical move but at the expense of Justin kluivert was the wrong idea. What Roma needed was Justin kluivert and Carlos Perez together. It would have given Roma a much more explosive Dimension. Even though it has frustrated me over the last couple of weeks I do still believe he can get the best out of this team and get them back on track. However in this game I think taking out Justin kluivert proved to be crucial as it appeared to largely impact the result. Paulo Fonseca still has my support but if things don’t start changing and things like this happen more frequently he won’t have it for that much longer. Paulo Fonseca has to figure out a way to get Roma back playing the way they were before they hit the brakes things like this cannot be a regular occurrence or Roman will be in trouble.