Last night Roma got through Gent to advance to the round of 16 in the Europa League. Going into the match yesterday Roma had won back-to-back games against Gent in the first leg and a dominating performance against Lecce at home. Prior to these results Roma were really struggling with confidence and momentum as they saw their Champions League Ambitions starting to slip. Victories came at exactly the right time as Roma have played the last couple games with a little bit more confidence. In the first leg between these two teams Roma managed to not concede an away goal which proved to be important in this matchup despite not having a great performance they got the result that they needed as they managed to get the job done over the two legs. It was a tough fought match up in Belgium yesterday. It was somewhat familiar to how the first game went when these two teams went head-to-head in Rome. Roma ended up getting the results but did not play to their best. Roma had their moments but overall at least for a good portion of the match they were outplayed by the hosts and if it wasn’t for a quick turnaround in the first half the match could have gone very differently. Jonathan David Gent’s star player was completely shut out during the first match up as he didn’t even register a shot on goal. In this matchup it was completely different as he got his feet from underneath him and prove to be a threat on many occasions. He ended up opening the game with a goal that kept things level in the tie. Unfortunately for Gent Justin kluivert and henrikh mkhitaryan connected as Roma’s young star stuck the ball in the back of the net as Justin kluivert gave Roma an important away goal. Gent would needed two more goals to advance through to the round of 16 they wouldt get it Despite that Gent had a truckload of opportunities to put their stamp on the game. Much like the first matchup they wasted far too many chances which really has been the downfall in the two games. Gent came close on several opportunities and Roma defended them really well. it was going to be an uphill battle regardless especially after Rome scored the away goal but the Belgium side it did not help them self with the lack of conviction that they had in front of goal. There were several occasions in which they should have scored. even with some late chances it was too little too late for the Belgian side and they fall just short as Roma win over the two games to 2-1 on aggregate as they clinched a spot in the round of 16 with the opportunity to go on a Deep Run in this competition as their European Journey continues. They have drawn Sevilla in the round of 16 something we will discuss later. Roma may not have been great over the two games but they’ve done what is necessary to keep this going.
Defense Issues Fixed
Roma has made incredible progress an improvement when it comes to defense. Roma’s number one issue last season with the amount of goals they conceded on a regular basis. Now part of that was Robin Olsen’s inability to perform but nonetheless it was something that held them back a majority of the Season which could have contributed into their sixth-place finish last year. This year the entire complexion of a defense changed they signed Gianluca Mancini and got Chris Smalling on loan these two deals changed everything. All of a sudden the defensive play from Roma became a strength not a weakness. It has been one of the positive things that Roma have done this season However there have been moments where they have started to lose it a little bit. Roma went on a three-game losing streak and a stretch where they didn’t have a win in 5 games. A large part of this was their defense started to struggle. The defensive approach was horrible against Sassuolo and Bologna. Roma had no confidence whatsoever and the lack of defensive performance was a big reason why. They got away from what they do best which was a big problem and ultimately lead to the losing streak. Roma now have won two of the last three games even though only one of those wins came in Serie A Roma. Only conceded one goal in their last three games it seems like the defense has gotten back to playing at a high level. It was a unbelievable defensive performance in the first leg against a gent which is a big reason why they did not have an away goal in these matches. Gianluca Mancini and Chris Smalling are back at their best and Kolarov has played more frequently the last several games which also could have contributed into the way they have been playing defensively. Roma must learn from their mistakes and make sure that they avoid the way they played during the losing streak. If they can continuously defend well this entire season and in the Europa League they would have a good chance of going deep in the competition and trying to fight their way back into the Champions League race. They have great attacking options so if Roma can fix the defensive issues and play more like they have the last couple of games will have a great chance of turning this around .
Justin kluivert saves the day
Justin kluivert saved the day once again as the young Dutch star comes up in the clutch in the biggest moment of the European season so far for Roma. There was one thing that was abundantly clear ahead of this matchup Roma needed to get an away goal at all costs. There was a growing belief that gent at home was going to be much more aggressive and difficult. In case things got chippy Roma needed an away goal to bail them out if it came to that. After Jonathan David’s goal things were all tied up in the matchup. It took a Justin kluivert strike to break it down and ultimately take them to Victory. Away goals are incredibly precious and Roma will have to have the ability to do that throughout the rest of the campaign in this competition. Roma have Ambitions to win the Europa League it may be the only path to get Champions League football next season. Roma have to figure out the best way to do that. Justin kluivert in that moment it was not too big for him he understood the importance and delivered just minutes after Roma had conceded a goal. Justin kluivert hadn’t started that many games over the last couple weeks he hasn’t been at his best since his injury around Christmas time. The young Star is starting to get that momentum back. He is as talented as a prospect as any player in all of Italian football. Nicolo zaniolo without question has the highest ceiling however Justin kluivert is easily the most talented player on the team. The way he can play and the type of impact he can Infuse on a team has been exactly what Roma needed. He has made drastic improvements since last season. He is incredibly athletic and Ultra explosive with Carles Perez and Justin kluivert the team have a potential to be something special especially in the attack that wasn’t their best performance but Justin kluivert came through when he needed to. He has the potential to be a great player for Roma for years to come. He seems to love playing for the club and the city and he could play a big role in the future that Roma are building. The young talent that Roma have to their disposal is unbelievable and he is a part of that building block. In a match like this on a stage like this the lights were not too bright Justin kluivert when he got that opportunity converted. The pitch was not overly impressive in fact it was a very hard to play on despite the conditions when he had his chance he converted that goal set them through to the round of 16. Mkhitaryan may have set him up but it was a complicated finish because of his ability to finish Roma are on their way to the round of 16
Jonathan David needs A Summer Move
To a certain extent Gent shot themselves in the foot on two different occasions. In both games a lack of a Killer Instinct and it Finishing Touch in front of goal as what was their downfall. They just didn’t have the clinical finishing ability required to beat a Roma team that was not at their best. Gent has everything required to go deep in competitions like this because of the style of football they play and their ability to get the ball forward. However if the finishing ability does not change they could have a problems on their hands. Jonathan David is the team’s best player he has the potential to reach some real Heights in World football. While he is not in the Elite Class of youngsters as of yet he has the potential to be exactly that. Jonathan David it’s just 20 years old in two seasons he has 37 goals 23 this season. He is likely to break 30 goals before the end of the year. You see the potential in the Canadian International. He has the ability to become a superstar in the right situation. He was the best player on the field yesterday not only did he score the goal in the draw but he came close on several opportunities. The wasted chances was a collective effort. Jonathan David was slightly part of that. Even with that being said he has done more than enough thus far to earn a bigger move. This was a good transition playing for Gent certainly will have helped him in the long run but it is my belief that he is proving more than enough for a bigger Club and a bigger League. While he is not at the level of Real Madrid Barcelona teams like that he certainly has earned the right to prove himself in one of Europe’s top leagues whether it’s Italy which would be my preference England or Spain he has all the tools and intangibles to become a star. I just don’t see that happening if he stays put. He doesn’t necessarily need to make this move in the summer but Jonathan David should be looking for a bigger move a potential stepping stone for bigger and better things. Even though he did not play particularly well in the first game in the second game you see all the qualities that he certainly has. He has Superstar potential written all over him with the ability to be the featured player for the Canadian national team after being named player of the year for Canada in 2019. Showing his ability and European competition there are certainly going to be clubs out there who are interested. In 13 matches in the Europa League he has scored five goals he’s a team top scorer and is a big reason why the club find themselves in second place in the league. Jonathan David should sincerely evaluate his options at the end of the season whether it’s this year or next year he needs to be playing in one of Europe’s top leagues playing in Belgium has been a good experience for him but after seeing him play this season he certainly ready and prepared for the next step he has what it takes he has earned a move into one of the bigger leagues it will only help his development as a star Belgium have been important to him but it’s time for that next step.