In Naples it was the sign of destiny. It was the Maradona-Day. Chronicle of an announced disaster. The Europa League was almost a liberation, before the resumption of the league next Sunday. A victory that leads us to win the group with one round to spare. We are in the last 16 also thanks to the freshness of some young hopefuls.
Riccardo Calafiori showed off a high-level performance topped off with a fantastic goal. He had already glimpsed a lot of personality and character with Juve, even having suffered serious injuries. The boy will go a long way if bad luck stops haunting him. And then the Spanish Armada. Borja Mayoral in the first place. A lot of movement, spaces created for his teammates, strength and technique, also on the scoresheet.
Villar also made a good performance, tenacious as few to fight in the middle of the field. With Carles Perez moving along and creating upfront. In short, it was a nice Roma team of young people who redeemed the blackout at Napoli, then with the help of the senior players in the second half who helped to bring home the qualification.
If there was a physical-mental problem then it could have been a simple episode. Napoli are very strong, but Roma didn’t take the field. But now we need another good response to confirm this. Now, Sassuolo on Sunday. It will be a difficult match. They play very good football. If we want to have some ambition we must get up quickly to resume the journey. The group is there. The team as well. Let’s go and deliver. Head down and pedal. Daje Roma.
Fate. Destiny. Before even entering the field. Ibanez and Mancini not feeling well, Dzeko just back after Covid, Smalling out, with Veretout leaving the field too early. Miki doesn’t get one right, Pedro likewise, Spina preaching alone into the desert. Pellegrini is the shadow of himself, Mirante having a bad day, JJ and Karsdorp not good enough, with Cristante the handyman. That’s it. Total blackout.
It’s Maradona’s day. Insigne-goal display the N0.10 shirt was not even quoted by the bookies. In short, it was a disaster but at least a proper goodbye to the King. The Europa League will be almost a formality and then here comes Sassuolo on Sunday. It’s going to be a tough game. But we need to rise quickly to resume operations. And hope. Chin up. Forza Roma.
The usual Eurospin team breaks through Cluj and enters the last 16 of the Europa League, this time well in advance. Veretout in the second half to unlock the result, first with a free kick deflected into a goal by a Romanian player and then transforming a penalty that closes the match.
At the first half a not extraordinary but very orderly Roma had controlled the opponent without overdoing it. Cluj is the great disappointment of the group, Petrescu’s team is in a crisis of play and results, no longer that difficult team that gave anyone a hard time until last year. Roma have never risked anything, as in the first leg, they only expected the right moment to sink the opposition.
In the end another kind of training session, an opportunity to give a chance to some young players and to give some minutes of playing for those who, like Dzeko, had been missing for a while. In the end an easy victory that qualifies the team two rounds to spare. Now we need to catch our breath to get back important players.
The trip to Naples is almost a watershed, very important to understand how far this Roma team can go. But it arrives at the most dramatic and emotional moment for the city of Naples and for all world football. At the former San Paolo stadium, now the new Maradona stadium, there will first be a lot of emotion. For all that Diego Armando has represented, on and off the pitch. A football genius, controversial and unattainable figure. A bit like Muhammad Ali. Especially for those like myself who were lucky enough to meet him, see him play live and score a goal. However the game goes on Sunday this time only football will win. Really. Thanks Diego.
Super Roma. Another dominant display to dispatch Parma with ease. 45 mins was enough to seal victory. It could have been 4 or 5 nil. Mkyitaryan was superb, close to another hattrick. Without Dzeko and Smalling subs like Mayoral and Villar were able to deliver. Fonseca is getting things right. The players look focused, the team is playing like a team. The experience of Pedro is key, his winning mentality, many around around him feel more confident. We’re getting closer to the top. It’s a strange championship, wide open, anything is possible.
Dan and Ryan Friedkin, ever-present at the Stadio Olimpico, are also behind this new fresh start. Smart approach. Low profile, working underground. Little things but well appreciated. Like wearing the old crest. Meaning they are adamant to put things right, unite the fans first, get their backing. They were meant to stay only for a couple of weeks, they will stay right until Christmas. Well done.
Roma next challenge is the game at Napoli. Tough because they have lost badly to Milan. If they were problems with their coach Gattuso now it is a tinderbox. The death of Diego Armando Maradona means Napoli is in mourning, the game will be very emotional one, for the city, for football. In the meantime, we face Cluj away in Romania for Europa League, qualification not in danger, our priority is not to lose any players at this stage. Daje Roma.
Roma stunned Genoa by raising that famous bar that serves to look ahead with confidence. And it will certainly not be the negative outcome of the Diawara case appeal that will affect the team’s positive trend. Ultimately it is only one point. At the Marassi stadium we saw a Roma in great shape, overflowing in the first half. The team is doing well from a physical and mental point of view. A demonstration of strength and character thanks above all to exceptional performers like Miki and Pedro, who convey that desire to win that we haven’t seen for a long time. Mkhitaryan was bang on scoring an incredible hattrick.
At present, as already mentioned above, Roma must not be afraid of anyone and can play for the upper table of the league. The great concern and the great unknown comes from the virus. There are many players found positive in Serie A and among these there are also Roma players. In addition to Diawara and Calafiori, now also Dzeko, Pellegrini, Santon and Fazio. And there will probably be others in the long run. The situation is also worrying for the regular conduct of the championship, which remains at high risk.
It would be good if the protocols were respected by players and clubs, fair and loyal behavior is needed, respecting the rules dictated by the competent health authorities, but that they are also clear and realistic. We must set a good example, exemplary penalties for those who think are smart. It applies to everyone, for the good of all. The international break now risk becoming a boomerang, with related trips and so on. Definitely avoidable. Only united we can come come out of it Strength and courage.
The overwhelming win against Fiorentina had somehow told us that Roma cannot do without the first choices. Or at least can’t completely rely on the subs. This is what we got from the performances in the Europa League. If with Young Boys the result was then overturned in our favour, with CSKA instead we had to settle for the draw despite the changes. Fonseca’s tactic makes sense given the tight squad and the need to make a turnover, but by overturning too much the difference on the pitch was seen.
The game with Cluj saw some reserves again but with a different result this team. The most difficult match of the group became the easiest. The match wrapped up in half an hour, never in doubt. A resounding result. The Spanish Armada came about with Villar, Mayoral, Pau Lopez and Pedro. Villar shows off a great performance in midfield, such determination and courage. Borja Mayoral was a bit shy at first but then took advantage of the opportunities and scored a brace. As well as Pedro, lots of class and still on the scoring sheet. Pau Lopez continued to find confidence, even if not very busy. The other goals with the usual Miki after less than a minute and Ibañez, with the first goal in the Giallorossi shirt, and with another super performance in defense.
In short, it is a Roma team that now runs with the right mix. After the half misstep with CSKA there was a reaction. The team grows with the game and with self-esteem. We saw beautiful geometries, individual play and great determination. The group is there. Close-knit. Fonseca continues the positive streak and seems to be on the right track. We don’t get too excited but it’s okay to be positive. Roma does not seem inferior to anyone at the moment. We continue on the wings of enthusiasm. Europa League archived for the moment. We go to Cluj in late November. Serie A back on Sunday at Genoa. Need to raise the bar. Unfortunately Dzeko is out with the Covid so Borja will get his chance to show off again. Hopefully the kid will be able to deliver. Let’s go home with 3 points. Daje Roma.
Very solid win against the Viola. Another team, another performance from the dull game against CSKA. It is evident that Team B cannot replace quality even against weaker teams. So, after some scary minutes Roma went on to sweep aside the opponent. Could have scored four or five. The Giallorossi were just dominant. However, there would be some people to claim Fiorentina were so poor on the night. That’s true, may be the case because Roma did not allow them to play?
Fiorentina have a good squad to finish 6th or 7th for a Europa League spot. They might not have the same quality but they some good players like Milenkovic, Castrovilli and Amrabat, but also four strikers who can play upfront with Ribery, such as Callejon, Kuoame, Vlahovic and Cutrone! Roma have only Dzeko and the inexperienced Borja Mayoral. What if Fonseca had at least another one available at disposal?
Fonseca extends the unbeaten run but one could argue with a couple of signings this team can be improved maybe to battle for a Champions League spot. At the end of the day, Roma are there chasing the leading pack, knowing that at least three teams are better equipped. But if we believe there’s the chance, why not. With Juve and Inter out of the equation, Napoli are possibly the strongest up there, with Atalanta.
But we have seen it is a Covid League, with lots of variables, not all teams might be able to sustain all season. Milan are at our same level, and Lazio are to be seen if they can repeat last campaign at the same pace. So, here is this Roma team, a potentially strong outsider to can compete. Just a couple of good signings. Now once again with Team B against Cluj and Team A against Genoa next. Forza Roma.
Chris Smalling is back, on the pitch from the first minute. This is the positive news of the evening. For the rest nothing to declare, were it not that the many youngsters and reserves who went on to play. As with Young Boys. But it cannot be a mitigating factor. At the Olympic Stadium it’s the second match of the Europa League and it ends goalless, against the fifth in the standings of the Bulgarian championship, N.256 in the Uefa ranking, already defeated at home by Cluj. One of the weakest teams. Nevertheless, the Bulgarians play better and come close to scoring several times in a sensational way.
Same as in Switzerland, the new team do not start well, at the end making only 6 shots on goal, almost all in the last 20 minutes with the old boys in in the field such as Pedro, Pellegrini and Dzeko. Yet this time the Bosnian does not make his mark, guilty of an incredible mistake a few inches with the door unguarded, just minutes from the end. The turning point that supported Fonseca’s plan. It could have ended happily like in Switzerland, not a great performance but at least with 3 points in your pocket. Instead this time we only remember the bad display.
The Spaniards Borja Mayoral, and Carles Perez disappoint. Good enough Villar and Pau Lopez who saves Roma at least a couple of times. Spinazzola is really good on the wing but misses the final delivery. Bruno Peres again very poor and Karsdorp just awful when he enters in the second half. The Dutchman does the impossible to irritate. Luckily he had talked to the Friedkins about his future. The truth is that Roma need a reliable right-back in January. So, Bruno and Rick can go elsewhere. Borja Mayoral can be given time to settle in and understand Italian football, but the impression is that he’s not a sniper but one who needs to move around with space. He does not look to have the confidence and experience. Someone to regret Kalinic?
In the meantime, the team’s good performance at the San Siro was thwarted by a worrying performance. That said, the first team will return against Fiorentina. The feeling is it will be another Roma. Just like against Milan, However, the Viola are a bad customer and reckon they will create problems with Ribery. And they can boast three quality forwards such as Kuaome, Vlahovic and Cutrone. Amazing. Yet Roma needs to win this one. Lets do it. Daje!
Two controversial penalties ignored by the VAR review room affecting both teams. So incredible to ignore, to raise anybody’s eyebrows. All square in the end at the San Siro, a fair draw that keeps Milan at the top and gives Roma that extra boost to believe can compete with anyone. Edin Dzeko equalized just over 10 minutes later with a free header after Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted only after one minute into the game. Roma sloppy start was repetead again with an early lead again early in the second half through Saelemaekers, who was set up by an impressive Leao. Veretout eventually equalized from the penalty spot for a foul that should have been in Milan’s favour instead. Ibra then converted the penalty kick following another silly decision by the referee and the VAR until Kumbulla got the equalizer with little time remaining this time thanks to Ibra’ sloppy defending.
An entertaining match, yes, but also many mistakes on the pitch. Milan and Roma showed that Serie A is wide open this season. The Juve ruling can be considered over from now on. Off the pitch things aren’t as good. The shadow of Covid is there, players and staff are being affected every day. Things are so unpredictable at the moment that we are not so sure how things will unfold. Need to hope for the best. Meanwhile, we are onto another week of European competitions, Roma to face CSKA Sofia on Thursday. Daje!
Europa League. Fonseca takes a big risk with an overturned team with five Spaniards on the field plus Fazio, JJ and Bruno Peres resting many players in view of the match against Milan. A gamble. In fact, it then took to revert those changes to overturn a game that was going badly. Fonseca tried in the hope that the reserves could bring home the result anyway. But despite Pedro on the pitch, Roma did not create and never shot on goal in the first half, apart from an opportunity that came out of Carles Perez, the best of his team.
It seemed like another one of those sad games to forget, those like last year with Wolfsberg. Static and sloppy and above all never dangerous upfront. But then even Young Boys didn’t do much, it wasn’t for a ridiculous penalty given by the referee. Pau Lopez did not save it but kept a good guard this time. But at least he seemed safer in goal. Negative notes instead for those who have not played for a long time like Karsdorp, simply unpresentable. JJ seemed like a player at the end of his career, while Fazio still succeeds tackling in the air but not with the ball on the ground where he no longer finds neither times nor measures.
Villar and Cristante suffered from opposing pressure in the middle of the pitch, especially the first one who never caught it. Finally, Mayoral, also insufficient on his debut. He’s a centre forward who sweeps to look for gaps, not like Dzeko who wants the ball on his feet. Edin immediately took the reins of the game as he came in as great champions do. As well as Michi, Spinazzola, Veretout and Pellegrini. With the changes, the game immediately took another turn. But also thanks to Kumbulla, who withstood a painful defense and then also scored the winning goal.
Bruno Peres performance was also poor, but with the merit of the goal that leads to the equalizer on a great pass from Dzeko that puts him in front of the goalkeeper. In the end, Roma took home three precious points, saving some energy. So it is all good that ends well. Monday night in Milan with fresh forces and lots of motivation to play a great game, this time with the regulars from the start. Including Gianluca Mancini, false positive at the Covid test. Destination San Siro against league leaders Milan. It will be a real match, tough alright against an on-form team. Yet an opportunity to give a strong signal to the rivals. It can be a breakthrough. We can! Daje Roma.