Roma 1-0 Udinese: What we learned


Ranieri imposing his imprint on Roma
He has been at the helm for barely a month, yet Claudio Ranieri has managed to impose his idea of football on this Roma side. Before his arrival, the Giallorossi were unorganised at the back and leaked goals at an incredibly high rate. Roma managed only five clean sheets in 26 league matches under Eusebio Di Francesco this season and were among the worst defensive sides in the top half of Serie A.

After defeating Sampdoria and Udinese in consecutive weekends by a score of 1-0, Roma managed to keep two clean sheets in a row for the first time all season, a mark which highlights their frailties at the back this campaign. While their attacking style has certainly been curbed, Roma’s work rate, pressing and compactness have dramatically improved. Ranieri’s first item of business was turning Roma into a compact, more defensively adept side, and while they have certainly had their share of problems since he‘s arrived, there’s no doubting Roma are improving.

Despite a likely summer exit, Edin Dzeko can still lend a big hand
Although he is one of the most prolific goal-scorers in the club’s history, the marriage between Roma and Edin Dzeko is likely to end this summer. The Bosnian’s contract expires in June 2020 and Roma have yet to hold talks on a contract renewal —- as all signs point to a summer exit for the Bosnian. Even though he is experiencing his worst campaign since his first season with the Giallorossi, Dzeko showed once again he still has plenty left in the tank as he scored Roma’s lone goal after a world class assist from Stephan El Shaarawy. He has only eight league goals to his name, but if the ex-Manchester City can regain his top class form, Roma may just sneak into the Champions League despite a disastrous season.

Roma have found their goalkeeper in Antonio Mirante
After selling Alisson in the summer to Liverpool, recently departed sporting director Ramon Monchi elected Robin Olsen as the heir to the Brazilian. Olsen enjoyed a strong start at Roma, however, his form took a nosedive in the winter months as he had a series of nightmare performances, which led to Ranieri dropping the Swede and opting for veteran Antonio Mirante. The move has indefinitely paid off as Roma look significantly more organised and reassured with the Italian at the back. Recent reports in Italy revealed Olsen has yet to learn Italian and that there were communication issues between he and his fellow defenders, which could, in part, explain some of the Giallorossi’s defensive problems this season. And after a strong performance against Sampdoria, Mirante was once again brilliant against Udinese, further cementing Olsen’s place on the bench.

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