Roma already knew the league was over for some time but still held out hope for a top 4 place finish and entry into next seasons Champions League but that now looks in doubt after the Giallorossi lost their 8th game of the season.
Eight games just seems like too many to lose by this stage of the season if you have dreams of playing in Europe’s most elite competition but this is where Paolo Fonseca’s team stand.
Roma lost 2-0 at home to Napoli to record their 3rd defeat in 5 games and to make it back to back losses for the Giallorossi.
Dries Mertens was the thorn in Roma’s side as the player scored two goals within three first half minutes. The first was a sublime free kick and the second was from his head. That was Mertens sixth and seventh goals of the campaign and with 58 points so far the midfielder has the most of any Napoli player.
After the game Roma coach Paulo Fonseca was puzzled by the clubs slow start but saw encouraging signs in the second half, he said: “ This is not the way we wanted to play. We didn’t do anything in the first half because the team was lacking courage. We are all responsible, because when we are afraid of playing and afraid of losing, it becomes too difficult. The fact we saw the second half being completely different, that means it is a psychological issue and we could only really get going once we’d fallen behind. If the team was bad all the way through, I’d say we were incapable. If the team was bad in every game, I’d say that was an issue. The fact we had a totally different attitude in the second half means it is the mentality that was at fault.”
The worry for Fonseca is that his job could be on the line if the club do not at least finish in 4th place. The favourite person to step in if Fonseca is sacked looks to be Massimiliano Allegri who has taken some time away from the game and could be the perfect candidate.
To summarise Roma have 50 points and are 3 behind 5th place Napoli and 5 points adrift of Atalanta who now occupy the final Champions League spot. Five points isn’t the end of the world given that there are still 30 left to play for but Roma will be mindful that Napoli, who leap frogged them with this win also have a game in hand which just complicates matters further still.
Roma’s next game is after the international break where they will play 8th placed Sassuolo away from home. Whilst they are 11 points behind Roma they also have a game in hand and last season they beat Roma 4-2 in this very fixture. Indeed Roma have only beaten Sassuolo once in the league from the last four matches played.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan out of form but Roma’s best player
It’s clear as daylight that Henrikh Mkhitaryan looks like the shadow of the player that graced Serie A at the start of the season and one has to wonder if the midfielder is fatigued? Still he is the best player Roma have according to the fantasy Serie A points and he currently has 70 so far.
The Giallorossi will need his form to turn around if they have any hopes of finishing in the top 4. Mkhitaryan has been good value for money for the fantasy teams with his value at 7.5m and he has scored 9 goals which is very impressive from his position.
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