Sarri edges closer to Roma head coach and best performers of the club so far

Former Chelsea and Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri has edged closer to becoming the new coach for Roma according to reports.

Of course Paulo Fonseca is still in charge of the Giallorossi but it is as clear as daylight that if the club do not qualify for the Champions League then Fonseca will lose his job.

Currently Roma are in 6th place and are 5 points behind 4th place Atalanta. All is not lost but it has become increasingly clear that the club are struggling of late and have lost 3 games from their last five, this includes losing their last two in a row. Apart from Atalanta the Giallorossi will also be battling with Napoli and the emerging Lazio for 4th.

It is thought that Sarri has conducted talks with Roma and that it is now in an advanced stage. With Sarri’s extensive experience this could be a great move for Roma. There are also rumours that Fonseca just can’t win given that he may be replaced even if the club end up in the top four. This is a story that could run for the next 2 months so watch this space.

Roma’s best performers so far in 2020/21

Domestic football has taken a two week break for internationals but the action returns this weekend. Roma will play Sassuolo away from home. Whilst Fonseca’s side will be the favourites to win that game looks tricky and could be very close.

With the break in place we haven’t seen any action for 14 days so we will take a look at the best performing players for the club so far.

- Henrikh Mkhitaryan with 70 points is the best overall player for the club so far. He has scored 9 goals and assisted in another 8. He started the season in brilliant form although faded in the middle. Despite Roma’s recent woes he has played some good football and will be hoping to finish the season in style.

- Lorenzo Pellegrini is a superb player when he is on his game. The one worry is he hasn’t been consistent enough but he usually steps up for the big games. His value is worth 7m and he has been involved in 10 goals so far with 6 of those coming from assists.

- Special mention should go to Rick Karsdorp in defence because with 36 points he is ranked as the best Roma defender. His value is just 5m so he would have been a real bargain this season and he has assisted in 5 goals and even scored one. The important statistic for him though is always going to be clean sheets and he has managed 8 so far.

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Roma fall 5 points from Champions League qualification with back to back defeats

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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Inter head towards Serie A title without kicking a ball as Juventus stall

Inter did not play at the weekend as their game with Sassuolo had to be called off because of a recent outbreak of Covid-19 within the Inter squad. After tests on Monday it was revealed that Inter now has a clean bill of health but the game had to be postponed as a measure of safety.

There would be good news and bad news for Antonio Conte’s side this week. With no game they could sit back and watch how Milan and Juventus fared, the only two clubs now who could take the Serie A title away from them.

Milan looked like they were going to draw away to Fiorentina but they won 3-2 in a thrilling game and that was the disappointing news of the weekend as Milan are now just six points behind. However of course Inter has an extra game to play. But the great news from Inter’s perspective was that Juventus lost.

It was the Old Lady’s 4th loss of the season and it was a shock as it came at home to Benevento in a game that finished 1-0. Juve had 23 goal attempts and Benevento only had 1 shot on target for the goal the whole game. Media in Italy have said that’s it for Juventus and their title chances and the club has now fallen 10 points behind Inter and played the same games.

The postponement of the Sassuolo game means that Inter will have had a 3 week break until their next game which is against Bologna away from home. Although all of Inter’s players will be involved in the up and coming international matches over the next 10 days or so.

Best performing players for Inter

Let’s take a look at the best performing players for Inter so far as they try to win an historic league title. We will look at the best positions.

Goalkeeper: Samir Handanovic 51 pts

Samir Handanovic has been the regular goal keeper and has started 27 games keeping 10 clean sheets. He has managed to keep clean sheets on 37% of his appearances so far. He is currently the number 1 ranked goalkeeper in Italy and overall ranks in at number 9 over Europe’s major leagues. Three from his last five games has seen the shot stopper keep clean sheets.

Defender: Achraf Hakimi 63pts

Hakimi is 8 points ahead of the next Inter defender Milan Skriniar. Hakimi reminds one of an all round player much like the Real Madrid great and indeed former Inter player Roberto Carlos in that he isn’t afraid to come forward and score goals. His stats are fantastic and Hakimi has been involved in 10 goals in the league so far scoring six times. His value is just 7m and he has been one of the best players in Serie A this season.

Midfielder: Nicolo Barella 38pts

For all of Inter’s greatness this season it has to be said that their midfield talent at least for obtaining points has not been their strongest. Still Nicolo Barella has had great moments this season. He isn’t ahead on the most assists but he has still set up 5 goals and he has also scored a further three. His value is 7m.

Striker: Romelu Lukaku 88pts

Some people will claim that Romelu Lukaku has stiff competition as Inter’s best striker from Lautaro Martinez but that simply isn’t true. While Martinez is a brilliant striker and will get even better at this moment Lukaku is Inter’s number 1 and there can’t be any doubts about that. Lukaku is currently 23 points ahead of Martinez and has scored 5 goals more and has 19 currently. He has also assisted in a further 8 goals and is simply having his best season as a professional player. Lukaku ranks 2nd in Italy behind Cristiano Ronaldo and overall ranks in at 4th. His value is 10.5m.

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Champions League blow for Roma as they lose seventh game of the season

Roma might not make the Champions League after losing their seventh game of the season at the weekend. Roma lost away to Parma 2-0 and there would have been frustrations given that the Giallorossi played well and created many chances.

The result has left Paulo Fonseca’s side in 6th place and they are currently two points behind Atalanta in 4th. The worry could come from Napoli though who have jumped in front of them and have an extra game to play.

The Giallorossi were a goal down inside 10 minutes and didn’t stop to battle to try and come back but they simply did not have the luck on their side. In the end Roma were arguably the better side and actually had 20 goal attempts in the end but didn’t matter and you have to accept that some games just don’t drop fairly.

The Parma defeat felt like a surprise and whilst Roma’s objectives of finishing in the top four are still on this result has made it more awkward.

Roma coach Fonseca said after the game: “We should have scored earlier. It was a good start, we had a situation with Edin Dzeko, then the first time they got near our area, they scored a goal. A team that wants to be in the Champions League cannot concede those goals. That was a lack of concentration. Parma scored, then they were able to clam up.”

Fonseca continued: “We cannot concede a goal like that. It changed the game and Parma were then allowed to control the tempo. We conceded an avoidable goal and struggled to create chances, which is pretty inevitable when we don’t move the ball quickly enough and the opposition is able to sit back. We improved once Bryan Cristante came on, but he has played almost every game this season, he needs rest. Dzeko worked for the team, he made the right movements, but he wasn’t getting the right service. It’s not an issue of individuals but of the collective.”

Roma’s next game is against Napoli at Stadio Olimpico and what a duel that promises to be as it is 5th v 6th.

How many Roma players are in the top Serie A fantasy standings?

The fantasy standings are a unique way of telling us which players are performing the best this season. For Roma though only 2 players have made the top 30.

Position No. 4. Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Mkhitaryan has been Roma’s best player so far and has amassed 70 points. Given that he cost 7.5m then that is fantastic value if you had him in your team. The attacking midfielder has dropped off sometimes this season but has also been very solid and confident at times. He has contributed 17 goals for the club in the league and scored 9 of them and this has been a successful season for the player so far.

Position No. 12. Jordan Veretout

Jordan Veretout has shown some good signs in the last few weeks but he started the season in explosive style which has helped his points standing. Veretout has 54 so far and is edging nearer to being in the top 10 players of the season in Serie A. So far he has scored 10 goals but would probably want more assists to his name as he has just 2 at this time.

We would have to go back to 37th place for the next Roma to pop up and that is Lorenzo Pellegrini who has really come on in recent months and been an influential player for the Giallorossi. Pellegrini currently has 38 points.

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Roma lose touch with Milan and let Juventus into 3rd place

The clash of this past weekend in Serie A was Roma against Juventus, it was also 3rd vs 4th and Roma came off as second best. Had Roma won the favour for both Milan teams at the top would have been immeasurable. Instead champions Juventus found a way to win and Roma fell 9 points behind league leaders Milan.

Juventus won 2-0 through an early Cristiano Ronaldo goal (that was his 16th of the season in the league) and then later on in the second half there was an unfortunate own goal by Ibanez which wrapped up the game for the old lady.

Alvaro Morata set up Ronaldo for the games first goal as he passed the ball to Ronaldo who was on the edge of the box and with a trademark shot Ronaldo had scored yet again. It is very clear in everyone’s minds that the Portuguese star wants to be top scorer this season so he can have claimed that feat in England, Spain and now Italy, and what a record that would be.

As for Roma, Paulo Fonseca’s team had plenty of possession in the first half but didn’t do anything with the ball in the final third and Juventus defended very well. By half time it didn’t feel like a surprise to see that Roma had not registered any shots on target, Juve ended the half with 3 shots.

In the second half it was quite a dire affair mostly because of the excellent Giorgio Chiellini who was like a rock in the Juventus defence and even if Roma did start to create some chances they never looked like coming back.

The usual match winners for Roma Borja Mayoral and Henrikh Mkhitaryan had bad games but at the same time that only happened because they were marked out of it. Juventus showed their superiority in every way and this was most probably the weekend that confirmed that Roma will not be winning this league this season.

Paulo Fonseca had this to say after the game, “We did well for most of the game and mustn’t forget we were up against Juve. They defended well the numbers are numbers, but the team that scored the goals ended up winning. If you look at the statistics, we had more shots, more corners, more possession, more passing, but Juventus scored the goals.”

Roma are now in 4th place and have 40 points and that was the Giallorossi’s 5th loss of the season, they are 9 points behind league leaders Milan. Roma will play Udinese at home this Sunday.

Robin Olsen set to leave Roma?

Robin Olsen is hoping to leave Roma and says he is even crossing his fingers about a move away to Premier League team Everton. This has followed his impressive performances with the Merseyside club and he looks to have ousted Jordan Pickford for the time being. Olsen is having a great time with Everton and of course getting game time. At Roma that doesn’t look like a possibility and the player is hoping for a full transfer at the end of the season.

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Juventus knock Inter out of the Coppa Italia as Conte clashes with Juve president

Inter are out of the Coppa Italia after their 2nd leg semi-final clash ended 0-0 against Juventus. The first leg was won by Juventus 2-1 and so Juventus have made the final.

After the final whistle though it appeared that Inter coach Antonio Conte had raised his middle finger to Juventus officials, some have pointed out that it was directed at the Juventus president. However there have been claims that Andrea Agnelli swore at Conte and tensions boiled over.

The game itself had its moments but as the time ran down and Inter who needed to attack more got few chances the writing looked on the wall that they wouldn’t be able to conjure up a great comeback. The game as a whole felt level and even though Inter had created 18 goal chances only 4 of those were on target.

In the early exchanges as expected Inter attacked and Lautaro Martinez felt he should have had a penalty but it was waved away. Soon after Romelu Lukaku came close with a thundering header which wasn’t too far off of its target. With nine minutes of the game to go Achraf Hakimi who has been very impressive in attack even if he is a defender came close to scoring with a superb shot and had that gone in it would certainly have changed the complexion of the game and we would have been in for quite an exciting last 10 minutes or so.

Inter coach Conte had this to say after the game, “ We paid for the first leg, for some gifts we gave them. We tried to score until the end, because with one goal, they would have had more difficulty. I’m sorry because these are matches that are played in 180 minutes. Today we tried in every way with desire and determination. You make mistakes you have to learn from mistakes and then start over and try again.”

While the disappointment of going out of the cup at the semi-final stage has dampened spirits throughout the Inter squad they will now have to refocus for their next league game at the weekend and it won’t be easy as it is against Lazio.

As for the league the title is still on and Inter are in 2nd place on 47 points and just 2 points behind Milan who keep winning. Last weekend Inter recorded their 14th win of the season from 21 games played as they beat Fiorentina 2-0 away from home.

Nicolo Barella opened the scoring for the visitors after an Alexis Sanchez pass and his curling shot from the edge of the area was a stunner. That was Barella’s third goal of the season.

Early in the second half Ivan Perisic made it 2 after Hakimi broke free down the right wing and squared it to Perisic who was unmarked and it was an easy slot in. Lukaku missed a few good chances but this was a game that was never in doubt and Fiorentina were quite toothless.

Inter’s will play Lazio next on Sunday evening at San Siro while Milan are away to Spezia a day earlier.

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Roma score 3 goals in 9 minutes against Verona to keep up title charge

It only took Roma 9 minutes to effectively finish off and win their 12th game of the season against Verona at Stadio Olimpico and the Giallorossi will maintain their hunt for the Scudetto.

The goals started from the 20th minute when Lorenzo Pellegrini’s corner found the head of Gianluigi Mancini. Mancini was 12 yards from goal and his header in fairness was not powerful, though it was directed well and see to evade Verona’s defenders and the keeper and Roma were in the lead.

The Giallorossi then doubled their lead just 120 seconds later with Verona’s defence stretched out after a quick counter attack. Marco Silvestri in goal for the visitors made the mistake to come far too out and Borja Mayoral who has been on good form for Roma almost had a clear chance. Mayoral though was sent wide but spotted Henrikh Mkhitaryan unmarked and in a better position. With Silvestri all over the place and gaps galore Mkhitaryan who had gone off the boil somewhat in the past few weeks slotted in to score his 9th goal of the season.

Roma could not believe their luck when seven minutes later they had made it 3-0. Again from a corner the ball found Pellegrini on the edge of the area who lashed his shot but the ball came off of Silvestri and fell to Mayoral right in front of him who was given a gift and didn’t fail to disappoint.

It was a first half dominated by Roma and it ended 3-0. In the second half Roma had a few chances to get a fourth but Silvestri in goal for Verona who had had a nightmare first 45 minutes showed his qualities and put in a very solid 2nd half performance.

Towards the end Roma who knew they had won this game just tried to dictate the pace and it was clear that the match was petering out. However Verona did get a consolation goal when Roma had appeared to switch off a little, the goal was from a breakaway and headed in by Ebrima Colley.

It was a well deserved victory by Roma and they are 3rd in the league behind Milan and Inter and have 40 points.

Fonseca and Dzeko update

It’s no secret that Roma coach Paulo Fonseca and Edin Dzeko have fallen out. Last week Dzeko was isolated and sent to train on his own. However after a possible move to Inter falling through on deadline day Dzeko will remain with the club. Fonseca and Dzeko have had a meeting since and Dzeko is set to rejoin the rest of the group and could even play this weekend when Roma take part in a huge game against Juventus.

Player focus: Lorenzo Pellegrini

Lorenzo Pellegrini started the season slowly but in the last 2 months has really picked up and become an integral part of this Roma side. He has been involved in 9 goals and scored 4 and assisted in another 5. Pellegrini so far has 33 points in the fantasy rankings and is the 3rd best ranked player for Roma. He is currently the 11th ranked player in the whole of Serie A for his position, and his value is 7m.

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Cristiano Ronaldo double hurts Inter in Coppa Italia as league chase remains on

Inter were the odds on favourites to beat Benevento this past weekend and they made no mistakes in winning the game 4-0 at San Siro.

Lautaro Martinez was among the scorers and Romelu Lukaku grabbed a brace in an easy win. The opening goal of the game came from an own goal though as Ivan Perisic’s free kick in swinging cross was met by Benevento’s Riccardo Improta who prodded home quite superbly to give Inter the lead. It was unfortunate but the early goal set the game up for Inter.

Inter played with a high intensity in the first half but some how managed just 1 shot on target the whole half as Benevento were happy to defend and created no chances themselves. Indeed it would be a game where the away side would not have a shot on target. The first half ended 1-0 to the home side.

Inter came out for the 2nd half even more fired up and it was little surprise that they doubled their lead in the 57th minute through Martinez who had been lively the whole game and saw an earlier effort ruled out for offside. This time his shot was precise and placed and at 2-0 the game was effectively over before the hour mark.

Ten minutes later a terrible mix up in defence for Benevento saw the ball fall for Lukaku who made no mistakes in scoring, it was such an easy goal that the Belgian didn’t even feel the need to celebrate. And soon after it was 4-0 and again it was Lukaku latching onto a ball in the area and scoring a very similar goal to his first. Lukaku now has 14 goals in the league and is only one behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

Christian Stellini in charge of Inter

Following Inter coach Antonio Conte’s sending off in the Udinese match which ended in a 0-0 draw assistant coach Christian Stellini was in the dug out and on press duties for this game and he will also be in charge when Inter face Fiorentina away from home in their next game.

Eriksen and Sanchez stay at Inter

A U-turn has been made by Inter and they have decided to keep both Christian Eriksen and Alexis Sanchez at the club for now. Eriksen was said to not fit into Conte’s plans but since December Conte has found a role for Eriksen and the player has responded and is in good form. As for Sanchez he seemed he was off to Roma in a swap deal for Edin Dzeko but at the eleventh hour that was called off. Indeed Sanchez played in the win over Benevento and even assisted in a goal.

Ronaldo scores a brace to give advantage to Juventus in the Coppa Italia

Inter are in trouble after losing the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final against Juventus at home. Inter took the lead in the game but eventually lost 2-1 thanks to two goals from that man Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lautaro Martinez who is in form opened the scoring when he got in front of his marker but Ronaldo converted a penalty and scored the winner when he pounced on a defensive mistake.

It was a game full of intensity and a special atmosphere even if the fans were not allowed to attend the game. There were plenty of chances for both sides, each having 5 shots on target in an absorbing game of football. It was no surprise that in the end 9 yellow cards were shown. It is advantage Juventus going into the 2nd leg.

Inter were missing Lukaku because he had gained too many yellow cards in the competition and was suspended for the game. Afterwards coach Conte said: “Juventus made the most of two naïve errors to score their goals. We need to be more clinical and ruthless, as we created so much and you have to finish those chances against a side like Juventus. The performance was excellent, it was just the result that was negative. We had Juve on the ropes, it’s really disappointing, because we deserved much, much, more than the final result.”

The 2nd leg match will take place on February 9th.

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Roma share 13 goals with Spezia in two unique games and stay in hunt for Serie A title

Roma and Spezia played each other two times in the space of four days and shared one win apiece. But that was only the small detail as they also shared a staggering 13 goals between them.

Quite incredibly Spezia beat Roma 4-2 in the Coppa Italia to knock Roma out of the competition and then pile on the pressure for coach Paulo Fonseca. But at the weekend Roma avenged that defeat as they beat Spezia in another thrilling game which had 7 goals in it as the Giallorossi won 4-3.

The action flew off from the 17th minute as Roma took the lead through Borja Mayoral who has been in very good form lately. He was assisted by Lorenzo Pellegrini and gave the keeper no chance to put the home team 1-0 up. However soon after it was 1-1 when Roberto Piccoli equalised for the visitors. He was never going to miss from just a few yards out as an initial shot from the club rebounded like a present for him and he made no mistakes.

At this point Roma would have been forgiven for thinking not again just as Spezia had showed so much courage in the cup game. Though there would be 7 goals the first half ended 1-1 and it was clear whilst Spezia were a threat in numbers Roma had been the better team.

However within seven minutes of the restart Roma had taken the lead with another superb shot from Mayoral and then just three minutes later Rick Kardsdrop made it 3-1 to the home side and the tie looked dead on its feet. The joy from the players was infectious by this point and there looked like no coming back from Spezia this time.

But the story wasn’t done yet and in a 2nd half which saw 3 goals in the opening 14 minutes Spezia pulled one back to make it 3-2. Then came the excitement and what a finish to the game it would be.

In the 90th minute against all the odds Spezia equalised to make it 3-3, having at one point trailed the game 3-1. Daniele Verde was the hero and he looked to have earned a point for the visitors and Spezia were officially going to be named as a thorn in the side of the Giallorossi. But this game wasn’t over even if there were only seconds left on the clock.

In the 92nd minute Lorenzo Pellegrini who had been all over the pitch and been the provider for quite a game scored a terrific shot that flew in the net for a last minute winner. The scenes on the pitch even sadly without the fans still generated quite a fantastic atmosphere.

It was great news for Roma too because Milan in 1st place lost against Atlanta and Inter could only draw away to Udinese so Roma caught both of them up and the Giallorossi are now only six points behind league leaders Milan. This title hunt is not over.

Dzeko set to leave but Alexis could come in

Edin Dzeko has had words with coach Paulo Fonseca to the point that both men have fallen out with one another and it has been reported that Dzeko has now been training on his own. But it doesn’t end there.

Official meetings have been held between Roma and Inter about a loan swap deal which would see Dzeko go to Inter probably as a back up squad player and Alexis Sanchez come to Roma.

With Inter in with a good shout of the Serie A title Sanchez may not want to leave but Dzeko will want as faraway as the capital as he can get. A deal if one happens could be concluded this week.

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Roma fall 9 pts behind after derby defeat against Lazio and exit Coppa Italia

Of all the defeats Roma can take in a Serie A season the one that will always hurt the most is the defeat in the derby and at the weekend Paulo Fonseca’s team were no match for Lazio.

Lazio ran out 3-0 winners and while the final result looked more like gloss against a game that was closer no one could deny that Lazio were the more attacking side and deserved their win.

A terrible defensive error by Roma’s Ibanez allowed Lazio a glorious chance which Ciro Immobile snapped up to put the designated home side in the lead. That was Immobile’s 12 league goal of the season as he tries to catch up to Cristiano Ronaldo and is only 3 goals away from that target.

By the 23rd minute Lazio were 2-0 up courtesy of Luis Alberto. It was a strange goal as Manuel Lazzari came bursting into the area on the right hand side and he thought he had been fouled for a penalty, the referee waved on. However Lazzari quickly got up and passed the ball to an unmarked Alberto who slotted home well.

The best goal was saved for last in the 2nd half when Alberto placed the ball into the lower bottom right corner from just outside the area and his expression after the goal said it all, he knew it was a special goal and also a special derby performance from his club on such an important occasion.

The result means that Roma have fallen 9 points behind Milan in the race for the title and the Giallorossi are in 4th place on the same points as Napoli with 34 but they in turn are 6 points behind 2nd placed Inter. Despite losing their 4th game of the season Roma are still in a Champions League place but we are not even at the halfway stage of the season yet.

Coach Fonseca was obviously disappointed and a little dejected by the defeat against Lazio. Fonseca said: “We can’t change what happened, but we can start thinking that what happened should not happen again. The team must understand that we can only change the future by changing our attitude in the game. As I said I’m above all disappointed for our fans.”

Roma crash out of Coppa Italia against Spezia

Paulo Fonseca talked Spezia up and said they would be a dangerous side and he was correct. Spezia knocked out Roma after extra time winning 4-2. It was a game full of incident and for Spezia fans and the neutral it was one full of excitement too.

It looked all over for Roma after Spezia took an early two goal lead but the home side were able to pull a goal back just before half time through Lorenzo Pellegrini’s penalty. When Henrikh Mikahitaryan made it 2-2 late on in the 2nd half it seemed as though Roma were easing themselves back into the game and would go on and win it either in normal time or extra time, but Spezia would get the final say.

Roma imploded in extra time and had not one but 2 players sent off within 30 seconds of each other. Gianluca Mancini was given a his 2nd booking after a tripping and then frustration built up and Pau Lopez followed him for an early bath. Although the game was still 2-2 it became stretched and Spezia made playing against 9 men count and scored 2 goals soon after to kill the match. This was a very disappointing result for the club.

Tension mounts after sacking of Gianluca Gomber

Not only did Roma lose in the Coppa Italia to Spezia but they would have in fact been kicked out of the competition even if they had won the game. This was because the club made six substitute choices instead of the required 5 allowed.

The blame did not go to Paulo Fonseca as ‘team manager’ Gianluca Gomber was in charge of the count of subs being made. Unlike for example in England where only 3 subs are allowed, although five in the cup, in Italy and other major leagues 5 are allowed in all the games.

Gomber made the fatal error and was sacked by the club on Wednesday morning, the day after the game. But it doesn’t end there as Roma’s players are furious with the decision. Gomber was part of the behind the scenes team and the players had a close and good relationship with him. The players have made it known that they want Gomber reinstated and that anyone can make a mistake. Watch this space!

Could Fonseca be sacked too?

The big news breaking this week is that Roma coach Paulo Fonseca could be sacked. It is understood that the club were expecting to be much closer at the top of the league but 9 points seems like a mountain and now they have been knocked out of the cup Fonseca could go.

It has been rumoured that Max Allegri and Maurizio Sarri have emerged as the favourites to take over the club and that Fonseca’s job is under real threat. One would expect that if Roma fail to impress at the weekend where again they will face their cup conquerors Spezia he could be walking.

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