Roma begin Serie A season in chaos as their first league game is awarded to Verona

After all the pre-season build up and the chaos endured by the Coronavirus over last season which is clearly affecting this season too, Roma, in the end, shot themselves in the foot.

The club coached by Paulo Fonseca thought that they had earned a point away to tricky opponents in Verona as the game had ended 0-0. Not so, there was more drama to come.

Verona were awarded a 3-0 win in the end that is standard practice in football due to the other team either cheating or make a terrible error- in Roma’s case they made a terrible error. A wrong player selection. The case of Amadou Diawara to be exact who was added to the Under 22 portion of Roma’s squad even though he turned 23 in July. That is a serious no no and Serie A sporting judge Gerardo Mastrandrea officially awarded the win to Verona and the game’s original result effectively null and void.

Pantaleo Longo Roma’s secretary has handed in his resignation and Roma have lost a point and been made to look foolish, though of course it was just human error but rules are rules.

It leaves Roma in 19th place, not exactly where they want to be as they have been seen this season as genuine title challengers to the all conquering Juventus. Without the mix up Roma would be entering their 2nd league game in 9th place, 10 places above. The good news of course is that there is plenty of time to make those points up.

As for the game Fonseca’s side lined up with a formation of 3-4-2-1 packing the midfield. New signing from Arsenal Henrikh Mkhitaryan played the lone striker.

Roma enjoyed more of the possession and had 15 attempts on goal, though only 7 on target which was the same as Verona.

Goalkeeper Antonio Mirante collected the most points earning 7pts for his ‘clean sheet’ of course whether that will stand long term is unclear in the fantasy rankings. The best outfield player on the day was defender Ibanez who seemed to be everywhere and cover so much ground, his value is 6m to add to your team and he earned 5pts.

The other big news coming out of the club this week is that striker Edin Dzeko looks very likely that he will join Juventus. The deal will be for 2 years, and that dashes any hope that Luis Suarez had of joining the old lady although he looks set for a move to Atletico Madrid.

Roma’s next game will be against the champions Juventus, they will be at home in a very early test for the club. The result remains uncertain but one thing is for sure and that is the team line ups will be checked and checked again.

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Three

Fiorentina-Juventus: despite the two tough losses, la Viola showed some intriguing stuff up front against both Napoli and Genoa. The potential is there, but the whole team needs to tighten up and build up some chemistry. Franck Ribery is primed to get more minutes after the break and they should finally counter-balance a line-up that is always too reliant on Federico Chiesa. The ones that will benefit the most are the centre-forwards and for the time being Kevin-Prince Boateng will likely be the top option until Dusan Vlahovic and Pedro find their footing. Gaetano Castrovilli has already shown that he can be dangerous with his cuts, while Erick Pulgar hit the net twice on penalties and will have more opportunities to put his shooting prowess to good use in a slightly modified role. Continue reading

Juan Mata would be a shrewd signing for Arsenal

The last time Arsenal lured a player away from Old Trafford, it resulted in a player of their own heading in the opposite direction. The signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan in January was widely viewed to be a shrewd one for the Gunners, making the most of a bad situation. They were always going to lose Alexis Sanchez, with the Chilean’s contract up at the end of the season, and so this saw them at least get something for the want-away forward.

This time, Arsenal are looking to lure Juan Mata away from Manchester United, according to reports, and they won’t even have to send a player of their own in the opposite direction as part of a trade. Mata, just like Sanchez was at Arsenal last season, is out of contract at the end of the campaign, meaning he could soon be a free agent. The Spaniard will be able to talk to other clubs from January.


Counter reports claim that United will offer Mata a contract extension to ward off any interested parties like Arsenal, but a move back to London could appeal to the former Chelsea playmaker. There are reasons to believe that the 30-year-old would wish to leave Man Utd for the Gunners.

Unai Emery is building something at the Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal rediscovering their identity over the early part of the season. Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho’s Man Utd reign appears to be crumbling around him. Mata hasn’t always found his best form under the conservative Mourinho and so Emery could get the best out of him as he enters the twilight of his career.

Arsenal are once again a team that places emphasis on technical ability and use of space, and that is something that would suit Mata. He would also find a place in Emery’s team on the right side of the attacking line, where the Gunners are currently lacking. Or he could be used in a more central role, where there could be a position to fill if Aaron Ramsey indeed leaves the club at the end of the season.

Mkhitaryan has struggled to rediscover his best form since making the move to Arsenal from Man Utd in January, with some fans even calling for the Armenian to be dropped from the team in recent weeks. There have been glimpses of his relationship with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, his former Borussia Dortmund teammate, but nothing sustained.

Some may argue that Arsenal should be looking to sign up and coming talent rather than ageing stars like Mata. The point could also be made that Emery needs speed on the right wing, not the tactile vision and passing of Mata. But it’s rare that such an accomplished player becomes available for free. Arsenal should take that opportunity if they are presented with it.

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