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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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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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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Roma go 4 games unbeaten as they prepare for the derby against Lazio

Such is the latest standard in Serie A that even though Roma have won 10 points from their last four games they would only be sixth based on form. But the Giallorossi have bigger fish to fry than just statistics as they aim to win the title for the first time in 2 decades.

A Serie A title is on the cards for Paulo Fonseca’s team who enter match day 18 in third place and just six points behind league leaders Milan.

Recent results have been brilliant and their 3 game winning run was only stopped by Inter at the weekend as the two clubs drew 2-2. However it would be Roma leaving the Stadio Olimpico as the happier side given that they were losing the game with just four minutes to go.

Gianluca Manciniian who had been booked earlier in the game for using his elbow went from villain to hero as he scored a lovely headed goal which reminded any football fan of Italian football of how Paolo Rossi used to score. Mancini scored in the 86th minute to save a defeat and it’s now been almost a month since Roma lost a game in the league.

In the midweek game before the Inter match Roma played Crotone away from home and eased to a 3-1 victory. The Giallorossi had taken a 2-0 lead through a brace by Borja Mayoral and Henrikh Mkhitaryan who had lost his touch in goal in the last few weeks scored the third.

Can Roma win the league title for the first time since 2001?

Roma have only won the Scudetto 3 times in their history and whilst they won’t be the favourites to win this season the clubs consistency has got fans talking and getting excited. Presently they just need to get past both Milan teams who are in 1st and 2nd place. But there is the looming threat of the sleeping giant, Juventus who have started the season slow but are now gaining momentum and they are only a point behind Roma. The bookmakers have Roma at odds of 17.00 (16/1) to win the league. The current favourites are Inter at 2.50 (6/4) and they are followed by the 9 time in a row champions Juventus who are 3.00 (2/1).

Lazio v Roma

The Derby della Capitale will take place on Friday evening when Roma meet Lazio and it will be a significant one. If Roma win they will stay in 3rd place but will have the same points as Inter with 37 and will have moved 4 points clear of Juventus. It might not look like giant steps but it will be positive.

Lazio are in 8th place and a win would take them just 3 points shy of Roma and dent their fierce rivals title hopes and European ones. Here is how the last 5 matches when Lazio have been at home have ended in the derby.

September 1st, 2019-    Lazio 1-1 Roma

March 2nd, 2019 -         Lazio 3-0 Roma

April 15th, 2018-            Lazio 0-0 Roma

December 4th, 2016-     Lazio 0-2 Roma

April 3rd, 2016-              Lazio 1-4 Roma

Lazio wins: 1, Roma wins: 2, Draws: 2

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s rebirth to propel Roma back into the Champions League

Since assuming the reins in 2019, Paulo Fonseca has wasted no time implementing his footballing philosophy in the nation’s capital. The veteran tactician has proven to be a willing learner since making the switch to Italian football, switching from his preferred 4-3-3 into a more fluid 3-4-2-1. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has arguably been the biggest benefactor of the formation change, establishing himself as one of Serie A’s deadliest creative threats.

The Armenian international is off to one of the best starts to a season in recent memory, registering seven goals and six assists in 14 appearances. Mkhitaryan has combined wonderfully with Edin Dzeko and Pedro up top, interchanging freely in the final third. The former Arsenal man has excelled with his newfound freedom and has since led the Giallorossi into third place heading into 2021.

Roma has failed to qualify for the last two editions of the Champions League and will be eager to make their return to Europe’s elite competition. Beyond the prestige that comes with the competition, Champions League qualification would represent more funds to bolster the side. Mkhitaryan’s rebirth offers a cause for excitement in the nation’s capital and could propel Roma back into the conversation alongside Europe’s elite.

The 31-year-old initially broke onto the scene back in 2016 in Germany with Borussia Dortmund, emerging as an elite attacking midfielder under Jurgen Klopp. Mkhitaryan finished the season with 11 goals and 15 assists in 28 starts, prompting interest from England’s giants. The Armenian international eventually made the move to Manchester United, where he struggled to replicate his past exploits. Simply put, English football did not suit Mkhitaryan’s skillset.

Mkhitaryan later moved to Arsenal in hopes of reviving his career, but once again, failed to prove his worth in London. His woes in England meant he was available on the cheap, with Roma swooping in for his signature, securing him on a loan deal. The former Manchester United man impressed on his loan, scoring nine goals and recording five assists in 16 appearances. The decision to trigger their option for him proved to be an easy one for Roma.

The switch to Italian football has since helped Mkhitaryan get his career back on track and show glimpses of his past form. The Armenian international is currently on pace to beat his breakout season with Dortmund and surpass his personal best for goals and assists. Beyond his impressive numbers, Mkhitaryan makes Roma tick in the final third.

The 31-year-old is always looking to dictate play in possession and regularly looks to take on his man. His connection with Dzeko has made for one of Italy’s most intriguing strike partnerships this season, with the Giallorossi netting 31 goals already on the season. Given both their experience, expect Roma to continue their run of form heading into 2021.

Fonseca’s men open up the new year against Sampdoria and Crotone, but they can’t get too comfortable. After all, mouth-watering clashes against Inter and Lazio await them in the space of five days, wrapping up an enthralling month of January. With Mkhitaryan firing on all cylinders, the Italian giants will like their chances.

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Fantasy Serie A’s top performers heading into 2021

The Serie A season is temporarily on hold heading into 2021 for the holiday season but has not disappointed thus far. Milan has picked up from exactly where they left off last year, sitting in first place, while Antonio Conte’s Inter has since emerged as legitimate title contenders. Juventus has struggled in the early goings of the Andrea Pirlo era, drawing six of their 13 games thus far.

As the new year approaches, let us have a look at Serie A’s top performers after 14 matchdays. Here are your top five Fantasy Serie A performers:

1) Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Roma) – 94 points. 

The 31-year-old has been in sensational form this season, helping Roma throw its name in the race for top four. Mkhitaryan has hit the ground running in the early goings of the new season, registering seven goals and six assists in 14 appearances for the Giallorossi. Paulo Fonseca’s men currently sit in third place going into 2021 and will rely on the Armenian international to lead them into an unlikely title race. As of right now, Mkhitaryan is Fantasy Serie A’s top performer with 94 points. At 4.5 million euros, there is no reason why the Roma man isn’t on your team.

2) Romelu Lukaku (Inter) – 78 points.

The Belgian international has been the driving force behind Inter’s title race early on, netting eight goals in 11 appearances for the Nerazzurri. Inter has only lost one game this season and is currently riding a ten-game unbeaten streak going into 2021. Antonio Conte’s men have maintained the pace atop the table due to their impressive run of form, sitting just one point behind Milan. If Inter will successfully overtake their fierce rivals, Lukaku will need to be firing from all cylinders. His 78 points are good enough for second place in our top fantacalcio performers thus far and should only add to his impressive tally heading into the new year.

3) Theo Hernandez (Milan) – 75 points.

The former Real Madrid man has taken the next step in his career since making the move to Italy, establishing himself as one of football’s elite fullbacks. Hernandez has picked up some crucial goals along the way, including a brace in Milan’s come-from-behind draw against Parma and a last-gasp winner in the Rossoneri’s most-recent triumph over Lazio. The 23-year-old has proven to be one of Milan’s most creative outlets in the final third, adding three assists to his four goals. Stefano Pioli’s men have since emerged as title contenders due to their recent form but will face stiff competition heading into the new year.

4) Roberto Soriano (Bologna) – 74 points.

The Bologna man is a surprise inclusion on this list but has been in top form this season. Soriano has been extremely productive for Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men, netting six goals and four assists. While being the side’s designated penalty-taker helps, Soriano’s numbers make him an intriguing choice for your fantasy Serie A sides. His good form has since prompted Roberto Mancini to call him up to the Italian national team, rewarding his positive performances. Bologna has struggled in recent weeks, failing to win in their last five games, but if they want to turn it around, Soriano will need to be at the heart of their turnaround.

5) Joao Pedro (Cagliari) – 74 points.

Joao Pedro burst onto the scene in Italy last season, scoring 18 goals, and has not slowed down under Eusebio Di Francesco. The Brazilian been his typical efficient self in front of goal, registering eight goals in 14 appearances. Joao Pedro has combined to devastating effect with Giovanni Simeone and will be hoping to lead Cagliari into the race for European football. While they may sit closer to the relegation zone, the Sardegna-based outfit possesses enough firepower to turn their fortunes around.

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Roma hit Bologna for 5 and are in search of a top 4 place this week

After their disappointing 0-0 result against Sassuolo the Giallorossi were back in style as they went to Bologna and thumped then 5-1.

There were four different goalscorers for Roma and an own goal in a very eventful game. It started with a bang too within just 4 minutes Andrea Poli had scored an own goal after a low dangerous cross and Roma were one up. But this start was nothing compared to what Bologna would face in the next 10 minutes of the game.

When the clock struck the tenth minute it was 2-0 and five minutes later it was 3-0 and this game was put to bed within the first quarter of an hour. Edin Dzeko scored Roma’s second when he found the ball just inside the box and made a brilliant turn to fool the defender and slotted home with absolute ease.

The third goal came after a brilliant long pass from Leonardo Spinazzola and the ball found an unmarked Lorenzo Pellegrini who steered home rather easily. Indeed it was well taken but the defending from Bologna was comical it was as if they had switched off possibly looking for an offside that never came. However against the run of play Bologna pulled one back after Roma scored an own goal through Bryan Cristante.

But Roma were playing like a team possessed and it was soon 4-1. The fourth goal was perhaps the best of the lot as it was a classic team goal that consisted of passes and quick one twos. It was finished off by Henrikh Mkhitaryan whose brilliant pass found Jordan Veretout who had been quite the last few weeks and he slid home easily. It was a perfect goal.

The Gallorossi were not finished yet though and would score their 5th goal before half time in a nightmare 45 minutes for the home side. It would be Mkhitaryan who would score the fifth goal after great team work again and with 5 in the bag at half time people were wondering if we were going to see double figures by the end. It wasn’t to be though and the game ended with that scoreline.

It said it all that Bologna at home had just 1 shot on target the whole game and Roma thoroughly deserved their victory. It is a win that has put the club in sixth place and was their sixth win of the season. Roma now has 21 points and are seven behind the league leaders Milan who drew at Genoa.

Europa League draw for Roma

Roma were impressive in the Europa League group stages and their reward for reaching the knock out rounds which begin next year is a two legged match with Portuguese outfit Sporting Braga. The clubs haven’t met before and the encounters are sure to be memorable and very close.

Serie A- the next 3 games

Christmas time is coming and that means that Serie A will shut down for a few weeks. Roma have 3 games left to play. Tonight they will be at home against Torino and then on Sunday they will play Atalanta away. Their final game before the break will be against Cagliari and that will take place at home.

Top 3 best performing players

Let’s take a look at the best performing players in the fantasy rankings so far for Roma.

1. Henrikh Mkhitaryan 44pts

2. Jordan Veretout       27pts

3. Lorenzo Pellegrini    17pts

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Roma draw a blank against Sassuolo as coach Fonseca receives a touchline ban

There were two disallowed goals and a red card as Roma could only draw against a tough opponent in Sassuolo at home, with the game ending 0-0.

First man of the moment for Roma Henrikh Mkhitaryan saw his goal effort ruled out by VAR as there had been a foul in the build up. At least for Roma this would be levelled up later on when Sassuolo thought that they had taken the lead in the 75th minute which could have been the winner through Lukas Haraslin but this was ruled out also.

The focus on the game was not the 1 point earned though but other incidents. The first of which was Pedro Rodriguez’s performance. The midfielder was sent off for two bookable offences. The first involved a head butt and the second a cynical foul and the former Barcelona player was having an early first half shower.

Pedro’s sending off led to another sending off but not for a player but for Roma’s coach Paulo Fonseca who was angered by Pedro’s red card. He seemed to insult an official and was given his marching orders and it has now been confirmed that Fonseca will receive a touchline ban for Roma’s next Serie A game which will take place away to Bologna.

This result has left Roma in sixth place with 18 points and they are now 8 points behind leader leaders Milan. Of course being just 2 points from 4th place a possible Champions League finish is very realistic but it is too early to talk about that.

Fonseca had his thoughts after the match and had this to say, “I am very proud of the lads, as we played very well, had the better scoring opportunities, were organised in defence and stopped a great team like Sassuolo from creating chances. I didn’t like the refereeing, though. I don’t understand why Pedro’s first foul was a yellow card. After that, I saw the situation with Pellegrini, how is that a yellow? I know the referee might not see it well, but VAR ought to see that. There was also potentially a penalty for us with the handball, but again VAR did not intervene.”

As far as the fantasy points are concerned not one player with Giallorossi earned any points. The player who really missed out was inevitably Pedro who finished with -2 points for the weekend.

The Europa League is up next for Roma but it is a dead rubber game against CSKA Sofia and Fonseca will rest much of his regular team. Roma have already qualified as group winners. The draw for the knock out stage of the Europa League will take place on December 14th.

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