The last week prior to the official start of the transfer market was understandably quiet: Sampdoria pulled off the most interesting move by adding another talented youngster, Gonzalo Maroni from Boca Juniors, who can feature in few positions up front and has the potential to be electric. Genoa made a sizeable investment to have Andrea Pinamonti from Inter, who had a very promising rookie season in Frosinone and is set to be their featured guy up front moving forward. Fiorentina are giving the keys to their goal to Barlomiej Dragowki, who blossomed in Empoli last season, and thus sent Alban Lafont to Nantes on a two-year loan. Sassuolo permanently signed left back Rogerio from Juventus after the 18-month loan, Brescia did the same with Ales Mateju, who belonged to Brighton.
The transfer market in England is set to close in 48 hours – with the rest of the major European leagues sitting…and waiting. The English FA’s decision to move the closing of the transfer market up nearly three weeks Continue reading
Roma were left standing at the alter last week as they lost out to Barcelona for the signature of Malcom. The Giallorossi were poised to welcome the Brazilian as were the fans, who were waiting at the airport for the player after they previously welcomed Robin Olsen, who arrived just two hours before Malcom’s Continue reading
Once again some key players risk missing the next Serie A round due to injuries. Here are the latest news: you can find the updates compared to the original version in italic.
Napoli: Marek Hamsik was under the weather late in the week, but he will try to shake it off by Saturday night. Elseid Hysaj was subbed off on Monday, but it was only precautionary. Vlad Chiriches is out with a hamstring strain, Faouzi Ghoulam with a fractured fibula. Arek Milik should make the squad list this time.
Few top players are in danger of missing the next Serie A weekend, let’s take a look at the status updates.
Napoli: Dries Mertens rolled an ankle in practice, but he played against Leipzig, so it was nothing severe. Arek Milik could be inserted the squad list this weekend or the next, but he will be obviously brought along slowly, while Faouzi Ghoulam’s return is up in the air, but it will not be before 30 days from now. Vlad Chiriches is out with a hamstring issue. Mario Rui was subbed off midweek for some plantar fascia pain and he is questionable.
Roma prepare to face Udinese on Saturday afternoon just a few days ahead of their critical Champions League showdown in the Ukraine against Shakhtar Donetsk.
One big topic of discussion in Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco’s press conference before his side’s clash against Udinese was the subject of turnover. Roma, who have struggled with their form since November, have recently undergone changes both in formation and tactics, as Eusebio Di Francesco is looking for answers after their horrific winter form.
The former Sassuolo boss has ditched his preferred 4-3-3 formation in favour of a 4-2-3-1 formation. This change in approach was a welcome sight as many, including both supporters and media, were beginning to question the tactical acumen of Di Francesco, who appeared to be stubborn and unwilling to deviate from his tactical preferences despite Roma stalling in attack and unable to break down sides who sit behind the ball.
After their recent loss to Sampdoria, though, Di Francesco introduced the 4-2-3-1 formation as Radja Nainggolan was “re-deployed” in the trequarista role, which he played last season and had immense success.
The early signs of this change by Di Francesco are very positive as the Giallorossi have beaten both Verona and Benevento. While certainly not the strongest opponents, Roma were desperate for answers and seem to finally have found a system that works. However, with the Champions League beginning again, Di Francesco will be forced to introduce new names into this renewed tactical ecosystem of his, which could prove challenging.
In defence, Di Francesco will have to find a way to give rest to fullbacks Alessandro Florenzi and Aleksandar Kolarov, both of whom have been consistently deployed for 90 minutes this season. Certainly Juan Jesus could be a name to keep an eye on while Bruno Peres, who was recently suspended by the club after a drink driving incident, could also play a role.
Meanwhile in the midfield, the situation is worrying. Daniele De Rossi, who has struggled this season, just returned earlier this week from a calf injury while Maxime Gonalons will be out for a couple of more weeks due to injury. With Radja Nainggolan in the attack, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Kevin Strootman will play huge roles while Gerson could be an alternative.
In attack, it appears to be “quantity over quality”. It’s almost certain that Di Francesco’s preferred attack will consist of Cengiz Ünder on the right, Radja Nainggolan as the trequarista, and Stephan El Shaarawy on the left playing behind Edin Dzeko. However, Dzeko has struggled this season while the Giallorossi’s wingers have not provided much, in terms of both goals and assists. With that in mind, surely Patrik Schick will be handed a larger role while Di Francesco could even opt to hand Gregoire Defrel, who was wanted by Watford this January, a starting place ahead of Dzeko.
The next month is a gauntlet for Roma. Between the league and Champions League, the Giallorossi will be faced with difficult fixtures, including facing Milan at home and Napoli at the San Paolo. As the fixtures become more difficult and points become more crucial, Di Francesco will be tasked with finding the right balance without disrupting the cohesiveness and function of his team, who find themselves in the midst of a race for a Champions League place.
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