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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Spinazzola makes amends for error to keep Roma on course for Champions League qualification

It was a week in which Roma realised that they wouldn’t be winning the Serie A title this season despite their earlier efforts in the campaign which had suggested that they could be contenders.

However at the same time no one but Inter looks like claiming the league title now not even 9 time champions Juventus who have themselves slipped 10 points behind Antonio Conte’s side.

For Roma now their objective has to be about qualifying for the Champions League and currently they are just 2 points from that target with Atalanta directly in their way. Roma played two games during this past week one was a defeat and one was a win.

The Giallorossi’s first match was at home to Milan, in 2nd place. It was a game that ended in a 2-1 defeat. By far at least in the 1st half Milan was the superior team, inventive and full of hunger for the win and it was a difficult moment for Paulo Fonseca’s side. However they almost went in at half time at 0-0.

But Roma gave away a penalty after a challenge by Federico Fazio. At first the referee saw nothing in the challenge but VAR did and upon review he changed his mind. Franck Kessie who has been on form for Milan made no mistakes from the spot and Milan went in at half time in the lead.

Just five minutes into the 2nd half however Jordan Veretout made it 1-1. Leonardo Spinazzola assisted for the goal and Veretout shot from the edge of the area. It wasn’t the most powerful shot and 8 times out of ten it would have been stopped, but it made its way through the crowd of defenders and beat the keeper and suddenly Roma, who had not played so well were level.

However Milan would get the final say as just past the hour mark Ante Rebic made it 2-1 with a clean powerful shot from the edge of the area and it was a fine goal. Roma would play better in the second half but the match just went away from them and petered out in the end. It was a bad loss from Roma and they needed to bounce back quickly, and thankfully for them they did.

The match up was against Fiorentina, always a tricky encounter and with Roma losing 2-1 to Milan, they made amends here and won this game by the same score line. The talk of the match though was about Leonardo Spinazzola who scored an own goal but later made amends by scoring for his club and helping them to earn 3 points.

Spinazzola opened the scoring early in the 2nd half but by the hour marked had levelled up the game for the home side. Roma were far the better side and were motivated to win the game but it looked destined to finish as a draw. However Amadou Diawara scored his 1st goal of the season for the club in the 90th minute and what a time to open his scoring account for the club. The players were overjoyed and the game was won.

Roma’s next match is at home to Genoa at the weekend and they will be the odds on favourites to win that. The last time the clubs met at Stadio Olimpico the game finished 3-3 and earlier in the season in the reverse fixture Roma won 3-1. Genoa have not beaten Roma in Serie A since 2014.

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Roma 1-2 AC Milan: Top three performers as Rossoneri bounce back in style

After two consecutive defeats in Serie A, as well as two draws in Europa League, Milan desperately needed a win against Roma earlier this evening. And they managed to get the job done with their best performance in a long time, creating many goalscoring opportunities especially in the first half. 

Juventus got just one point from their clash against Hellas Verona and with Roma just behind in fourth, it was important for Milan to take advantage of the situation. Franck Kessie and Ante Rebic stepped up and scored the goals, but the entire Rossoneri team should be praised for the display.  Continue reading

Roma vs. AC Milan: Serie A Round 24 – Team news, stats and prediction

After two consecutive defeats in the league, as well as two draws in Europa League, Milan will take on Roma away from home tomorrow evening. It’s a big opportunity for Stefano Pioli’s men, who with a win would regain some much-needed confidence and secure more safety standings-wise. 

It hasn’t been easy for the Rossoneri in recent weeks and it’s clear that a reaction is needed, not just for themselves but also to calm down the fans. After sitting in first place for so long, while continuing to play well, it’s certainly normal that the reactions are strong when performances suddenly drop. Especially when they drop like this.  Continue reading

One foot in Europa League quarter finals but a step back in Serie A for Roma

Roma are almost in the quarter finals of the Europa League after they beat Braga of Portugal 2-0. The return leg is tonight in Italy and it is widely expected that the Giallorossi will have few problems in reaching the last 8 after their dominant display in the 1st leg.

The Europa League win was a game of a goal in the early stages and a goal at the end. Within 5 minutes of the start Leonardo Spinnazola had set up Edin Dzeko with a beautiful pass that caught out the Braga defence and Dzeko made no mistakes to put Roma in front. Dzeko has struggled to hold down a place this season and had fallen out with coach Paulo Fonseca so this goal felt like redemption for him.

Roma could have been 3 goals up within the hour if they had had some luck. A penalty appeal was rejected by a VAR review and then a goal was wiped off due to offside after another VAR review. But Roma knew that if they had a chance going into the 2nd leg against a quality side like Braga they would need to try and grab that second.

The goal finally came with just four minutes remaining but there would still be some controversy and tense moments to have it confirmed. Good work from Jordan Veretout set up Borja Mayoral to slot in an easy chance but VAR called it back for yet another possible offside. After some tense minutes the goal was given and Roma deservedly won the game 2-0. In the end Braga managed just 1 shot on target which was simply not good enough.

So the Europa League game was the good news, but the bad news was that Roma’s league title challenge could be over. The club could only draw 0-0 away to Benevento. The Giallorossi created numerous chances and again were denied a stoppage time penalty by VAR. They deserved the win this time but could only get a point. The end scenes were also chaotic as Benevento coach Filipo Inzaghi was sent off.

Roma are in 4th place with Atalanta and Lazio only one point behind them for a Champions League place. The Giallorossi have also slipped 9 points behind league leaders Inter and have Milan and Juventus in front of them. The league title isn’t quite over for them but realistically it now looks a distant hope and the focus has to be on finishing in a top 4 place.

What do the bookmakers think?

Let’s look at the two competitions that Roma are still in with a chance of winning which of course is Serie A and the Europa League. This is what the bookmakers think of Roma’s chances of winning either competition.

Serie A : 45/1

Europa League: 14/1

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 24 – Late Games

CROTONE-CAGLIARI

Crotone: as expected the Juventus clash proved to be too hard for them to overcome, even though Junior Messias got few shots off and Adam Ounas tried to get something going with his mazing runs. The duo will lead the way again here in a much easier fixture. Messias has bagged seven goals thus far, while Ounas scored on his second appearance with the Squali and will be facing his former team, which did not trust him too much. Samuel Di Carmine has quickly unseated Simy but has not really shined thus far. The coach initially tweaked his system in the past game, but the changes were not that profound. Salvatore Molina returned from a lengthy absence and he was dynamic early in the season (one goal, four assists). Milos Vulic has not made the stat-sheet but he has been very busy over the last couple of matches and could be due. Left-back Arkadiusz Reca (one goal, three helpers) has been one of their most consistent players. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 23 – Late Games

PARMA-UDINESE

Parma: they did manage to score against Verona, thanks to a successful penalty kick by Juraj Kucka, but they lost again and their offense left a lot to be desired. The midfielder has tallied their last three goals. Yann Karamoh looked decently spry in his return to the XI, while Gervinho and Andreas Cornelius are stuck in an endless slump and the former is in pretty lackluster form. Joshua Zirkzee had a pair of chances after subbing in but did not exploit them. Valentin Mihaila was the liveliest out of their youngsters, but so far the coach has been very conservative in giving minutes to them. Jasmin Kurtic has hit the net a couple of times in the season and he is not shy when it comes to bomb away from distance. If they somehow managed to play more proactively, their fullbacks Andrea Conti and Giuseppe Pezzella would have some interest. Continue reading

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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