On the face of it, Roma’s 4-0 victory against Crotone appears to be the perfect antidote to last weekend’s late defeat against Fiorentina. Edin Dzeko scored twice, Stephan El Shaarawy notched his first of the season, Wojciech Szczesny saved a penalty, Francesco Totti played 90 minutes for the first time in 479 days and marked it with another sublime assist – all that was missing was for il Capitano to score his 250th league goal for the club.
Roma lack balance, Roma defend badly, Roma concede too many goals. All true. But at the same time the problem, which has been somewhat underplayed, is that Roma don’t even know how to attack like they used to. Right from the beginning, as Spalletti noticed, there have been too many backpasses towards Szczesny, even from within the opposition half, and these are invitations to the opposition to gain territory. And when things aren’t working in the attacking third, it’s obviously more difficult to win games.
Il Corriere dello Sport‘s Marco Evangelisti answers 10 crucial questions about Roma’s new stadium project, including whether it’s necessary for a club to own their own stadium, what is causing the constant delays to the project, and whether the club will even own it at all once it has been built.
Officially a decision hasn’t yet been taken, but the busy fixture schedule that Roma are about to embark on suggests the need for a more precise choice to be made. Luciano Spalletti has consequently started studying Roma’s fixture programme from the point of view of his goalkeepers, as he is still undecided in the choice between Alisson and Szczesny.
Wild animals often attack because they’re afraid. Kevin Strootman has the aggressive eyes of a tiger, but he’s no longer afraid. Welcome to the never ending story that has now become history. There’s not just a happy ending, but a new beginning: at 26 years old, Strootman is starting out on a new career. “Now I can give my all on the pitch,” he explained from the Dutch international camp. “At the start it was difficult, I was more focused on my knee than on the game. But I had a fantastic holiday, I trained well when I came back and now I feel strong and fit again. I’m definitely out of the tunnel.”
Describing the Europa League as an opportunity is sure to make people either laugh or cry, and ultimately it is a continuation of the same sort of reaction to the elimination from the Champions League. But without wanting to put too much stress on it, and putting the obvious financial impact that the defeat against Porto had to one side, Roma have an opportunity ahead of them which shouldn’t be taken lightly.
15 clubs will have sponsors on the front of their shirts during the 2016/17 Serie A season, while 5 clubs will have an empty space instead – 1 less than last year. Roma, Lazio and Palermo won’t have a sponsor either on the front or the back; Genoa and Sampdoria, like last season, won’t have a main sponsor but will at least bring in some revenue thanks to Genoa’s deal with LeasePlan and Sampdoria’s with XLV. As a recent study by Sporting Intelligence showed, no Premier League club has an empty shirt: Middlesbrough are the team with the smallest revenue, bringing in £1m a season.