30 Ways Roma Can Win This Season

Roma’s squad is full of talent. We have counted 30 possible technical and tactical options which are available to Luciano Spalletti, who has now got the choices that he wanted from the transfer window.

  1. The goalkeepers, according to the Certaldo-born coach, are at the same level. He can choose the one who is in better form, and that’s what he himself has said he will do.
  2. He could also go for one to start in the league (Szczesny?) and one in the Coppa Italia and Champions League or Europa League (Alisson?).
  3. In the end, he could ultimately choose one to be first choice and the other to be reserve.
  4. The defence: 3-man or 4-man.
  5. There are 2 options for a 3-man defence with 3 true centre backs. The first: Fazio, Manolas and Vermaelen (at the end in Oporto, the coach put Fazio on to make a 3-man defence with Manolas and Juan Jesus, when the former Barcelona defender was sent off).
  6. The second option: Manolas, Vermaelen and Rudiger.
  7. A 3-man defence with “2 1/2” centre backs: Manolas, Vermaelen and Juan Jesus.
  8. A 3-man defence could also be formed of 2 centre backs playing alongside De Rossi, positioned slightly in front of the rest of the back line, as Rudi Garcia and occasionally Prandelli for the national team used to do.
  9. There’s an unusual, almost surprising, richness of real or makeshift full backs; last year, Florenzi was forced into being the only option at right back given Maicon’s physical problems.
  10. Bruno Peres can play on the right, as he did against Udinese.
  11. And so can Florenzi, as we saw in Oporto when the former Torino man hadn’t yet joined up with the rest of the squad.
  12. At the end against Porto, when Florenzi was struggling, Nainggolan played in his place on the right hand side of a 5-man defence. We’re putting this in because it happened, but to think of this as a true alternative is difficult.
  13. Mario Rui can play on the left (when he is available again he will be first choice).
  14. So can Juan Jesus, who played left back against Porto before Vermaelen’s red card: Mancini also often used him there at Inter.
  15. And so can Emerson Palmieri, who started there against Udinese.
  16. Even Florenzi (if necessary) can be employed on the left. Conte previously used him in that position with the national team.
  17. And Bruno Peres (if necessary) can also start on the left, as happened under Ventura at Toro.
  18. Looking at the midfield (which, because of how this Roma team is built, merges with the attack), the quality has dropped because of the departure of Pjanic but the number of options available to the coach remains intact as a result of the return of Paredes. The starting midfield, after the first two competitive matches, seems clear: De Rossi and Strootman playing slightly behind Nainggolan.
  19. The positions can be modified, moving from a 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 or vice versa.
  20. Spalletti can choose a very attacking Roma side, with two central midfielders (De Rossi and Strootman) with three attacking midfielders (Salah, Perotti and El Shaarawy) behind Dzeko.
  21. Iturbe can take the place of one of the wingers.
  22. With the arrival of Bruno Peres, Florenzi can also play as a winger.
  23. The attacking quartet can be improved by including the quality of Totti and putting Perotti on the left wing instead of El Shaarawy.
  24. Given this attacking line up could seem unbalanced, if Spalletti wants to put more creative players on who can build the play he can select Paredes instead of De Rossi or indeed Strootman.
  25. The first alternative is Paredes, as we saw in the first game of the Serie A season: if one of the first choice trio is tiring, or if the team has to play 3 times in a week, then the ex-Empoli player comes in.
  26. We’re waiting with bated breath to see Gerson’s debut; according to many, he can play either in the trio behind Dzeko or further back as an alternative to Strootman.
  27. Finally the attack. The first option, and the most important to Spalletti, at least judging from his comments in pre-season and his team selections so far, is Dzeko as centre forward.
  28. The alternative: as happened often in the second half of last season, Dzeko on the bench with 3 forwards who have more technical ability and pace than the Bosnian in his place.
  29. In this situation, there are 2 options. The first: Perotti as centre forward/trequartista.
  30. The second: Totti as centre forward/trequartista. And to think that the captain is just an alternative – it goes to show just how complete this current Roma side is.

This article is a translation – the original was written by Alberto Polverosi for Il Corriere dello Sport.


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