Corriere dello Sport (Roberto Maida) Is this not magic? Ever since the 30th anniversary of one of their most disastrous home defeats ever (Roma 2-3 Lecce on 20th April, 1986, a defeat which handed the scudetto to Juventus) Roma have won every time they play at the Olimpico. On 20th April, 2016, Roma turned the tables around against the other side from Turin with a 3-2 win against Torino. And who could it have been to exorcise the demons of that day (for those older fans who are able to remember it)? Francesco Totti, of course, on that famous night when he was thrown into the fray by Spalletti and completely turned the course of the game in just a few minutes. Witchcraft.
From Roma-Torino to Lazio-Roma (which, technically, was an away game but was still played on home turf), Roma have won 11 games in a row (8 this season), 8 of which have come in the league. Not even Eriksson’s side of 1985/86, when Roma crushed everyone who faced them at the Olimpico, can match this current run: his side’s run was interrupted after 6 wins by a 0-0 draw against Como, and then again in the final home game against the aforementioned Lecce as they went for 8 in a row.
Roma have only ever had a similar run twice in their history. On the second occasion, they ended up as scudetto winners as Nils Liedholm led them to the title in 1982/83, winning every match from 9th May, 1982 (2-1 against Ascoli) to 20th February, 1983 (5-2 against Napoli). Roma’s run was ended at the 12th attempt when they lost against Juventus (2-1), though in the end the defeat meant little. Long before that, in 1930, Roma achieved a run of 13 wins in a row between 16th March (5-0 against Triestina) and 16th November (3-1 against Casale), as they finished the season in 2nd place. This proves one undeniable fact: when Roma are in this sort of home form, they finish at least 2nd.
Luciano Spalletti, who also holds the club’s record for the most consecutive wins (11, both home and away, in 2005/06), will try to extend this run when his side face Milan on Monday in a crucial game in the battle for 2nd place. If he succeeds, it would be the club’s best run since World War 2 – more precisely, their best for 86 years. Should he win the game after that, in the final game before Christmas against Chievo, it would equal the club’s 1930 record.
But by beating Lazio for the 4th time in a row (in the league, their unbeaten run in the derby extends even further back to 2012, with 5 wins and 3 draws), Roma added to a number of other statistics as well. In defence, for example, Szczesny kept a clean sheet for the 5th time in 15 games as both he and his defence (which has looked shaky in previous games) ensured that the attacking trio of Felipe Anderson, Immobile and Keita had little to go on. Only Juventus, Lazio themselves and Genoa have now conceded fewer goals than Roma in Serie A. In attack, everything is running as smoothly as ever (Roma have scored at least 2 goals in 11/15 games), but noticeably Nainggolan’s shot from outside the box was just the 3rd goal from 35 attempts from long range.