Il Corriere della Sera (Gianluca Piacentini) As the dust settles after the defeat in the Juventus Stadium, Roma are caught between whether to think with their hearts or their heads. 7 points off top and just 1 point above 3rd place, despite the fact the Giallorossi have beaten both Napoli, Milan and Lazio, the question that Romanisti are asking themselves is whether they should continue to hope for an almost impossible comeback or try to hold onto 2nd place and devote all their energy to winning a trophy, given the fact that the last one they lifted (the Coppa Italia) was back in 2008, when Spalletti was first in charge.
Most fans are still thinking with their hearts, inviting the players on social media not to give up, as is the coach, who says “the scudetto race will be on until we’re mathematically out of it”. That’s the right approach for a coach to have: since there is more than half the season to go, he cannot suggest to his squad and supporters that they are giving up. There is the same mentality in the dressing room. However, statistics – and common sense – say Roma should be thinking with their heads, as they suggest Juventus are still the dominant side in Italy. The Bianconeri actually have 9 points more than they did at the same point last season (42 rather than 33), and 6 more than Inter had; at the time, they were top of a tightly-packed table, in which Roma were 5th with 32 points, behind Napoli and Fiorentina as well as the Nerazzurri and Bianconeri.
Juventus finished last season with 91 points, despite their handicap at the start of the season; this season, if they beat Crotone (in a game that will be played on 8th February due to their participation in the Supercoppa against Milan) and Bologna, they would finish the first half of the season with 48 points. Therefore, it’s almost certain that teams will have to get over 90 points to win the scudetto.
Roma currently have 35 points, 3 more compared to Garcia’s side after 17 games last season. If they beat Chievo on Thursday and Genoa at the Marassi, they would finish the first half of the season with 41. In order to finish the season with over 90 points, they would therefore have to get 50 points. In the second half of last season under Spalletti, they picked up 46 points (compared to the Bianconeri’s 52), taking their total to 80: neither enough to catch Juventus, nor enough to overtake Napoli.
Repeating that run this season could be enough for 2nd place though, which would be worth a considerable amount of prize money and automatic qualification for the Champions League – one of the club’s primary objectives.