La Gazzetta dello Sport (Chiara Zucchelli) “There’s not much to say but there’s lots to do.” Exactly a year ago, on 26th January, 2016, Stephan El Shaarawy came to Trigoria saying these words. Following his unsuccessful spell with Monaco, he and his brother had landed at Fiumicino the night before to be welcomed by general indifference. The striker signed for Roma with two aims in mind: to show that, at 23 years old, he could still reach his potential, and to get into Italy’s squad for the European Championships. He achieved both during an outstanding 6 month spell: 8 goals and 2 assists in 18 games, scoring with his right foot, his left foot and his head; he has an exemplary relationship with the fans; and his relationship with Spalletti was a carrot-and-stick one, but the coach made both El Shaarawy and Roma soar.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (Chiara Zucchelli) Rehearsals before the African Cup of Nations? It may be too soon to tell, but even so, during yesterday’s friendly at Trigoria against the Primavera, Luciano Spalletti may have given the first indication of his plans when he used a 3-4-3 formation against Alberto De Rossi’s team. Perotti played more on the right hand side of the attack than El Shaarawy – il Faraone was therefore able to play on his preferred wing, and that is probably not just a coincidence. Just as it may not have been a coincidence that Spalletti continued to insist on playing a 3 (and a half) man defence, which could be entrenched as Roma’s Plan A now that Rudiger has returned to full fitness.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (Francesco Oddi) 3 goals in his last 2 games, a brace against Austria Vienna and one slipped between the keeper’s legs in the 4-1 win over Palermo: El Shaarawy is the current poster boy of a Roma team who have got to within 2 points of Juventus. In a week like that, he can allow himself to borrow the dab dance, used by others including Paul Pogba, so that he could celebrate with Paredes, and at the same time preach humility and calm. He has also taken responsibility for things that weren’t his fault, like the lead that was lost in the Europa League which came after he had been substituted. “It was a great victory [against Palermo], because we didn’t make the same mistake we made against Austria Vienna, which was giving stupid balls away to the opposition – we kept the ball and managed the game. We’re happy and we just need to keep being as consistent as we are at the moment.”
Roma closed out the season with a comfortable win away at Milan, and had there been a few games more it’s possible that they would have edged out Napoli in the race for second. In the end it was a creditable third place finish, and the dour play in the latter stages of the Rudi Garcia era has been long forgotten after Luciano Spalletti took over for his second spell in charge of the club. There have been failings at all levels during the course of the season – from owners, directors and players, not to mention Franco Gabrielli and Roma’s relationship with the former prefect of Rome – but the club’s recovery in the second half of the season to secure Champions League football again mean it should be seen as a positive campaign overall. Continue reading
Roma marched onto 7 straight league wins on Friday night with a win over Fiorentina that was far more comfortable than was expected. Although the Viola were outclassed by Tottenham in the Europa League, they held Napoli to a draw last week and were unbeaten in 7 coming into the game. In the end though, Roma scored 4 and could have had a couple more, while Fiorentina’s only goal was a disputed penalty.
Although there is still a long way to go this season, Roma are already preparing for next term in the transfer market – and according to La Repubblica the squad may be rejuvenated (in the real sense of the word) this summer.
The 2-0 victory that Roma emerged with from the Stadio Mapei hardly tells the story of the game Sassuolo on Tuesday night. A brilliant first half, arguably the best Roma have played all season, was followed by a tense second 45 minutes that even saw Sassuolo miss a penalty before the Giallorossi eventually wrapped up a vital three points. Continue reading