Last summer Roma spent big on Gerson to prise him away from Fluminense, much to the disappointment of Barcelona, but the Brazilian has taken time to settle in at the Giallorossi. After a slow first few months during which he primarily featured in the Europa League, he was given a chance by Luciano Spalletti to start last weekend’s game against Juventus but lasted just 45 minutes. In an interview with Globoesporte, Gerson says that he doesn’t believe he has made the wrong choice in joining Roma and is confident about his future with the Giallorossi.
Roma have been handed a tough draw in the Europa League Round of 32 with a tie against La Liga side Villarreal.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (Andrea Pugliese) It’s been nearly 3 and a half months – nearly as long as it took Rudiger to recover from a cruciate ligament injury – since we watched Vermaelen’s last proper game for Roma. It came on 28th August when the Giallorossi were away at Cagliari – a game that saw Roma contrive to draw a game that they looked to have won. Since then, the Belgian has dropped off the Giallorossi’s radar with an athletic pubalgia problem, only reappearing for a few minutes at the end of the recent home game against Pescara. However, it looks like he has now reached the light at the end of the tunnel. At least, that’s what both he and Roma will be hoping. The real indication of this will come tonight, when Vermaelen is expected to lead the Roma defence during their match in Bucharest against Astra Giurgiu in their final Europa League game.
Corriere dello Sport (Guido D’Ubaldo) Roma qualified for the knockout phase of the Europa League by finishing top of Group E with a game to spare. The star of last night was Edin Dzeko, scorer of a priceless hat-trick, his first in a Giallorosso shirt, while Perotti added to the 4-1 scoreline with a magical rabona. The Bosnian increased his haul for the season to 15 goals, 5 of which have now come in the Europa League. Roma have the best attack in the competition after Shakhtar, and have scored 4 goals against all 3 opponents in their group – as well as scoring 4 goals another 3 times in the league. Even so, Spalletti’s team encountered a few difficulties in the first half and went in level at half time after once again making a defensive error. However they were at their best in the second half against the Czechs, who are now out of the Europa League.
Il Corriere dello Sport (Roberto Maida) They were hoping for Francesco Totti, but they’ll get Riccardo Marchizza. The Austrian fans will be disappointed by this major absence, as Totti is suffering from a muscle problem he hasn’t quite been able to shake off, but they may also be preparing to see a completely new Roma side, full of the club’s excellent youngsters – freshly crowned Supercoppa champions – as their first team ravaged by injuries.
Il Tempo (Alessandro Austini) Roma-Austria Vienna: how to ruin everything in 2 minutes and dive back into a familiar tunnel. Roma took 3 steps forward and then as many back, giving away another lead – the 4th already this season – in a game that was virtually over against a modest team like Austria Vienna. In the 82nd minute they were 3-1 up, Spalletti was making substitutions with Palermo in mind (even though he brought on two first teamers in Salah and Dzeko, as well as Palmieri) and then, in the 84th minute, without even realising it, they found themselves level – just as they do in the group, which they lead together with the Austrians.
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.