I wasn’t very thrilled when Aleksandar Kolarov signed for Roma: the Serbian’s last season at Manchester City showed him as an aged defender whose best days were behind him and I considered a lackluster signing from such a transfer wizard like Monchi. Plus, his past as a Lazio player was something I couldn’t ignore (but looking back, I have to acknowledge his decision to leave the dark side behind).
Boy, I’m glad to be wrong. Kolarov has been a stud at Roma, scoring vital goals and being rock solid at the back, besides providing a degree of experience that’s always important on a football team. Roma’s best signing this season so far, without a shadow of a doubt.
Which brings up this question: what to do with Emerson Palmieri? The Brazilian got struck by Roma’s curse of ACL injuries and has been recovering ever since. While Emerson seems to be coming back and we don’t know if he’s going to be same player before getting injured, it’s important to assess his role in the team and how can Roma adjust for this situation, considering Kolarov’s state of form.
These are my suggestions:
Play Both in a Back-Three with Two Wingbacks.
I’m not a fan of Kolarov’s last season with Manchester City, but Pep Guardiola slotted him at CB in a back-three during the vast majority of the time, thus developing Aleksandar in a new position. And while he was far from perfect in that role, it’s something that could be handy now at Rome.
Once Emerson gets healthy, Di Francesco could consider structure a back-three and slot Kolarov as the left CB and Palmieri as the left wingback. This is a setting that could work during rotation matches –Eusebio seems to be more inclined towards a back-four, but we’re only doing suggestions around here, guys- because the smaller teams have a tendency to not go against Roma with a lot of offensive emphasis, thus allowing for a bit experimentation with.
The majority of these players have experience playing with a 3-4-2-1 with Luciano and that could be a nice alternative if we want to have our two left-backs studs in the starting eleven. In this scenario, this would be my ideal lineup:
Manolas – Fazio – Kolarov
Florenzi – De Rossi – Strootman – Emerson
Radja – Perotti
Play Both in a Back Four
Like I said, Di Francesco seems a bit fonder of the back-four and seems to be his to-go lineup during the majority of the matches, especially against the big teams. And considering Roma’s knack to get the 95% of his players crocked at some point or another of the season, having both Kolarov and Emerson in the starting lineup could be a very likely scenario.
Naturally, the Serbian would play as the left-sided CB and Emerson would do his thing at left-back. This could work because Emerson is fast enough to track back after bombing forward, helping to not expose Kolarov since the latter could be a tad slow to cover the former. On the plus side, Kolarov has a decent feet and could do start our play from the back.
I think this is an option for emergency cases. Having a back-three makes for Kolarov to not feel so exposed in this regard, but in a back-four, we would only have one natural CB and that could be dangerous for Allison. But we saw Moreno and JJ playing as CB partners and they are both left-footed, so this could be a very likely scenario as the season unfolds.
This would be a very offensive lineup and might be best suited for matches against weaker opposition:
Florenzi – Manolas – Kolarov – Emerson
Strooman – De Rossi – Pellegrini
Radja – Perotti
Now, now, don’t go for the torches just yet! Listen, listen. Kolarov has been wonderful so far for the team, but he’s not getting younger and Roma is going to have a long season with a real chance of getting to the knockout stages of the Champions League included. Therefore, giving him a rest and using him as the twelfth player, as football guys call the most used sub in some parts of the world, could be a wise decision.
Emerson is a younger talent and while that kind of player tends to leave Roma in two or three years for greener and better pastures, it’s important to seize his capacities while we can.
Leave Emerson on The Bench
Emerson needs time to recover from his injury and it’s important he does it in a calm manner to not have a relapse; that could have very negative consequences for his career and for Roma’s season.
Let the young Brazilian recover slowly this season and leave Kolarov as the main man; if Emerson can overtake his place based on performances, then all the better for us–competition is something you always want to have in a team.
Plus, having these two guys as our options at left-back is a problem worth having.
What to do with Emerson and Kolarov?
This poll is closed
Play both in a back-three with two wingbacks.
Play both in a back-four.
Leave Emerson on the bench.
Anyway, we’ll leave to you to decide. Of all these options, which is your favorite?