I can’t speak for all of you of course, but an absence of Roma matches on any given weekend is always an odd affair—something just doesn’t feel quite right without that gut wrenching feeling in your stomach on a Sunday morning. Fortunately we had the World Hand Egg Championships last nite to distract us, but if you’re anything like me, you couldn’t have cared less about Ol’ Dimple Chin’s performance last nite.
So, with all of that behind us, let’s focus on the task at hand, a home tilt against seventh place Fiorentina. Roma’s recent results against the Viola are a bit of a mixed bag. After falling to Fiorentina in the Europa League in 2015, Roma waxed their purple foes 6-2 on aggregate in league play last season.
Roma v. Fiorentina: February 7th. 20:45 CET/2:45 EST. Stadio Olimpico, Roma.
Occupying nearly the same historical strata, these clubs are almost kindred spirits; you simply never know what to expect when these complementary colors square off. Case in point...
September 18, 2016: Fiorentina 1, Roma 0
As you can tell from the highlights, this was a vintage Roma loss: lots of movement and chances created, but precious little to show for it. On this night, Edin Dzeko went 0-5, being denied and/or missing a couple of golden chances. This, then, left the door wide open for Fiorentina to capitalize on Roma’s lack of precision in the final third, which is exactly what happened when Milan Badelj clanged one off the post in the 82nd minute to give the Viola three points.
Avoid the Same Mistakes
Given that we’re less than 24 hours from kickoff, my self-imposed preview deadline, we’ll keep this one remarkably brief. Plain and simple, Roma cannot repeat the mistakes from the first fixture, and indeed the horror show we saw against Sampdoria, if they have any chance of grabbing three points at home tomorrow.
One of the benefits of playing so late in the round is that you know what must be done. Juventus, Napoli, Lazio and even Atalanta each got the job done over the weekend, with Napoli temporarily leapfrogging Roma on the table, so three points are an absolute must tomorrow if the Giallorossi want to retain second place (the Scudetto is gone, get over it). Any slippage tomorrow and not only is second place gone, but suddenly we’re in a three-way dogfight for third place.
As far as the lineups are concerned, Diego Perotti managed to recover and has been included in the squad list, while Mohamed Salah, now officially done with AFCON, is still recuperating from the tournament. All of which means we’ll most likely see the standard starting eleven, Edin Dzeko supported by Radja Nainggolan and friends, with Federico Fazio holding down the fort at the back.
Can the same old crew avoid the same old mistakes?