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New Year, New Objectives for Roma?

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What should Roma’s focus be as we move into 2018?

AS Roma v US Sassuolo - Serie A
Di Franceso will look to get Roma out of it’s December funk in 2018.
Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

If you had asked what Roma’s objectives for the rest of the season should be after their derby victory on November 18 then my list would’ve read something like this:

  1. Making a legit run at the Scudetto
  2. Advancing out of their Champions League group
  3. Making a deep run in the Coppa Italia

However, that list now looks a bit different just about a month and a half later as the Giallorossi’s results have been underwhelming at best since that derby victory.

Roma will be glad to see December come to an end as the last month of 2017 was not particularly kind to the Giallorossi. The month started well when Roma clinched first place of their Champions League ahead of Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. However, things were downhill from there as Roma finished the month with a 3-2-2 record in all competitions. They crashed out of the Coppa Italia in the round of 16 against an average Torino side and managed to pick up only eight points in five Serie A matches. The seven dropped points are potentially devastating to what looked like a season that could become special back in mid-November.

Roma’s results were underwhelming at best in the month of December. December draws and loses are circled in red.
Google

As we enter 2018 the Serie A season has hit it’s midpoint with 19 weeks now in the books for 16 of the 20 teams (Roma, Lazio, Sampdoria, and Udinese all have a game to make up). As things currently stand Roma are fourth in Serie A with 39 points through 18 games. They trail leaders Napoli by 9, Juventus by 8, and Inter by 2 with all of those teams having completed 19 games.

Roma’s Scudetto hopes are now on life support thanks to their recent results mentioned earlier. As you can see in the graphics below from FiveThirtyEight, Roma were always outsiders to win the Scudetto in what we knew would be a transitional year. However, they were certainly a dark horse contender after their hot start. However, they are now projected to finish a whopping 13 points behind Juve with only a 3% chance of capturing the title.

Slide over the images to see Roma’s Scudetto chances post-derby and today.
FiveThirtyEight.com and FiveThirtyEight.com

With the Scudetto now seemingly a pipe dream and having been eliminated from the Coppa Italia, what should Roma focus on in the second half of the season? This is what I see as realistic goals for the remainder of the season.

  1. Secure a top 3 finish
  2. Advance to the UCL quarterfinals

With Italy again having four spots in next year’s Champions League Roma should aim for no less than qualification in next year’s competition. Even with their recent struggles Roma have been and are one of the four best teams in a very competitive Serie A. However, with Inter also struggling and lacking depth, I think the Giallorossi should aim a bit higher for third. It’s highly unlikely that Roma can catch Napoli or Juve but Inter is well within their grasp. I mean who really wants to see Spalletti finish above Roma?

In addition, the Giallorossi should make advancing out of their match-up with Shakhtar Donetsk a priority. If Roma realistically want to establish themselves in Europe then they can’t afford to lose to an inferior team in Europe’s elite competition. In addition the financial benefits of advancing deeper into the competition would be an added bonus. According to uefa.com the Giallorossi would receive an additional 6.5 million Euros if they make the quarterfinals. If they advance and get a reasonable draw then I think Giallorossi should make the Champions League even more of a priority since they could continue to build their brand and take in another 7.5 million in prize earnings. The semis at this point seem like a stretch but we’ve seen what the squad can do on any given night in Europe.

I think these objectives are well within reason. However, the team needs to amp up it’s goal scoring or 2018 can become as ugly as the end of 2017. Let’s hope that December was an aberration and not the new norm for our beloved Lupi.

Poll

What do you think of these objectives for the rest of the season?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    You think we’re that good?!
    (51 votes)
  • 59%
    You hit the nail on the head!
    (167 votes)
  • 21%
    C’mon we’re better than that!
    (61 votes)
279 votes total Vote Now