We mentioned in our preview for the women's match against Verona the other day, but one simply never knows what to expect coming out of an international break: you either don't miss a beat or you look like a beer league team; there is no in-between. Throw Roma's injury woes and Sampdoria's managerial change into the mix, and this match was bound to skew towards the latter, uglier end of that spectrum
With sloppy play, a somewhat loose pitch, and inconsistent officiating, they would have been better off postponing this match. It was a disjointed, ugly, and just plain difficult to watch.
The first half was, well, it was 45 minutes long, let's just leave it at that. With Sampdoria getting their first taste of the Tinkerman and Roma suffering two ill-timed injuries, the first half of this match wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement for Italian football. To wit: Roma and Samp racked up a combined three attempts in the first half, none of which were on target. Not a single one. There's ugly, then there was that first half.
Things ticked up a bit as the sides came out from halftime, with Roma creating some pretty tidy passing networks along the wings, but they failed to generate any clear cut chances through the 75th minute. Roma's last gasp efforts were fueled in part by Diego Perotti, who was making his first appearance since Roma's August friendly against Arezzo, but the Argentine's play-making simply wasn't enough to break the deadlock.
Javier Pastore, forced into the game in the 8th minute for Cristante, had Roma's best chance of the match in the 79th minute when his low and hard effort from 20 yards out sailed just wide of the mark.
In the end, that was all she wrote. Fabio Quagliarella had a last second volley attempt, but it sailed harmlessly over the crossbar, and thanks to results elsewhere, Roma have slipped to sixth place on 13 points.
- Football may be a global sport, but the English certainly consider themselves stewards of the beautiful game, so it's no coincidence that the Marassi—built to originally house Genoa, a club designed and modeled to be as English as possible—offers perhaps the best environment to watch a match.
- That being said, there were a lot of empty seats today; it’s not a good look for league if large swaths of stadiums are empty.
- With Gabbiadini, Bertolacci and Murru, Sampdoria is home for the wayward “it kids” of Italian football. I suppose it's a reminder to us all to temper our expectations for most players—superstars are the exception but carving out a long, steady career is nothing to be ashamed of.
- I still cannot believe how far up the pitch Kolarov is positioned most of the time. It definitely helps facilitate the attack, but I'd be curious to know if Roma leaks more goals down that side of the pitch.
- I was a bit unsure of his signing, but Gianluca Mancini has been pretty impressive lately. He's strong, mobile, composed and likes to jump into the attack. He was the perfect addition for this defense.
- Although he didn't score, Roma's attack was far more balanced—with better spacing and quicker passing—the moment Edin Dzeko came on for Kalinic. At this point, he has to be considered the best striker the club has had in the modern age, right?
- Going along with that, they really need to figure out a Dzeko succession plan immediately. Dzeko's game has aged well, but whether it's Zan Celar or someone else entirely, they need a young and legitimate second option sooner rather than later.
- Diego Perotti came on in the 75th minute and immediately made his presence known. Based on pure talent alone, he's one of the best players of the American era, but inconsistencies and injuries have hampered his career. Still a joy to watch when he's in-form though.
- Jordan Veretout won't stuff the stat sheet, but his relentless energy, tactical intelligence and bag of skills are so crucial to Fonseca Football.
- Injuries haven't helped, but the balls-to-the-wall Fonseca Football we thought we were getting has all but disappeared.
Out of Context Tweet-of-the-Match
Technical difficulties on ESPN+....which is how I'd describe this match thus far— Chiesa di Totti (@chiesaditotti) October 20, 2019
Roma resume Europa League play on Thursday the 24th when they host Gladbach at the Olimpico.