The dawn of a new season is always cause for celebration. With the anxieties of the transfer market in the rear-view mirror, we're free to indulge our wildest footballing fantasies: could this be the year? Will this new coach be the one to unravel the mystery that is Roma? Can all these new signings propel us to the top of the table?
While both of Roma's senior teams experiences their share of ups and downs in September, there was ample reason to be excited for the 2019-2020 season. Paul Fonseca's attack at all costs philosophies were kitted out with players ideally suited to his approach, while Betty Bavagnoli was gifted one of the best midfielders on the market, Manuela Giugliano, to go along with a deeper and more diverse attack.
It was an exciting month all around, so let's take a look back on all the highs and lows.
Story of the Month: The Arrival of Fonseca Football
We all knew that Fonseca Football had the potential for some extremes, and Roma wasted no timing in proving that theory correct. There was no better example than the opener against Genoa. The Giallorossi put up three goals in an exciting offensive display, only to be pegged back three times by the Grifoni. Yeah, the defense needed some work.
While the makings of an exciting offensive team are there, we haven’t seen it on a consistent basis quite yet. Roma have had some offensive outbursts against Genoa, Sassuolo, and Bashiksihir, but also some clunkers, especially in the lone loss to Atalanta. The defense has shown signs of improvement, but work is still needed on both ends.
If Fonseca can get the Giallorossi playing to his liking then things could be exciting in the capital. However, the Portuguese tactician will need some time. Let’s just hope the Roma faithful are patient enough. Four wins, two draws, and a lone loss in all competitions should build optimism and keep the Roman heat off the manager.
High Point of the Month: The Last Gasp Win at Bologna
It would be easy to point to the offensive explosion against Sassuolo as the month’s high point; I mean, four goals is exciting. Nevertheless, the win at Bologna was a character builder. The Giallorossi had given up a 1-0 lead by conceding a questionable penalty, which was followed by a questionable red card to Gianluca Mancini. The Giallorossi were down a man against a tough team on the road. It was the type of match Roma would’ve lost last year.
Fortunately, this team didn’t give in, never giving Bologna a chance to take advantage of being up a man, stealing a victory at the death. Jordan Veretout made a slaloming run and unselfishly dished it wide to Lorenzo Pellegrini, who delivered a perfect cross for an Edin Dzeko winning header. It’s the kind of win that could make a big difference in the standings at the end of the season.
Low Point of the Month: The Loss to Atalanta
The only loss so far, at home against Atalanta, was probably the low point of September. After three wins on the trot, Roma’s morale was high people were convinced this side would fight for a Champions League place, perhaps even more. Roma had momentum going for them and Atalanta was supposed to be our next victim.
Alas, Atalanta played it smart and Roma had no chance. We were getting too cocky I guess. A dry two-nil loss and a lot of disappointed fans who expected much more from this game. Before Atalanta, Roma was swinging, scoring four goals against Sassuolo and Istanbul and scoring in extra time to grab the three points in Bologna, unleashing ecstasy in and around Rome. However, after this loss, they narrowly avoided a fiasco in Lecce while they couldn’t even hold a lead in Wolfsberger.
Things have changed since Atalanta and Roma desperately need a new benchmark before things take a turn for the worse.
Goals of the Month (tie): Justin Kluivert vs. Sassuolo, Annamaria Serturini vs Fiorentina.
In what was arguably Roma’s best first-half performance since the departure of The Holy Totti, we saw four splendid goals: Cristante’s powerful header, Dzeko’s tap-in and Miki’s low pile driver all were wonderful.
However, I pick the fourth goal from Justin Kluivert as that splitting pass from Pellegrini reminded me of those good old Totti days. The goal showed us exactly what this team is capable of under Fonseca. Fast paced, quick passing, aggressive, straight to goal…4-0 after not even 35 minutes. This was Fonseca Football at its best.
It what was arguably the toughest fixture for either senior side thus far, Roma facing last season’s runners up Fiorentina on the road a week after falling to Milan, Annamaria Serturini scored what could very well become the goal of the year, ripping a hole in the back of the net from nearly 30 yards out, and what’s more, it was the match-winner.
Serturini led the club in scoring last season, and if her performance thus far is any indication, Roma will go as far as she takes them.
Hero of the Month: Edin Dzeko
Roma made plenty of moves this summer, but it can be argued that none was better than retaining Dzeko. The Bosnian looked like a man reborn under Fonseca during the month of September, scoring five goals in seven matches in all competitions—none bigger than the last gasp winner at Bologna. Besides the goal scoring, his movement, hold up play, and work rate were vital to Fonseca implementing his style of football. A few more months like this and we could be looking at 15+ league goals from Dzeko.
Goat of the Month: Juan Jesus v Genoa
In a month where Roma only lost one match, there weren’t too many dreadful performances. Juan Jesus, now Roma’s fourth choice CB, was thrust into a starting role during the season opener and what a disaster it was. In what turned out to be a 3-3 draw, one that saw Roma let three leads slip away, JJ was directly responsible for two of Genoa’s goals. If the Brazilian was just a bit better, Roma would have two more points to its name.
Out of Context CdT Tweet of the Month
Omg, they are calling him Andrea Florenzi— Chiesa di Totti (@chiesaditotti) September 29, 2019
Well, that's a brief snapshot of September 2019, we'll be back in early November with our October 2019 retrospective.