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Sinners & Saints: Parma vs. Roma

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Sure, there were tired legs, but that doesn’t mean there were any saints on the field yesterday.

Parma Calcio v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Well, the streak of good fortune for Roma had to end eventually; I just wish it didn’t end in a dull 2-0 loss to mid-table Parma. The best thing I personally got out of this match was seeing Gervinho again, and I never loved Gervinho that much to begin with. Thankfully, the international break is here, giving Fonseca some time to regroup and injured players the chance to recuperate. Before that break officially starts, though, it’s time to release the Sinners and Saints for the Parma - Roma match.

The Sinners

The Injury Gods

AS Roma v SSC Napoli - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

It was honestly a miracle that Roma was able to string together good form these past couple of weeks, with seemingly every other player on the injured list. No matter how good Paulo Fonseca has been at making things work despite this injury crisis, a loss was going to happen, simply because of tired legs and a short bench. Add in the fact that Leonardo Spinazzola suffered a muscle injury in the first half, and as much as you wanted Roma to beat Parma yesterday, the Injury Gods didn’t have that in their plans.

Simply put, Roma needs Lorenzo Pellegrini, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Bryan Cristante back in the fold (not to mention Spinazzola and Amadou Diawara back at full health). The past month has shown what Fonseca can do even with limited options; if there’s one silver lining, it’s that I’m incredibly excited to see what this Giallorossi squad can do at full strength. But that silver lining of proficiency with major injury woes does not mean Roma can get to the top four with so many players out.

Paulo Fonseca’s Rotations (Kind Of)

Parma Calcio v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Fonseca has been incredible this past month, retooling Gianluca Mancini into a midfielder when necessary, unlocking Nicolo Zaniolo and making him look like a superstar, and working through a huge number of injury issues (as mentioned before). However, that doesn’t mean he’s been perfect, and the loss to Parma illustrates one issue that hopefully won’t grow over time: his reticence to rotate at certain positions.

Where was Alessandro Florenzi when Leonardo Spinazzola got injured? Is Davide Santon really a better option at right-back, even given Fonseca’s tactical style? With so many midfielders injured, wouldn’t now be the time to give a young midfielder with gobs of potential like Alessio Riccardi a chance?

I won’t pretend to be anywhere close to qualified to be a manager for a beer league side, let alone one of the biggest football clubs in Italy. At the same time, I have to hope that particularly once Roma is back to full health, Fonseca will bring more rotation into the side. It’s not realistic to expect success in any competition if you don’t rotate while playing in three.

Alessandro Florenzi’s Continued Giallorossi Career

Parma Calcio v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

This one’s related to Fonseca’s rotational reticence; where on Earth was Alessandro Florenzi against Parma? The Roma manager has repeatedly said that Florenzi is available to play if needed, but the Italy international hasn’t seen the pitch in a while. Sure, Florenzi isn’t Francesco Totti or Daniele De Rossi, but he’s not a complete black hole at right-back (especially compared to the lack of options Roma has in that position). In my personal opinion, a good manager is able to shift their tactics to fit the players they have. We’ve seen Fonseca do the inverse, shift players into his tactics, with surprising success (just see Gianluca Mancini in the midfield, for example). Why hasn’t Fonseca found a way to incorporate Florenzi into even the rotation somehow? It can’t be too hard to turn a Swiss Army Knife of a player into a useful part of this Roma squad, particularly when the squad is at bare bones.

Regardless of how Paulo Fonseca feels about Florenzi, Italy CT Roberto Mancini still sees the full-back as an important part of the Azzurri set-up. Even so, if Flo’ doesn’t get play time following the international break, it wouldn’t be absurd to predict that he may request a transfer out to maintain his hold on that place in the Azzurri. I for one hope that doesn’t happen; we’ve already lost quite a few Romans in the past couple years, and Florenzi’s determination and love of the Giallorossi can’t be replaced, no matter how hard you try.

Saints

Parma Calcio v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Sorry, no saints in a 2-0 loss to Parma. I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them.