With little more than three months remaining in the Serie A season, Roma find themselves in the fight of their lives for fourth place as only four points separate fourth place AC Milan from seventh place Lazio. Considering that there are literally millions of dollars at stake in that hunt, not to mention the future of several players and most likely Eusebio Di Francesco himself, every match, evening the seemingly mundane ones against bottom feeders like Frosinone, carries extra weight. By this point it's cliche and you're probably tired of hearing it, but until Roma claims that spot, and puts a bit of distance behind it too, it's the theme of the season.
Frosinone vs. Roma: February 23rd. 20:30 CET/2:30 EST. Stadio Stirpe, Frosinone.
There is good news, though—Roma have won three matches on the trot, defeating Chievo, Porto and Bologna in quick succession, and the only thing standing in the way of a four match winning streak is 19th place Frosinone, a club that has literally never beaten Roma and has only managed one goal in their three prior meetings.
Hey, speaking of...
September 26, 2018: Roma 4, Frosinone 0
Yeah, not much to rehash in this one, eh? Cengiz Ünder's second minute goal was all Roma needed to see off their less fortunate neighbors, though Javier Pastore, Stephan El Shaarawy and Aleksandar Kolarov would join the party before all was said and done. This match was really a continuation of their prior two meetings, with Roma making light work of their regional neighbors.
And with their real derby, an away trip to Porto coming up, and a few players sitting on yellows, Roma needs to make even quicker work of Frosinone tomorrow.
Frosinone: Don't *%&! Around
If you thought last weekend's opponent was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet—Frosinone makes Bologna look like world beaters. Through 24 matches, The Canaries have managed a league worst 17 goals while conceding 46, putting them even with Chievo for the league's worst goal differential, a whopping -29.
Frosinone have fielded 31 players thus far, including former Roma farmhand Federico Viviani, former Roma rumor target Marco Sportiello and even former Arsenal disappointment Joel Campbell—basically the standard grab bag of miscreants you'd expect from a relegation candidate.
Nevertheless, as the old adage goes, you should never underestimate your opponent, but EDF could dig out his old boots, run around for 90 minutes and Roma could still win this thing 3-1. No disrespect intended, but tomorrow's match is more about selections and execution than it is tactics.
EDF would be wise to give Nicolo Zaniolo a rest ahead of next week's actual derby, while any time off he can afford Daniele De Rossi would benefit Roma tremendously. As we saw last week, even at 35-years-old and running one and a half legs, De Rossi's influence on the midfield remains practically immeasurable.
Beyond that, it would be nice to see Justin Kluivert, Davide Santon and Ünder (if healthy) get some run in this relatively stress-free fixture. Even with a patchwork lineup, Roma should be able to cage these canaries in relatively short order.
So whether they run out their standard eleven, mix and match the lineup, or opt for a complete line change, Roma cannot toy with Frosinone; they have to put this thing away early, leaving little to no room for Frosinone to crawl back.