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A Newly-Emboldened Borja Mayoral Leads Roma Against Genoa

Can Roma beat Genoa without COVID-stricken Edin Džeko?


If you’ve been paying attention to the news of the world for the past week or so, you’ll know that things here in the United States are just a little on edge at the moment. Particularly for a guy like me, this has been a week of late nights, early mornings, and even more caffeine than usual. Despite that, and somehow despite the rise in COVID-19 cases throughout Europe, Serie A is trudging on, and with it comes Roma’s match tomorrow against Genoa C.F.C., currently sitting in 16th place on the table.

Genoa vs. Roma: November 8th. 15:00 CET/9:00 EST. Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa.

What To Watch For

Is This A Major Mayoral Moment?

AS Roma v CFR Cluj: Group A - UEFA Europa League Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Of course, the biggest storyline for this match will be the absence of Edin Džeko, who was recently diagnosed with the coronavirus. Before Roma’s midweek match against Cluj, I think a lot of Romanisti would have been far more worried about the prospect of losing the Bosnian Diamond for a couple weeks than they are now. It’s still far from ideal, but the excellent performance of Borja Mayoral against the Romanian side brings hope that the Giallorossi may have finally found a decent vice-Džeko after a long and arduous search.

Playing against Cluj and playing against Genoa are two different situations, though; even though Genoa have been far from impressive this season, any Serie A club is going to present more challenges to an attacker than a Romanian club. Fonseca asked for patience with Mayoral in his pre-match press conference, saying:

“A young player like Borja is going to need some time. That’s normal. It’s been the same with Carles Perez, with Gonzalo Villar. We need to give some time to these young players as they adjust to a tactically complicated league like Italy’s. And they have to be given the opportunity to grow and improve.”

Nevertheless, with Džeko most likely out for at least a couple weeks, this is the closest Mayoral will get to a golden opportunity. If he can find the net once against against Il Grifone, his temporary stay in Rome is even more likely to become permanent.

The Return of Gianluca Scamacca

Genoa CFC v Torino FC - Serie A Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Remember Gianluca Scamacca? He was considered one of the biggest striker prospects to come through the Roma academy in quite some time, only instead of ever playing for Roma’s senior side, he moved to PSV Eindhoven at age 16 (reportedly for a rather nice paycheck). Well, he made little to no impact with PSV, and now he’s on loan at Genoa from Sassuolo. To quote the former regional manager of the people person’s paper people, “Oh, how the turntables”.

Scamacca’s looked interesting for Genoa so far, scoring four goals in four appearances across all competitions. Add in the fact that he’s only 21, and that’s led to a decent number of rumors that the Roman-born attacker may end up back in Rome one day soon. You have to assume that if Borja Mayoral actually establishes himself in Rome that Scamacca’s chances of rejoining the Giallorossi are slim to none, but still, in a match against a minnow, Gianluca is one to watch.

Can Fonseca Keep His Foot On The Gas?

AS Roma v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Photo by Silvia Lore/Getty Images

As CdT writers go, I’m pretty pro-Fonseca, and one of the big reasons for that is his ability to shift Roma’s mentality regarding playing the minnows. Just look at how Roma played against Cluj midweek; the five goals scored were all great, of course, but Fonseca made it clear after the match that he was even happier with the clean sheet:

“There were a lot of positives tonight, it’s always important not to concede a goal,” asserted Fonseca.

“Right now it looks like it was an easy match, but Cluj has attained good results this season. We started well, which always seems to help us.”

With previous managers like Rudi Garcia and Luciano Spalletti, Roma often collapsed under the weight of expectations against smaller sides, playing down to their competition instead of putting the match away with ease. These kinds of things can change in an instant, of course, but I’m hoping to see Fonseca once again find the balance between rotation and asserting dominance over I Rossoblu tomorrow. If he can continue to show that he’s actually shifted Roma’s mentality, he may become one of the few staff members from the Pallotta era who sticks around permanently for the Friedkin era.


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