Our month in review series, which took quite a hit when the sport we love so much disappeared for three months, has always served as a quick and easy way to catch up on the all happenings in the month gone by—a simple reminder of the chaos that envelopes the Romaverse in any given month. But rather than us dictating to you what the stories of the month were, we turned it over to you, the reader.
After putting out the call earlier this month, we received a large number of responses and as a result, I’m pleased to present our first ever, reader produced month in review!
Story of the Month: Fonseca's Tactical Change
The return of Nicolo Zaniolo, the rise of Bruno Peres and the unexpected Roger Ibañez explosion all garnered votes, but Paulo Fonseca's switch from his preferred 4-2-3-1 to a more pragmatic 3-4-2-1 was your story of the month.
Here are some of your takes on Fonseca's tinkering:
Roma experiencing an all too rare sustained momentum/positivity with both short term and long term implications. Short term the formation shift has not only had Roma on a great run of form to cement 5th place, the football has been great to watch. After the last 8 games winning the Europa league is possible. In the long term player like Perez, Ibanez, Mancini, Villar, Veretout, Diawara, Calafiori, and most importantly Zaniolo all look like great players to build around moving forward. Nicolo truly looks like top player and the club’s commitment to keeping him in bad financial time is hopefully signs of things to come.
Well said, too bad about the Europa League bit didn't work out, though.
is it too obvious to say the 3-4-2-1? Fonseca has said that he still prefers the 4-3-3 and yet the results speak for themselves. It goes to show that even if Fonseca Football TM is an ideal designed for one system, the players can dictate a change if their performances in a new formation are that much better. I was worried about Fonseca’s inability to change tactics in the last Survey (along with his bangs) - the results of the survey proved me wrong about the bangs and the play since then has proved me wrong about tactical flexibility
Low Point of the Month: Three-Match Losing Streak
While the delay in handing the club over to Dan Friedkin was cited by 26% of you, with a whopping 56% of the vote, Roma's three match losing skid was the unquestioned low point of the month. After defeating Sampdoria to kick-off the restart, Roma dropped three straight matches to AC Milan, Udinese and Napoli, a stretch in which they were outscored 6-1.
It was an ugly way to restart the season, but Roma’s struggles through this period helped inspire Fonseca to change his tactics, and to great effect: Roma finished the Serie A season on an eight match unbeaten streak.
High Point of the Month: The Tactical Change
No surprise here, our story of the month was also the high point of the month! With 46% of respondents citing Fonseca's swapping of tactical systems, Roma's new 3-4-2-1 look edged out the return of Nicolo Zaniolo, the emergence of Roger Ibañez and even the debut of the new kits as the high point of July.
Click Bait Rumor of the Month: Luciano Spalletti, Take Three
This was a new feature for our monthly reviews, and as you can see it was an incredibly tight vote between anything related to Edinson Cavani coming to Roma and the return, for the third time, of Luciano Spalletti, who was quickly connected with a return to the Roma bench in the middle of Roma's three-match losing skid when it seemed like Fonseca's job might be in jeopardy.
Goal of the Month: Zaniolo Coast to Coast vs SPAL
It's so incredibly strange to watch a goal that remarkable in a completely barren stadium. While the Roma bench rose to their feet, you can't help but feel cheated that this stupendous effort from Zaniolo didn't bring the house down. Despite the lack of applause, this goal was your overwhelming choice for goal of the month, stacking up 76% of the votes. In fact, July was all about The Kid, as Zaniolo's strike against Brescia finished a distant second place with only 11% of ballots cast.
Player of the Month: Chris Smalling
His absence was certainly felt in Roma's 2-0 defeat to Sevilla in the Round of 16 Europa League match, but Smalling finished his first (and hopefully not last) season in the Italian capital on a high note and earned nearly twice as many votes as the runner up for July Player of the Month, Jordan Veretout.
With one goal, one assists and more blocks, clearances and heads-up intelligent plays than we can count, Smalling is your July Player of the Month, earning nearly 44% of all votes cast.
What Should Roma Focus on this Offseason?
This isn't a normal feature in our monthly reviews, but this wasn't a normal month by any measure. With a new owner in tow and a host of issues facing the club, we asked you what should be their top concern as we head into an abbreviated offseason.
There wasn't a consensus, but here is a sample of your responses:
Keeping our youngsters, improving our strikers, and potential snapping replacement. If we can get 2 of those three things I will be happy
Keeping the young core of talent, especially Zaniolo, Calafiori and Ibanez, and not spending big on old players or taking huge swings on some younger unproven players.
Keep Zaniolo FFS!
Keeping Chris Smalling
for once, selling in the offseason would be prudent for roma. we have a lot of players who are not getting time in this system and we might consider selling. there’s also a fair bit of dead weight aged players who should move on. on the buying front, depth at striker and center back are necessary. if they can’t bring back smalling then we need to find a replacement who can lead the line at a high level. i’d bring another CB in to compete with ibanez for a starting spot.
King louis XV said “apres moi le deluge” implying that after his reign, itd be a disaster. I am most concerned about apres dzeko. He’s old, grumpy and nobody seems very worried about setting up the next CF. Dopo dzeko, il diluvio.
Out of Context CdT Tweet of the Month
Thanks to a crazy fixture list, we just set a new publishing record for a single month. Huge thanks to @StevenSciavillo @JimmyMiotto and @inktiziani for all their hard work & thanks to you for reading, commenting and sharing--it means so much more to us than you can imagine. pic.twitter.com/9L6B1LEITt— Chiesa di Totti (@chiesaditotti) July 31, 2020
We usually reserve this space for a completely random and disconnected tweet, one usually fired off in the middle of a frustrating match, but, thanks to the compressed fixture list and all the ownership and stadium happenings, we eclipsed 100 posts in a single month—a new high-water mark for us.
So, once again, thank you to our excellent staff and thank you for reading, commenting, sharing and for taking part in this monthly survey!
So, what do you think: did July offer up any other noteworthy developments for Roma or the league as a whole?