With Roma suddenly reeling after their 3-0 start to the season, dropping points in three straight matches in early October, Alessandro Spugna and the rest of the Giallorosse faced a monumental task last weekend: correcting course against then league-leading Sassuolo. We say then league-leading because, thanks to a brace from Valeria Pirione, Roma beat Sassuolo 2-0, upending the top of the Serie A Femminile table in the process. As a result, Sassuolo slid into second place behind Juventus while Roma climbed back into fourth place, five points behind Sassuolo for the league's final Champions League place.
This weekend's opponents, Hellas Verona, have struggled mightily this season. Currently mired in 11th place with only one point through their first seven matches, Hellas Verona is no match for Roma, or any other club for that matter. If that single, solitary point isn't enough to convince you of the Mastiff's struggles this year, then perhaps their -16 goal differential should seal the deal. Only Lazio, who haven't managed to scrape together a single positive result (zero points) this season, have spared Verona the ignominy of pulling up last in the league, but Lazio has at least score more goals than Verona: 4 to 3.
Hellas Verona vs. Roma: November 6th. 14:30 CET/9:30 EDT. Sinergy Stadium, Verona.
Needless to say, this won't be the toughest match Roma has ever faced, but we probably said the same thing when the men first faced Bodø last month, right? In fact, Verona took the honors the last time these sides met in March, a 1-0 victory, which remains their last league win. There's bad, then there's that.
So, on the one hand, this match looks like a cakewalk, but it has more than a few of your classic Roma Happened trappings. And in order to avoid catastrophe, Spugna and the Giallorosse better treat this match like a World Cup final.
With that in mind, let's take a quick look at a few of the possible keys to victory for Roma on Saturday.
What to Watch For
You Gotta Stop Cedeño
With only three goals in seven matches, Hellas Verona own the league's most pitiful attacking record at the moment, but they do have one bright, shining beacon: Lineth Cedeño. The 20-year-old Panamanian striker has taken to life in Serie A quite well, scoring all three of Verona's goals: two in the run of play and one from the spot. With only one of those goals coming with an assist, Verona's attack has been Cedeño or bust, making Roma's task tomorrow rather simple: just don't let her score.
Can Pirone Keep the Party Going?
In last week's write-up, we asked whether or not Roma could score more than one goal. While that seemed like a rather elementary question to ask, with Roma's vaunted attack struggling early in the season, there was no avoiding that particular problem. Valeria Pirone answered that question with aplomb, scoring both of Roma's goals last weekend, but can she—along with Benedetta Glionna, Andressa Alves, and Annamaria Serturini—repeat that feat?
"If we want to build on the win over Sassuolo, we're going to need another great performance."— AS Roma Women (@ASRomaWomen) November 5, 2021
️ Alessandro Spugna previews Saturday's game against Verona...#ASRomaWomen #ASRoma pic.twitter.com/w2xahGT4xx
It won't take much to topple Verona of course, but Roma can gain back a bit of their street cred with a resounding victory, something on the order of three or four to nothing. It may sound like a page torn from the pre-playoff period of college football, where schools routinely ran up the score to garner the favor of AP pollsters to get higher seedings and a better bowl berth, but a Bodø-style whooping would serve Roma well tomorrow, both as a statement to the rest of the league and a shot of self-confidence, proof that their once dormant attack is alive and well.