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Serie A Matchday 21 Wrap-Up: A Mixed Bag of Results for Roma

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The Giallorossi’s loss at Juve was disheartening, but the race for the top four is still wide open.

Genoa CFC v SSC Napoli - Serie A Photo by Loris Roselli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Roma’s trip to the Allianz Stadium was always going to be a tricky affair. When taking into account the Giallorossi’s dismal record in Turin since the Allianz opened and their record against the rest of the top seven this season, it was always going to be unlikely that Roma would walk away with maximum points. And although it wasn’t a vintage Juve performance, the Giallorossi again left Turni empty-handed.

This defeat, maybe more than any other this season, most directly affected Roma on the table in a negative way. With the defeat, Juve leapfrogged Roma into third with a match in hand still to be played. The loss, coupled with the existing gap with the two Milanese clubs, means that Roma for all intents and purposes will likely be looking at fourth place or bust from here on out.

There were actually a few results that Roma could take solace in. Some of the Giallorossi’s direct competition threw away brilliant opportunities to take advantage of Roma dropping all three points. Roma got a helping hand from Torino, as well as Genoa as they took points off Atalanta and Napoli respectively. However, old friends Eusebio Di Francesco and Radja Nainggolan couldn’t lead Cagliari to a key result against Lazio, which means Roma is now tied with Lazio on 40 points.

So, let’s run down the results from Matchday 21 and see where Roma stands after dropping yet another match to a top side.

Serie A Matchday 21 Results

Fiorentina 0, Inter 2

The matchday kicked off on Friday with Inter looking no worse for the wear after its Coppa Italia defeat at the hands on Juve on Tuesday. Antontio Conte had his side ready for the trip to Florence and Inter took all three points from the Viola. Midfielder Nicolò Barella again starred for the Nerazzurri.

Barella would’ve opened the scoring early had it not been for a splendid save from Dragowski. However, there was nothing Dragowski could do about Barella’s stunning strike in the 31st minute. That lovely hit put Inter up 1-0.

But rather than dampen the spirits of the Viola, it enlivened them. Shortly thereafter Fiorentina had its best chance at leveling the score and had it not been for Samir Handonovic and the crossbar the match would’ve been all square. The Nerazzurri survived that flurry to go into halftime with an advantage.

The second half didn’t see a ton of clear cut chances, but Inter was able to find a second goal early on to seal the deal. Ivan Perisic slotted home a cross from Hakimi in the 52nd minute. That was all Inter needed to provisionally top the table until Milan played on Sunday.

Atalanta 3, Torino 3

This one was probably the best match of the weekend and certainly the most surprising result. La Dea opened this match on fire and it looked like the result would never be in doubt. Atalanta scored three times in a seven-minute span and led 3-0 by the 21st minute. It looked like the result was signed, sealed, and delivered, and the rest of the match would be elementary for Gasperini’s side.

In fact, it looked like this could turn into a 7-0 romp. But, this match turned out to be far from over. Torino ended the half with a flurry of its own. Andrea Belotti would put in the rebound of his own penalty miss and Bremer would score just minutes later to send the teams to the locker room separated by just one goal.

The second half would make for entertaining viewing as both teams would hit the bar once, as the Granata desperately sought the equalizer. Torino found what it was looking for as substitute Federico Bonazzoli scored a lovely header in the 84th minute.

It was a huge point for the Granata as it looks to avoid the relegation zone. Meanwhile, it was also a huge result for Roma, as the two dropped points mean La Dea still trails the Giallorossi by three in the race for fourth.

Genoa 2, Napoli 1

This result wasn’t quite on the shocking level of the Atalanta-Torino match considering Genoa’s hot form over the last couple of months. However, seeing the Grifoni take all three points off of the Partenopei certainly can be classified as an upset.

A Genoa side full of ex-Roma men (Destro, Zappacosta, Strootman, and Scamacca) certainly did Roma a solid here. But it was actually the ex-Lazio and Napoli man, Goran Pandev, who starred in this one.

The Macedonian turned back the clock with a vintage performance that spelled doom for his ex-side. Goals by Pandev in the 11th and 27th minutes meant that Genoa went into the half up 2-0. However, Napoli wouldn’t go down without a fight.

Genoa survived a second-half onslaught from Napoli that saw Lorenzo Insigne hit the woodwork, Mattia Perin make a fine save, and plenty of other chances go begging. Napoli did manage to get one when Matteo Politano capitalized off a Genoa giveaway, but it was too little too late.

It was yet another impressive result for the Grifoni under Ballardini’s guidance as they’ve climbed from the relegation zone all the way to 12th in the table. Meanwhile, it was a poor result for Napoli, who remain three behind Roma. Next time Pandev is in the capital, Paulo Fonseca may want to take him to dinner for this one.

Milan 4, Crotone 0

In what was probably the most predictable result of the weekend, top of the table Milan took care of business against cellar-dwelling Crotone. However, don’t let the lopsided scoreline take away from the fact that the Calabrese side made this a match for a good 60 minutes.

Credit to Crotone for actually going into halftime down just 1-0 while slightly leading the possession battle and just about equaling Milan in just about all the other team stats. However, the gulf in quality meant that sooner or later the Rossoneri would break this one open as Crotone never truly threatened Gigi Donnarumma.

Milan struck three times in six minutes to put this one on ice between the 64th and 70th minutes. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ante Rebic each scored a brace as Milan remained top of the table with a 4-0 home victory.

Lazio 1, Cagliari 0

In what was a fairly lackluster match overall, Cagliari hung around with the Biancocleste for most of the match. But with Cagliari focused on defending and counterattacking the Sardi couldn’t find a breakthrough. And when you cede more than 60% of possession to Lazio, sooner or later the Biancoceleste usually find a breakthrough.

And that’s exactly what happened when Ciro Immobile broke the deadlock in the 61st minute. Cagliari never truly threatened Pepe Reina’s goal, so Immobile’s 14th goal of the season was more than enough to see off the visitors.

The win was Lazio’s sixth in a row and Roma’s Eternal City rivals have catapulted all the way to 4th after starting the season very slowly. Cagliari for its part is now firmly entrenched in the relegation battle after picking up just one point in its last six matches and going winless in 14 straight.

Other Results

  • Sassuolo 1, Spezia 2
  • Benevento 1, Sampdoria 1
  • Udinese 2, Hellas Verona 1
  • Parma 0, Bologna 3

FiveThirtyEight Top Four Probabilities

FiveThirtyEights projects a tight race for 4th place.
https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/soccer-predictions/serie-a/

If there was one thing this weekend’s results did, they seem to have opened up a three-team race at the top with four others fighting it out for fourth. Inter remains the favorite to lift the Scudetto according to FiveThirtyEight and now has a 44% chance of doing so according to the projection site. Meanwhile, Milan and Juve are both hovering just under 25%. Additionally, all three of those sides are now projected to have a greater than 80% chance of finishing in a top 4 place.

All three of those teams' chances were buoyed by the fact that Napoli, Roma, and Atalanta all dropped points. Atalanta remains the computers’ choice to finish fourth but did see its probability drop from 54% to 41% with its draw this weekend. Roma remained fairly stagnant after going from 40% to 39%. Napoli also took a decent hit dropping from 41% to 32%. Meanwhile, despite winning it's sixth straight and holding the tiebreaker over Roma for fourth, Lazio sees its probability rise just four points from 25% to 29%.

For whatever reason, the computers seem to think that Lazio won’t maintain its current hot streak while Atalanta is still viewed favorably despite sitting 7th. That’s certainly interesting and likely will be very fluid over the coming weeks, considering four teams are separated by three points in the race for fourth with 17 matches to play.

Poll

Who is the biggest obstacle to Roma securing a CL place?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Lazio
    (25 votes)
  • 6%
    Napoli
    (9 votes)
  • 15%
    Atalanta
    (21 votes)
  • 58%
    itself
    (78 votes)
133 votes total Vote Now