Barring the season here and there where everything comes down to the last matchday, the final match of the season can often be a bit anticlimactic. Roma’s place in the table is relatively secure, they’re not one of the three clubs jousting for Champions League placing, and to be frank, nearly everyone’s mind is already on the summer transfer window. We’re already at the point in silly season where a striker following José Mourinho on Instagram means that journalists write articles claiming he’s already on a flight to Fiumicino Airport.
Spezia vs. Roma: May 23rd. 20:45 CET/2:45 EDT. Stadio Picco, Spezia.
While you shouldn’t expect the transfer rumors to get any less crazy over the next couple of months, maybe you can take solace in one last actual football match before the summer truly gets going. I know I will.
January 23rd: Roma 4, Spezia 3
Matchday Nineteen in Serie A went a whole lot better for the Giallorossi than their flameout in the Coppa Italia against this same Spezia side a few days prior. A goal from Lorenzo Pellegrini sealed a rather free-flowing and high-scoring affair, but it would be remiss to ignore the brace from Borja Mayoral that put Roma in the position to be winning this one at all. Leonardo Spinazzola also had quite a match, suggesting that maybe his dentist was right about that whole “keeping your teeth healthy keeps the ACL tears away” business. Here’s what bren had to say post-match:
Roma needed a win today, simple as that. And while it took a herculean effort to defeat newly promoted Spezia, a win was precisely what Roma got, albeit a far more dramatic one than anyone had anticipated. There were still the usual concerns—some sloppy defending at the back, particularly in terms of clearances, while Pau Lopez was, well, Pau Lopez—but you have to love the spirit with which Roma played, particularly after every conceded goal, but especially after Verde’s late equalizer. In each instance, Roma came storming back, hunting for a goal, and could have easily put five or six past Spezia.
The Giallorossi don’t necessarily need a win today in the same way they did in the first match of this tie, but nevertheless, it would be nice for all involved to tie this season up in a nice little bow with a win over a minnow-like Spezia.
What To Watch For
Fonseca’s Last Match
Of course, the end of Roma’s season also means that Paulo Fonseca’s time with the Giallorossi is coming to a close. Fonseca has been incredibly professional about the parting of the ways, saying recently that
I am proud to have been the Roma coach, I’ve learned a lot here. Fans have always been kind to me, I leave Roma, but the club and these fans remain in my heart... Probably the nicest thing is the relationship I’ve created with people (around the club), with you journalists, with the fans and everyone who’s worked with me over the last two years. It was a respectful and honest relationship.
This is probably the first time since Rudi Garcia that a manager has come in to Rome and left with a better reputation than they had before. One of the reasons you can tell that’s true is the wide variety of jobs Fonseca is already linked to for his next move: Tottenham, Wolves, and Fiorentina all appear interested in bringing him on as a manager. A lot of that goodwill probably comes down to the relationships Fonseca mentions in that quote; he has always seemed to work well with others, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad word about him personally come from anyone even tangentially associated with the club.
We’ll have more on Fonseca’s Farewell coming in the next few days, but don’t be surprised to see the squad play with a little more oomph this weekend to send Fonseca off on the right foot. That certainly seemed to help in the Derby.
Darboe, Darboe, Darboe
Besides the signing of José Mourinho, the biggest story of the tail end of Roma’s season has been the breakout of Ebrima Darboe. With rumors suggesting that he will play a role in Mourinho’s new-look Roma side this fall and that a contract renewal is in the offing, it would be smart to bet on seeing a lot more of Darboe over the next season or two.
Again, this match itself isn’t too important for Roma in the grand scheme of things, but another chance to see the Gambian midfielder lace up for the Giallorossi is as good a reason as any to watch Roma right now (for however long that can last: that same rumor mill pointing to a renewal for the teenager is also suggesting that clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham are looking to sign him, so who knows how long he stays in a Giallorossi kit).
This poll is closed