And just like that, Roma have quietly won three games in a row, blitzing Empoli with four first-half goals to come out 4-2 winners Sunday evening. Is it time to finally put the torches and pitchforks away? Or did Roma’s second-half performance do just enough to warrant you keeping them by your bedside?
Despite less than convincing performances against both Cagliari and Lecce, Roma went into the Empoli match riding a two-game win-streak, presenting the Giallorossi with an opportunity to put even greater distance between them and their disappointing results to start the year.
A brace by Tammy Abraham and goals by Sérgio Oliveira and Nicolo Zaniolo were the difference on the day, giving Roma just enough of a cushion before Empoli pulled two goals back in the second half. And having said that, we return to everyone’s favorite series here at CdT, where I examine three things I either liked, or didn’t like, from the match.
A Tale of Two Halves
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...”. Are we talking Charles Dickens or Roma’s match against Empoli? Unfortunately, it’s the latter here, as Roma did just enough to make for a nervy finish, allowing Empoli to crawl back with two second-half goals after the Giallorossi ran absolutely riot in the first half, scoring four to seemingly put the game out of reach—a 6-0 or 7-1 final scoreline wasn’t out of the realm of possibility going into the interval, such was Roma’s dominance in the first half.
Truthfully, as poor as the second half was for Roma, I was never really worried about the result, I assumed a fifth goal for Roma was far more likely than Empoli coming back entirely from a four-goal deficit.
But having said that, it’s still clear that there’s tremendous work to be done by both the players and Mourinho before Roma becomes a complete, full 90-minute team. The Giallorossi will certainly lament not killing the game off and having the finish becoming far nervier than it ever needed to, which ties in exactly to what Mourinho has been calling out for in terms of needing to transform the mentality of this team.
Once again, Oliveira was MOTM for me, and I don't need much more convincing that Roma should activate his buy option in the summer. For those who listen to our podcast wondering if I made good on my threat to impulsively purchase his jersey should he continue to perform? Well, perhaps, but that is another story...
Tammy Two-Goals May Not Be Long For Roma
Man, Tammy is growing on me more and more with every passing game. The work rate, the goals, the passion, he has all the characteristics you’d want in your starting striker. And what a performance against Empoli, scoring two goals to become the first Englishman since David Platt to score double-digit goals in Serie A. Many a Romanisti were worried how the club would replace Edin Dzeko, who, although frustratingly inconsistent at times, was a staple for this side throughout his time in Rome, but it seems as if the club has found the perfect replacement in Abraham, who has 17 goals across all competitions thus far. Admittedly, I was skeptical of his signing when it was first announced, but I have no shame in admitting I’m completely on the hype train now.
Having said all that, it’s a shame that Tammy isn’t likely to be a Roma player for a lengthy amount of time if he keeps up this current run of form, with the youngster almost certainly to have a host of Premier League clubs looking to bring him back to England in the near future, or with the rumored 80 million euro buy-back clause that Chelsea have the ability to activate. It’s a shame the Lukaku experiment hasn’t worked just yet, I’d sleep a lot better at night knowing Chelsea were satisfied with their current crop of strikers.
This International Break Comes At The Worst Time
I can’t stress this enough but I absolutely despise the international break. I’m well aware of the value of international football and its importance in growing the game, and I get hyped for the major international tournaments as much as the next person, but man, is it just me, or does the international break always seem to come at the worst possible time for Roma?
In recent memory, I can only think of the international break from this past November, as one that’s been a reprieve for the club, rather than a momentum-killer. If you remember, that was following the October from hell, where we went winless against three top-four rivals AND had the Bodø debacle.
It’d be one thing if Roma were able to use this international break as an opportunity to get players back from injury/covid, and while this does give Spinazolla and Pellegrini more time to recover before league play resumes, the Giallorossi are still relatively healthy, so it’s difficult to frame the break as anything other than a momentum killer. Sure, one could argue that the break allows some of the players to recover from fatigue and little knocks, but for the players called up to their national team, there’s no reprieve in sight.
Well, that’s all from me. Following the international break, Roma host Genoa in a match that will be vitally important in terms of both maintaining momentum in the lead up to their quarterfinal matchup with Inter in midweek, and their continued success in the league, with the Giallorossi finding themselves back in the hunt for a coveted top-four spot. Currently, Roma finds themselves just five points back of Atalanta, who have a game in hand, and although Roma will need their rivals to continue to drop points if they want to find themselves back in the top four, it’s still all to play for this season for the Giallorossi.