With 36 matches already in the books, we've long since come to grips with where this current Roma squad succeeds and where they struggle. While this season has been replete with the typical ups and downs associated with any Serie A campaign, the highs and lows hit differently for one not so simple reason: José Mourinho. Given his legacy, his reputation, and the cult of personality that follows him, every emotion—whether positive or negative—gets played to the extreme.
After the club's quick start to the season (six straight wins and eight in their first 10), it felt like Mourinho's magic would take root sooner than anyone possibly expected. Then, of course, came the inevitable decline, a winter swoon in which the club dropped points in seven of ten matches. With the sky falling above them, many began to question whether or not Mourinho had lost his magic but the club responded in a resounding fashion, reeling off a 12-match unbeaten streak in Serie A; an impressive run that was halted by Inter Milan in late April.
While Roma was able to hang with the Champions League-chasing pack for much of the spring, with the season nearly complete, the Giallorossi's remaining target isn't quite as glamorous, but that doesn't make it any less important. A win today coupled with some help on Monday from Juventus (who face fifth-place Lazio) could put Mourinho’s men back in the driver's seat for a Europa League place next season—and it all starts now.