Man, yesterday’s defeat to Napoli stings. Despite the build-up to this match being completely overshadowed by the Nicolo Zaniolo transfer drama, Roma put on arguably their best performance of the season, unfortunately coming just short in a tight 2-1 loss.
An early Victor Osimhen goal meant the majority of the match was an uphill battle for the Giallorossi, but a second-half Stephan El Shaarawy strike gave Roma just enough hope that they could steal all three points right up until Giovanni Simeone secured all three points for Napoli with five minutes to spare.
It’s always tough to go back and relive a defeat, but without further ado, let’s take a look at three things I noticed from Roma’s tough defeat to Napoli.
#1: Roma Are a Few Pieces Away
I think you can make a decent argument that the difference in the match against Napoli was depth, as Napoli has a wealth of attacking talent to sub on, whereas Roma was forced to send on their youngsters. Despite this, Roma still went toe-to-toe with Napoli, ultimately conceding the winning goal with just minutes to spare.
And, of course, this was all without Nicolo Zaniolo, who has been angling to leave the club and, as a result, was not called up for the match. It’s been rumored that Roma had Hakim Ziyech and Dušan Tadić lined up as replacements in the event a Zaniolo sale went through, but with Zaniolo likely to stay, it doesn’t seem like the Giallorossi will get the attacking reinforcements they’ve been crying out for.
Regardless, Roma’s performance shows that they’re just a few pieces away from truly being able to mount a Scudetto push. FFP will continue to be a massive roadblock when it comes to upgrading the team, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed that Roma put in the summer investment to really go for it next season.
#2: Il Faraone Continues to Make an Impact
I think El Shaarawy himself would tell you that his second stint with Roma hasn’t exactly gone to plan.
After leaving the club to play in China following the 2018/2019 season, SES returned to the club two years ago today. It’s been slow going for the winger, but SES has been on a great run of form since the restart, scoring in back-to-back games against Spezia and Napoli.
Il Faraone’s contract expires at the end of June, although the club has the option to extend for an additional year. If SES can continue this current run of form, I think it’d be a no-brainer for the club to extend his contract. Outside of Paulo Dybala, there are very few players at Roma who can create a moment of magic like SES can.
#3: February Looks More Promising
Look, as disappointing as this result is, I’m not sure that many of us were expecting Roma to come away with points in this one. Even still, you can argue Roma’s performance warranted a draw at minimum, so the defeat will sting for a bit.
Either way, there are still a ton of points to play for this season, and February represents an excellent opportunity for Roma to climb the table and develop a stranglehold on a top-four spot, as the Giallorossi have a relatively soft schedule. The light schedule, combined with the recent struggles of Roma’s rivals, gives Mourinho an excellent opportunity to use this tight defeat as a motivational tool that will propel Roma to a dominant run of form next month.
Shake this defeat off, get back on the horse, and keep plugging away.
Well, that’s all from me. Roma faces Cremonese next in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia, so there’s no time to dwell on this defeat, and I fully expect the Giallorossi to come out firing on all cylinders, particularly if the shadow of the Zaniolo situation is no longer hanging over the club.