The less said about the first-leg loss to Feyenoord, the better. Evidently, Roma felt that way as well, as they put Udinese to the sword, winning 3-0 in a match that never really felt like it got out of second gear.
Edoardo Bove, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Tammy Abraham all got on the scoresheet, and Roma remains in sole possession of third place. With their top-four rivals once again dropping points over the weekend, the Giallorossi are edging ever closer to that elusive Champions League birth.
Having said that, let’s take a look at three things I noticed from Roma’s win over Udinese.
#1: Edoardo Bove Capitalizes on Opportunity
With Nemanja Matic needing a rest, José Mourinho opted to play Edoardo Bove in his stead, affording the youngster the opportunity to play in the middle of the park alongside Bryan Cristante. And boy, did Bove make the most of that opportunity by jumping on a Cristante PK attempt that was fired off the post and firing the ball home to give Roma the lead against Udinese, one they would never relinquish.
The Giallorossi capitulated against Udinese in the reverse fixture, losing 4-0 in a match that was Roma’s first gut-punch of the year, so it was absolutely vital for Roma to get on the scoresheet first. Bove has been used sparingly thus far this season, but what a way to make things happen once your number is finally called upon.
#2: A Much-Needed Goal
Both Lorenzo Pellegrini and Tammy Abraham have had a tough go of things as of late, particularly the Roma captain. His penalty miss against Feyenoord the perfect illustration of how his season has gone, and Tammy’s hardly fared much better, seeing his confidence wane and playing time diminish as the Englishman has had to deal with both injuries and consistent rotation with Andrea Belotti.
So, of course, if someone told you before the match that one of them would get on the scoresheet, you’d take it without a second thought, let alone the pair both getting a goal.
Of course, getting on the scoresheet could be just a one-off that doesn't materialize from here, but you have to start somewhere. Let’s just hope the pair takes this injection of confidence and hits the ground running come Thursday.
#3: The Finish Line is in Sight
Eight Serie A fixtures to go. If the Giallorossi can successfully navigate their remaining eight league fixtures, the capital club will make their long-awaited return to the Champions League, and with their 3-0 win over Udinese, just took a massive step forward in accomplishing their all-important goal as the result sees Roma hold a five-point advantage over Inter in 5th.
As an added bonus, Roma still has the Europa League as an avenue to qualify for the Champions League. There’s no doubt there will be some segment of the Romaverse that would prefer the Giallorossi to bow out of the Europa League on Thursday and fully focus on Serie A. But with matches against Atalanta, Milan, and Inter hot on the heels of the second-leg match against Feyenoord, qualifying via the league is no sure thing just yet.
Well, that’s all from me. Focus now turns to a massive second-leg matchup against Feyenoord in the quarterfinals of the Europa League. The Giallorossi were able to limit the damage in the away fixture, and with a rocking Olimpico at their backs on Thursday, you trust Mourinho and Co. will find a way to advance to the next round.