We’ll take that, right? Following their tight win against Bayer Leverkusen in midweek, the Special One opted to field a heavily rotated squad that saw several youngsters play significant minutes against a mid-table Bologna side. Roma was content to cede the majority of possession to their opponent in a match that would finish scoreless, keeping the Giallorossi on the outside-looking-in in the top-four race.
If there was any indication that all of Roma’s eggs are in the Europa League basket, it was certainly this match, but in any case, let’s take a look at three things I noticed from Roma’s draw with Bologna.
#1: Rotation, Rotation, Rotation
Once Roma dropped points against Atalanta, Milan, and Inter in a brutal stretch that saw Roma’s top-four hopes go up in flames, the league was always destined to play second fiddle to the Europa League for the rest of the campaign.
And after squeaking out a narrow 1-0 win against Bayer Leverkusen in advance of the return leg back in Germany? With this injury list? It can be no surprise that we saw a heavy turnover against Bologna. Mile Svilar, Benjamin Tahirovic, and Filippo Missori all saw significant minutes in this one. Sure, a win would've been nice, but the youngsters did their job and afforded the players who are nursing injuries just a bit more time to recover.
#2: Svilar Impresses
Speaking of Mile Svilar, the 23-year-old put in a fine shift against Bologna, covering for Rui Patricio in goal. Brought in over the summer as a potential long-term replacement for Rui, Mile has hardly featured this campaign—a lone start in the Europa League is the only appearance thus far for the young Serbian.
You’d certainly be forgiven for being nervous about Svilar getting the start going into this one, but Mile looked calm and assured despite his inexperience, and in fact, making several fine saves throughout the match. It’s well documented that Roma are on the lookout for Rui’s long-term successor, and with more performances like this one next season, young Svilar may end up having a legitimate shot to take over in goal for Roma down the road.
#3: Look Out for Ola
It seems like just yesterday, we were in the throes of the Ola Solbakken transfer saga. Old foe Bodø/Glimt was playing hardball with the release of the Norwegian player, forcing Ola to miss valuable time at the training ground during the World Cup break and ultimately leading to a slow start to his Giallorossi tenure.
Ola would be given a start on Sunday against Bologna and, despite the 0-0 scoreline, certainly looked up to the challenge, showing the same flashes of brilliance throughout the match that we’ve seen in his previous appearances.
Keep an eye on Ola for next season. Solbakken, with a full pre-season under Mourinho, could see the Norwegian become a potent option in the attack for Roma.
Well, that’s all from me. The most important match of Roma’s season is up next, as they travel to Germany to take on Bayer Leverkusen in the second leg of their Europa League semifinal matchup. Roma holds a narrow 1-0 lead.
Can the Giallorossi make it back-to-back European final berths?