It must be nice to be a Napoli fan right now, huh? Even though the Scudetto isn’t fully guaranteed for I Partenopei due to a draw against Salernitana last week, the trophy is practically all theirs: it’s just a question of what day will mathematically preclude any other victor. It might seem far away right now, but let’s all be hopeful that a similar celebration will bless the Trevi Fountain sooner rather than later.
For this season, however, the matches that are taking place a couple hundred kilometers away in the Stadio Olimpico still carry a huge amount of meaning. The Giallorossi’s draw with AC Milan on Saturday means that they are stuck in a three-way tie for fourth place with both Milan clubs and only three points behind a struggling Juventus.
While every top-six club is currently struggling for consistent form, José Mourinho’s squad can’t expect that to continue for the rest of the season. Every point gained or lost could be critical in taking just a bit of pressure off of Roma’s upcoming Europa League semifinal against Bayer Leverkusen. Every point gained or lost against clubs like Monza could be critical in upcoming league matches against clubs like Inter, which already promises to be a “six-pointer.”
August 30. 2022: Roma 3, Monza 0
I’m not jinxing this, so I’m not going to go in-depth on Roma’s victory against Monza in the first half of the season. Fool me once, but fool me twice... fiddle dee.
What To Watch For
Can An Injured Roma Still Show Quality?
The two-ton elephant in the room concerning the rest of Roma’s season is the fact that Roma is truly running on fumes in terms of squad depth. For tomorrow’s match, Roma will likely be without Marash Kumbulla, Rick Karsdorp, Chris Smalling, Diego Llorente, Gini Wijnaldum, Paulo Dybala, and Andrea Belotti due to injury, and Nemanja Matić on a yellow card automatic suspension.
Some of those players will be back sooner than others; while Kumbulla and Karsdorp are definitely out for the season, Smalling, Llorente, Wijnaldum, and Dybala are all either close to returning or day-to-day. Still, that’s nearly an entire starting eleven of players who are unavailable for José Mourinho tomorrow, and while players like Ola Solbakken and Tammy Abraham can fill some of the void, what happens when substitutes are needed? Let’s hope what we get is the emergence of a youth player like Dimitrios Keramitsis instead of a complete meltdown against a mid-table side.
Is This Edoardo Bove’s Moment?
If you’re in search of upsides to Roma’s dramatic loss of depth, there’s no doubt that this is Edoardo Bove’s golden opportunity to reignite his career with the Giallorossi. With so many midfielders out, Bove is practically guaranteed a start tomorrow, and reports coming out of Trigoria have suggested that he’s been training with Mourinho’s starters in the pre-match build-up.
Bove has been pretty solid so far in his first full season as a Roma senior squad member, but the sheer depth that Roma has at midfield when healthy means that up until recently, the Italy U-21 international has been typically restricted to late-game sub appearances. Those aren’t really chances to shine and show you deserve a spot in the starting eleven; tomorrow’s match against Monza certainly could be another chance for him to join Nicola Zalewski as another of the Roma academy’s incredible success stories.
- Wednesday, May 3rd
- 21:00 CET/3:00 EDT
- U-Power Stadium