The Giallorossi enter tomorrow’s match against last-place Salernitana with the vibes notably improved around the club. Part of that is undoubtedly because of the hiring of Daniele De Rossi and his first win in Serie A as his boyhood club’s manager, but there’s also the fact that Roma now have a stretch of easier matches to run through that might allow the club to re-enter the top four quickly.
Of course, those good vibes could disappear entirely with a draw or loss to the wrong side. Salernitana would certainly be that wrong side, as even though the Giallorossi have already lost to tomorrow’s opponent this season, there would be no excuse to drop points again to Filippo Inzaghi’s side. This is a side that looks destined for Serie B, and Roma quite simply must win against a side like that, whether José Mourinho is the manager or Daniele De Rossi.
What To Watch For
Cristante Back In the Starting Lineup?
Bryan Cristante was out of Roma’s starting lineup for Daniele De Rossi’s first match in Serie A, but that looks set to change tomorrow against Salernitana, with De Rossi speaking extensively in his pre-match presser about Cristante’s impact as a player and a leader:
“Cristante is a pillar of our team, our dressing room, and our National Team.
“[At my farewell conference] I was referring to him as a human being. The question was: do you need to be from Rome to progress in Roma. No because there’s one who’s not from Rome and he does his job in the way I’d want everyone to do their job. He’s a serious professional, he helps his team-mates, and he’s a great player. I continue to be amazed by Bryan. I’m happy he’s back. I wanted him in the first match.
“He changes things on the pitch, more than the formation. Some patterns change. Maybe Leo has more quality and Cristante has more dynamism, physicality, he shoots more and makes more runs. Something changes, but in a way that it would change if you put on any other player. If you play [Romelu] Lukaku, [Sardar] Azmoun or [Andrea] Belotti, something changes then too. It changes if you switch goalkeeper.
“The dynamic will change due to the technical characteristics of the player, but our gameplay won’t change. We’ve got lots of technical players, who are full of personality and energy that I think can play together too.”
De Rossi heaping the praise on Bryan Cristante makes him yet another manager who seems to love working with the Canadian-Italian midfielder, yet the question remains: how will Cristante fit into De Rossi’s tactics going forward? Personally, I hope he slots into the Paredes spot in De Rossi’s lineup from the Hellas match, combining with Edoardo Bove and Lorenzo Pellegrini to create an all-Italian midfield behind Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku. Who knows, maybe DDR can turn Cristante into the kind of goalscorer he was at Atalanta again. I can dream, can’t I?
Can Roma Avoid Another Candreva Brace?
There’s no doubt that Antonio Candreva is the Salernitana player with the most name recognition and the player who gave Roma fits in their first meeting this season. The former Lazio and Inter Man’s brace in the first match of the season set the tone for a terrible run of form in the first few weeks of Serie A that set the negative tone for José Mourinho that would eventually lead to his firing. Of course, it’s not like Mourinho’s tactics are why Candreva scored two last time against the Giallorossi; you simply weren’t going to stop either of his goals from going in, no matter who you had coaching on the sideline. Yet for the sake of Romanisti’s blood pressure everywhere, I pray to Totti that Candreva doesn’t find the net again tomorrow.
Beyond Candreva, there is very little to say about Salernitana’s offense, at least in a positive way. Candreva leads all scorers for Salernitana with five goals this season, and the -24 goal differential for the side makes it clear that I Granata’s poor offense is dragged down even further by a terrible defense (42 goals against so far this season). Many Romanisti were peeved that Roma couldn’t get a clean sheet against Hellas Verona last matchday; if the Giallorossi can’t manage a clean sheet against Salernitana, it will bode even worse for Roma’s new-look defense under De Rossi’s tenure. A convincing win, on the other hand, might suggest to The Friedkin Group that capitano futuro could be more than a caretaker manager — that he might be the long-term solution at manager that many have dreamed him to be from the moment he retired.
Date: January 29th
Kickoff: 20:45 CET/2:45 EST
Venue: Stadio Arechi, Salerno