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Revisiting Our Roma Resolutions for 2018

It was a dizzying year, so how did our prescriptions for Roma work out?

AS Roma v Avellino - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

In my personal life, I'm not one for making grand resolutions; life is simply too chaotic to hold yourself to an arbitrary goal set on December 31st. I, much like you I'm sure, just try to do the best I can every day and hope that it all works out; sometimes it does, sometimes you end up with egg on your face, but, if nothing else, that's life.

However, when it comes to the football team I occasionally write about, I love to hand out advice from on high. And over the past several years, I've laid out a list of resolutions for our beloved club; think of them as a series of optimistic benchmarks borne from a year of frustration. (God help me if this team ever wins the Scudetto, I won't know what to do with myself!)

As we kicked off 2018 nearly 365 days ago, I conjured up a list of 18 points of improvement and/or nonsensical questions I had for Roma in the coming year. Some serious, some off the cuff, but let's take a look and see how we did.

Since there were 18 suggestions, we'll tackle them in threes. Sound good?

#1: An Attacking Midfielder...Like, A Real One, Please

#2: A Defined Role for the Kids

#3: Mix It Up! (Tactics)

Well, not to toot my own horn, but Roma came through on these first three resolutions in spades. Roma did indeed get an attacking midfielder in 2018 but ironically it wasn't the one for whom they paid €25 million. Javier Pastore was supposed to discover a fountain of youth upon his return to Serie A, but rather than channeling his Palermo days, El Falco has been relegated to bench duty for much of this season. Once he went down with an injury, EDF instituted a tactical makeover, one in which Lorenzo Pellegrini, and later Nicolo Zaniolo, took over the creative reigns through the tail end of 2018. So, while it didn't go according to plan, Roma did find a creative spark in midfield.

Point number two sort of follows from that, as players like Pellegrini, Zaniolo, Cengiz Ünder and Bryan Cristante each (eventually) found or are finding their niches within Roma's setup. And following that comes point number three, shifting away from EDF's preferred 4-3-3 formation. Seeing his attack stagnating, EDF switched to the 4-2-3-1 and unleashed many of the names we just discussed. He's even utilized a three man backline when necessary, too.

So, as far as the first three points were concerned...nailed it!

#4: Give Kolarov a Break!

#5: Get Dzeko Back on Track

#6: Score More Than One Goal

I didn't plan it this way, I swear, but points 4-6 stand in stark contrast to the first three. With 1,466 league minutes, Kolarov is second to only Steven Nzonzi among outfield players, while Dzeko has managed...umm...only two league goals this season. Suffice it to say, they still need to correct those two points in 2019. As far as #6 is concerned, Roma's attack has tallied 34 goals thus far, fourth best in the league, and that's something considering how poor Dzeko has been.

#7: Extend Alisson

#8: Sort Out His Shirt

#9: What About That Sponsor?

The less said about seven and eight the better. For a brief moment, it looked as if Roma would lock Alisson down with a new deal (the club President may have even said something like, oh, I don't know, we're not selling Alisson) but in the end he was sold to Liverpool for a large sum of money. But hey, they did lock down that shirt sponsor, two of them in fact (yuck).

#10: Do Something in the January Window

#11: Stay in the Champions League!

#12: What Color Are Those Third Shirts?

Well, if by "Do Something” I meant sell Emerson and sign some kid named Jonathan Silva, mission accomplished. Roma are seldom the most active winter team, but even by their standards, it was a quiet January transfer season. Roma did manage to qualify for the Champions League this season, and I did, by virtue of my Daniele De Rossi shirt, confirm that last season's alternates were indeed more brown than black, which remains a tremendous disappointment.

#13: Figure Out a Forward Rotation

#14: No ACL Injuries Would Be Nice

#15: Efficiency, Efficiency, Efficiency

That first point stemmed from a stretch in which EDF was flanking Dzeko with everyone from Ünder to Patrik Schick to Gregoire Defrel, but with Stephan El Shaarawy and Ünder getting the lion's share of minutes on the wings, and with Justin Kluivert serving as the super sub, Di Francesco seems to have settled on a forward rotation for now. As far as their shot efficiency, Roma ranks top three in accuracy and conversion, so problem solved...and OMG, no one tore any knee ligaments this year! Hallelujah! (At least I think so, right? It happens so frequently it's hard to tell).

#16: No More Scudetto Talk

#17: Don't Break Up The Defense

#18: Beat Who They're Supposed to Beat

Not many people with the club made grandiose Scudetto claims this year, so that's good. They didn't sell Kostas Manolas (though they tried), Federico Fazio or Kolarov, so that's good, but #18...oof. Roma dropped points to some pretty lousy teams this calendar year, so that continues to be a rather large bugaboo.

All in all, our 18 prescriptions for 2018 were pretty well grounded, though the results were obviously a mixed bag, and I can't promise I can conjure up 19 for 2019, but look for some resolutions on New Year's Day.