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The Church Bulletin: A Monthly Review of AS Roma

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Volume I, Issue I: January 2018

FC Internazionale v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Several years ago we attempted to, in a play on our theme, established a Church Bulletin—a sort of intermittent catch-all/recap of all things AS Roma related. The good and the bad, the highs and the lows, the absurd and the awesome, and much like a real church bulletin, maybe a cobbler recipe or two and updates about Doris’ grandson at college.

For a variety of reasons it never really took off, but we’ve got more hands on deck and we’re giving it another go—on a monthly basis at first. The January issue has come out a bit later than I had hoped, so it includes a couple snippets from late December, but I’m very excited about this bulletin; I hope it will serve as a way to get more voices involved in CdT and give us all a chance to reflect on the month gone by. It will surely change and evolve over time, but for now we’re focusing on mostly match and transfer related things, but I hope to expand into more novel and less serious affairs, too.

So, without further delay, here it is, the CdT Church Bulletin, Volume One, Issue One.

January 2018

Story of the Month: Dzeko and Nainggolan Transfer Rumors

By: Bren

Hellas Verona FC v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Every December 31st I think to myself “This year will be different for Roma. No more drama, no more excuses, no more bullshit.” Then, Bam! January hits and it’s like Groundhog Day--drama, rumors, innuendo and, this time around, drunk driving. In other words, January was par for the course for Roma, only this time the rumors involved Roma losing two stalwarts of the squad.

2018 kicked off with the absurd notion that Roma would ship Nainggolan off to China and boot Dzeko back to the Premiership, netting roughly €80 million between the two of them. While the Nainggolan half of this rumor was patently ridiculous, there were several solid arguments in favor of selling Dzeko, namely his age, his struggles under EDF and the simple fact that Chelsea were reportedly prepared to hand over €30 million for him.

How dominant were these two storylines (we’ll throw the Emerson Palmieri transfer in here as well)? Well, big enough to dedicate six separate stories, or roughly 17% of our coverage in January, towards them. In the end, only Palmieri was fit to be sold, with Dzeko and Nainggolan both citing their love and/or comfort with life in Rome as the reasons for remaining.

We’ll get a bit of a reprieve before the next cycle of rumors starts, but don’t be shocked if one or both those names pop back up in the rumor rags before Spring.

High Point of the Month: Roma’s 3-1 Win Over SPAL and UCL Qualification

By: AsRemus

AS Roma v Spal - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

{Editor’s note: This was from December, but January was pretty grim, right?}

While December was more like the fall of Winterfell, Roma did manage one win in the league at the dawn of the month against lowly SPAL. Thanks to the iron fist that is VAR, SPAL would go down to 10 men in this one, allowing the wolves to pounce with ease. Dzeko and El Shaarawy were particularly in form, combining for an exquisite goal to open the account. Strootman would hammer one home, as well as Pellegrini with a forceful header. It wouldn’t be a Roma match without a defensive blunder while leading, so naturally Roma would give SPAL a free PK.

Roma would also go onto win their group in the UEFA Champions League, defeating Qarabag, a team with a name more apt for a designer tote. And while the win should be the sole high point of the month, there were signs here of Roma’s impending fall, mostly the ineptitude for finishing chances. Hindsight aside, Roma advancing for the first time in several years appeared to be a portent that this team could be a contender. Oh hindsight

Low Point of the Month: Winter Transfer Market

By: AsRemus

Chelsea Unveil New Signing Emerson Palmieri Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

With Roma starting to look like a three-legged wolf with one eye, the winter transfer market could have been its saving grace. A lack of creativity in the midfield and the hole on the right flank called for a dire need of reinforcements. So what does Monchi do? Sell a promising young left-back, replace him with a fairly unknown, injury-riddled left-back, and dangle last year’s top goal scorer in front of a parched Antonio Conte, creating a cluster fudge of speculation and confusion. To less effect, several small departures were made, Castan to Cagliari, Moreno to Real Sociedad, to name a few. And who did the transfer guru/wizard/shaman/lord emperor Monchi bring in to fill Roma’s gaps in the midfield and wings? No one. The club’s financial situation must be more devastating than they let on, or Monchi simply dropped the ball on this one. A complete list of transfer moves can be found here.

Out of Context CdT Tweet of the Month

January’s Hero: Alisson

By: Jimmy Miotto

Hellas Verona FC v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Alisson Becker’s form has made it shockingly easy to forget that it is only his first full season starting in Europe. In the 2016-2017 season, Alisson made 15 appearances in various cup competitions (none in the actual league), and despite good performances when substituting for Wojciech Szczęsny, it was natural to expect that transitioning to the full starting role would cause some growing pains for the Brazilian.

Instead, Alisson has consistently been the rock at the center of one of the league’s best defenses, ensuring that a long-term drought of attacking power has not turned into a string of losses. Defense is a team effort, but thirteen clean sheets over the course of all competitions don’t happen without a class goalkeeper. January was a month where Alisson’s ability was certainly needed, as Di Francesco has yet to solve Roma’s offensive woes (they’re the only club in the top five with fewer than thirty-five goals forced to date). Two draws and two losses could have very easily been four losses without the Brazilian Don Draper; instead, Allison provided an average of 3.40 saves per goal, making sure Roma’s January wasn’t a complete dumpster fire.

Here’s to you, Alisson. Please share your good form with some of the attackers this month?

January’s Goats: EDF and Monchi

By: Bsanti7

AS Roma's new head coach Eusebio Di Francesco Photo by Claudio Pasquazi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Whether it be due to Eusebio Di Francesco’s overly enthusiastic approach to rotation, or his refusal to divert from the 4-3-3, January was not a kind month to the man tasked with bringing Roma some silverware. Two defeats, two draws, and zero wins in the month of January are inexcusable for a club with title ambitions like Roma has, and as a result of this poor run of form, Roma find themselves in a battle for the final Champions League spot, as opposed to being in the thick of the Scudetto race. For EDF’s sake, as well as ours, hopefully he continues to show the tactical flexibility he exhibited in the Verona match, otherwise we may be looking for a new manager following this season.

For all the criticism that EDF has received this past month, Monchi is perhaps just as culpable for Roma’s poor run of form as Di Francesco. The inability to find a suitable replacement for Salah has left Roma totally reliant on playing through the left side of the pitch, and although Cengiz Under has found his form recently, it is on Monchi for leaving Roma with such a glaring hole. This has been a theme throughout the entirety of the season of course, but this past month has just hammered that point home. In addition, the sale of Emerson, and attempted sale of Dzeko, further illustrates that our beloved club is still a supermarket for the big clubs, despite Monchi’s proclamations. Of course, if Schick (who Bren excellently referred to as Mr. Glass) miraculously puts his injury woes behind him and somehow carries Roma to a Champions League berth, we’ll probably be singing Monchi’s praises in a few months time.

Goal of the Month: Stephan El Shaarawy vs. Inter Milan

By: ASRCanes

SES’s goal vs the bald headed small man and Inter at the San Siro is your goal of the month for January. This one was pure beauty and ugliness all wrapped up in one. Alisson Becker, your Hero of the Month, was once again a main protagonist, playing a long ball up the right side from the edge of his penalty area. As this lofted through ball made its way over the half way line, once upon a time Messi slayer Davide Santon foolishly let the ball graze the top of his head, placing it right in the path of Stephan El Sharaawy. SES made no mistake from there, dribbling into the box and dinking the ball past Handanovic, sending Totti, DDR, and Zampa all into celebration. Of course, SES’s goal would not be enough, as a late Matias Vecino goal saw Roma draw against Inter, 1-1.

Roma’s Top Five Rated Players (per Squawka)

  1. Alisson
  2. Stephan El Shaarawy
  3. Kostas Manolas
  4. Federico Fazio
  5. Edin Dzeko

Facts & Figures

  • Roma earned 2 out of 12 possible points
  • 3 GF, 5 GA
  • 50 chances created, 5 goals scored, 5% conversion rate

So that’s it for our first edition. Like we said, this will be a living document and will hopefully grow and morph in the coming months. If there’s anything else you’d like to see in these Church Bulletins, let us know!

Poll

What was the biggest story of January?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Transfer of Emerson Palmieri
    (14 votes)
  • 61%
    Roma’s horrible play
    (169 votes)
  • 13%
    The rumors surrounding Nainggolan and Dzeko
    (36 votes)
  • 19%
    Alisson’s heroics
    (54 votes)
273 votes total Vote Now