Published On: Fri, Jan 27th, 2012

Luis Enrique’s Tactical Revolution At Roma

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We are now halfway through the season and since the December defeat at Fiorentina, Roma finally appear to understand the tactics and the style of play required by Spanish coach Luis Enrique.

The former Barcelona B boss has based his philosophy on possession play with a 4-3-3 formation, favouring attack and slick passing.

After the 3-0 Fiorentina loss where Roma had 3 players sent off (Juan, Fernando Gago and Bojan), the club has started to play some exciting football. They are unbeaten, picking up a 1-1 draw with a weak starting lineup against Juventus and impressive away wins at Napoli and Bologna before the winter break.

After the festivities, convincing performances have come against Chievo, Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia and Cesena last Saturday where Roma were in unforgiving mood hammering their opponent 5-1 with 72% ball possession. In between that Roma had a game abandoned away at Catania, due to poor weather.

This is the formation and the starting XI Luis Enrique used at the beginning of the season.

When Roma go forward they morph into a 3-4-3 formation, push the full backs up to join the attack and ask Daniele De Rossi to drop in as the third centreback and give him possesion so he can instigate the move.

When Francesco Totti is in the starting eleven he likes to drop deep into the midfield and pick up the ball to continue the attack. The two other strikers like to drift in from the wings and play centrally as the full backs drive forward and create attacks from the flanks and deliver crosses.

When out of possession they become a back five, again with De Rossi dropping into defence. Luis Enrique’s Spanish style of football means Roma like to play with a high defensive line but with Nicolas Burdisso or Gabriel Heinze as one of the two centre backs they do struggle against teams who play on the counter and with pace, as was proved with Udinese.

Roma lost that game 2-0 and both of the goals conceded were on the counter attack as Antonio Di Natale and Pablo Armero raced through their backline.

As of last December and with the return to form of Francesco Totti, Roma have embraced Luis Enrique’s tactical ideas and entertained Serie A with some enterprising football.

Erik Lamela has been key to the Giallorossi success over the last two months with his dazzling displays. The Argentinian had to wait for his chance in the team due to injury but had an immediate impact against Palermo, scoring eight minutes into his debut.

The away match with Napoli was typical as he drifted in from both wings in tandem with Pablo Osvaldo and attacked the Partenopei’s brittle and ageing defence. The elegance with which the former River Plate man played was brilliant, bearing in mind his tender age.

He scored the first goal of the game by breaking down the left, running at the Napoli defence causing them to panic and then squeezing his effort under Morgan De Sanctis.

Lamela was again the key man in the recent Coppa Italia tie, interestingly against Fiorentina. He scored two goals and was a constant threat all game, his performance receiving high acclaim from many people around the globe.

Last weekend Roma defeated Cesena and produced a master class of possession based football. This was without De Rossi, out with injury, but who was perfectly replaced by another Argentine newboy, Fernando Gago.

Roma dominated their opponent, scoring three times in the first eight minutes. They controlled the game with quick, slick passing and rarely gave Cesena any time with the ball. Francesco Totti, Erik Lamela and Miralem Pjanic were the three standout players with some intricate one-touch football and clever off the ball movement.

Roma XI against Cesena

The revolution at Trigoria is continuing and the project is starting to gather pace after a slow start. The Spanish style of football in the capital is getting fans talking and after Saturday’s performance, ‘BarcaRoma’ are beginning to turn heads .


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  1. Rory Hanna says:

    Nice article, you’ve got the tactics just right. Great read.

  2. The Truth says:

    Roma revolutionized? no. i dont know what you have been watching, but roma are still a crap team. that win against napli was incredibly LUCKY, the tie against Juve, was lucky aswell; they were lucky to come away with a point. roma hold possession for the sake of holding possession. they do not know what to do whith the ball without totti. they lose possession easily in the middle of the park. most of there possessiong is between the defenders and steklonburg. their defending is HORRID and are much too easily beaten on the counter attack, EX: against Juve in the Coppa Italia. they were lucky not lose 5-0 in that match. even against cesena, they were lucky with 3 of their goals. i dont know what Roma you have been watching, but this article is rubbish

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