Can Roma challenge for the Scudetto?
With a new coach and vibrant attacking players many Calcio viewers are suggesting that Roma could be the surprise of the season and make a serious challenge for the title.
Last season the Giallorosi finished seventh in Serie A which was disappointing considering some of the players they had. It was a very up and down season for the team as whilst there were some excellent results such as 3-1 over Napoli in December and a 4-0 hammering of Inter in February, but there were some hiccups such as a 4-2 defeat to Cagliari and a 4-1 defeat to Atalanta.
When Luis Enrique arrived from Barcelona B there was hope that he could bring some of the Catalan style of play to the capital but it wasn’t meant to be as Enrique failed to adjust to the more tactical aspect of the Italian game. In June it was announced that Zdenek Zeman would be taking over from Enrique after he lead Pescara to the Serie B title. Under Zeman, Pescara played the most attractive football in Serie B with some of the most exciting young Italian players on the peninsula.
Players such as Marco Verratti now of PSG, Lorenzo Insigne, and Ciro Immobile announced themselves on the big stage with some excellent performances for the Serie B club and their attacking play was down to Zeman. So what does this mean for Roma?
Zeman’s favored formation is 4-3-3, a system which the team dabbled with in the previous season but without the desired success. This time around they are expected to have much better fortune as unlike Enrique, Zeman has plenty of experience coaching in Italy so it will be easier for him to impose a suitable playing style on the team.
Players such as Bojan Krkic and and Erik Lamela will be entering into their second season with the team and with a year of experience under their belts they could finally show some of the potential which had Roma fans salivating when they were signed last season.
Along with these young players, veterans such as club captain Francesco Totti and vice-captain Daniele De Rossi will be counted on for their experience and will to win, and will look to transfer some of this mentality to the new crop.
Along with the players from last year who are expected to perform much better this season, the Giallorossi have added some very exciting players this summer. Midfielder Michael Bradley comes over from Chievo in a deal worth somewhere in the region of €3.75 million, which given the splash Bradley made with the Flying Donkeys last season has to be considered an absolute steal.
The American is a midfield general and will surely be a welcome addition either alongside Daniele De Rossi or controlling the middle of the park on his own if the Italian is dropped back to central defence as he was for portions of last season.
Another midfielder, Panagiotis Tachtsidis has impressed in preseason and will be one to watch at the Stadio Olimpico this term. Federico Balzaretti, who had an outstanding Euro 2012 for Italy, arrived from Palermo and will help the Giallorossi defence which struggled almost weekly last year.
Undoubtedly the most exciting prospect in this new look Roma side is Mattia Destro. The 21 year old burst onto the scene with 12 goals for an average Siena side in last season’s Serie A campaign, and there is hope he can continue his good goal scoring form in the capital. A recent friendly with the Italian national team against England shows that he may not have been just a one-hit wonder. With Zeman’s attacking style Destro could flourish at Roma and fully announce himself as one of the best young Italian strikers around.
So with all these new signings and Zeman’s attacking style of play are Roma capable of winning the 2012-13 Scudetto? This author says no. They will likely challenge for European places but as Juventus showed, if you aren’t the favourites for the title then you have to have an outstanding defence, something which Roma lack.
Last season Roma conceded 54 goals. The winner of the Scudetto usually concedes less than 35 goals on route to the championship. Unless Roma manage to improve their defence they will not win the title.
However, the will be a very exciting team to watch in Serie A and will likely end up qualifying for the Europa League but could also cause a stir by sneaking the last Champions League spot in Italy much to the annoyance of one of the Milanese clubs.