Defeat to Atalanta exposes Roma’s soft centre

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Roma in danger of dipping in 2018 just after dropping of midfielder Nainggolan for off-field indiscretions

Are there situations when the golden policies of in-property discipline, on and off the field, work against a staff? That imagined sprang to mind last Saturday evening at the Olimpico in Rome as we watched AS Roma reduce 2-1 to Atalanta.

Looking back again at this activity, it was really hard to conclude whether or not Roma had been far more disappointing in the initially or in the 2nd 50 percent. In the initially 50 percent, the simplicity with which Atalanta sliced its way by way of the distracted, wet-paper Roma defence, scoring two plans in the initially 20 minutes and going shut to scoring a third on at the very least two other situations was practically embarrassing. 

That was undesirable plenty of but as Roma headed into the 2nd 50 percent, they could at the very least console on their own with two things to consider.  Firstly, it would be really hard to supply as weak a 45 minutes as that wretched initially 50 percent. Next, with a numerical gain following the sending off of Atalanta’s Dutch midfielder Marten De Roon in the 44th minute, undoubtedly there would be just about every possibility of acquiring back again into the activity.

Inevitably, the 2nd 50 percent was played out practically fully in Atalanta’s 50 percent of the field. When Roma’s Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko scored his initially objective in in excess of a thirty day period just after just 11 minutes, it was only authentic to be expecting that Roma would create on their momentum and, at the pretty the very least, rating an equaliser against an Atalanta that, understandably, was centered practically exclusively on hanging on in peaceful desperation.

However, ’twas not to be. Very long prior to the closing whistle, some of the Roma fans had now gone home, acquiring properly concluded that this was not their team’s best evening. Way too a lot of square passes, far too minimal “vertical” soccer and a strangely underwhelmed Roma midfield manufactured for a disappointing 2nd 50 percent when the home side’s overall territorial dominance led only to frustration.

And there we occur to our original concern. Sorely skipped in an unimpressive Roma midfield was the club’s dynamic Belgian Radja Nainggolan, a player whose 110 for every cent, all-motion, covering, chasing and goalscoring contribution has saved the day for Roma on far more than one particular situation.

The issue about Nainggolan, of system, was the he had been dropped for the Atalanta activity for disciplinary motives. Unfortunately for him, Nainggolan had posted his pretty own New Year’s Eve greetings to fans and some others on Instagram.   Issue was that in his New Year’s concept to the popolo, the player was viewed to smoke and consume, he was heard swearing and he usually appeared to be in a state which, after upon a time, we would have referred to as “tired and emotional”.

Not amazingly, the people at Roma were being not a lot amused. Coach Eusebio Di Francesco, one particular of the brightest of the new wave of Italian coaches, took a really hard line, dropping the player, stating of his final decision: “This is joined to a type of conduct that has to be constant for any person at AS Roma who can make sure problems. These [mistakes] are inacceptable and will not be accepted in future… Whoever can make a mistake like this will pay the identical price tag.”

Di Francesco additional that there was a obvious big difference between cell cell phone footage “stolen” by a passing admirer and this unique footage, posted on the player’s own Instagram web page. Lots of fans and commentators would in all probability concur with Di Francesco, arguing that his hardline was far more than comprehensible in the context of experienced staff sport. Nor will we ever know if the consequence would have been any distinctive had he played, these types of  was the weak Roma overall performance. However, a nagging question remains.

As for Roma, their exceptional autumn has gone just a minimal bitter at this switch of the  year. With just one particular issue from their last a few league video games, Roma’s 2017 ended with a significantly from disgraced 1- away defeat by Juventus on December 23rd and a disappointing 1-1 home attract to Sassuolo one particular 7 days later.  As for their 2018, nicely it could rarely have acquired off to a even worse start out.

The only good information is that Roma can hope that they will have washed this mini-crisis nicely out of their method prior to they satisfy Ukraine facet, Shakhtar Donetsk, in their Champions League, 2nd spherical tie on February 21st and March 13th. As it stands, participation in subsequent year’s Champions League is by no indicates confirmed, specified that town cousins Lazio leapfrogged them last weekend, relocating into the fourth area place just one particular issue obvious of Roma.

The Simone Inzaghi coached Lazio have, of system, on their own been one particular of the brightest lights of the year. On Saturday, they thrashed hapless Spal 5-2 away from home in a activity in which their Italy striker Ciro Immobile scored four to go best of the goalscorers’ chart on 20 plans, two obvious of Inter’s Mauro Icardi. You would have to conclude that the Roma cup of bitterness floweth in excess of. By now, the 2nd seasonal Rome derby, owing subsequent April, is on the lookout pretty “hot”.



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