Roma look to take advantage of weak Serie A competition.
Somehow, someway, Roma is still in the thick of things despite the sky seemingly falling down and the walls closing in on them this past couple of months. As frustrated and irritated as Roma fans are, and have every right to be, Serie A as a whole has no shortage of disappointment to spread around. AC Milan, Atalanta, and Lazio who sit at 4th, 5th, and 7th place respectively are all feeling the pinch after several lackluster performances. It seems like Roma and Milan have been trying to leapfrog each other for almost half the year and by all accounts, Lazio probably should be above Roma in the standings. Teams not named Juventus or Napoli are treading water and at this point in the season, it’s still very much anybody’s opportunity to seize a spot in the top four.
Two teams at different ends of the spectrum
Last Saturday’s match saw captain Daniele De Rossi break a scoreless draw to give Roma a 1-0 win on the road against a decently strong Sampdoria team. The game again highlighted the complete lack of offensive creativity Roma is capable of, but a clean sheet is a clean sheet and the Giallorossa will be back home in Rome this weekend. Udinese currently sits in 15th place with 32 points and a game in hand on SPAL, with whom they are tied in the standings. Relegation only sits four points away, so expect Udinese to be a bit more motivated than their Roman counterparts despite the disparity in talent between the two squads.
Offense? Hopefully, but don’t get too excited
A pair of left wingers in Stephan El Shaarawy and Rodrigo De Paul lead both teams with a total of nine goals. While striker/winger Patrik Schick has not been in good form as of late, Roma will need some sort of contribution from the young Czech if he intends to prove he can stick with the club and score against the better teams of Serie A. Eden Dzeko seems to have mentally checked out down the stretch, with rumors of his return to the English Premier League by way of West Ham buzzing. Roma is one of the few teams in the league that have more scoring depth than Udinese. Second and third leading scorers Kevin Lasagna and Ignacio Pussetto don’t exactly scream offensive threat which is excellent news for Rome’s defense whom I can only compliment as “passable” on certain nights.
What’s happening around the rest of the league?
While Atalanta gets a favorable matchup against Empoli on Monday night, Lazio travels to AC Milan in what could provide even more good fortune for Roma. Should you, could you cheer for Lazio? Considering the circumstances yes, Roma fans should be in favor of either a Lazio win or a tie, because it would be nice to put two more extra points between Roma and Milan as the later is clearly one of the favorites to finish in that coveted top four spots.
Roma fans scored a rare win in the American media market! Roma-Udinese will be broadcast on three different ESPN channels: ESPN News, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN 3 (internet). Kickoff starts at noon on Saturday.