2019-2020 Season Opener: Roma hosts Genoa in Defensive Battle

Stadio Olimpico (Rome)

Roma looks for three points, Genoa looks to avoid relegation. Roma gets their man in Zappacosta.

Genoa doesn’t play to win, they play to not lose.

After narrowly escaping relegation last year after finishing 17th and tied with Empoli on points, Genoa is still in Serie A because they scored one more goal than their unluckier aforementioned former Serie A opponents. In dealing with Genoa, a team that will surely be on the brink of being relegated again this year, Roma will likely find themselves locked into a defensive stalemate with a Genoa team that would not only be completely satisfied with a scoreless tie, they would be overjoyed with such a result.

During the Serie A 2018-19 season, Genoa gave up a total of 57 goals averaging a goal and a half over the course of the season while only scoring 39 goals averaging just a hair over a goal per game.

Facts:

  1. The last time Genoa scored more than 2 goals was on January 28th against now relegated Empoli.
  2. The last time Genoa allowed more than 2 goals was on April 3rd where they were shutout 0-4 and down a man against Inter.
  3. Genoa had 14 draws last season, 13 of which resulted in 2 total goals or less, (0-0 or 1-1). 

Paulo Fonseca would do himself a great service by studying tape of Inter home and away matches against Genoa last season because if there’s anyone who figured out how to completely shatter Genoa’s defensive system it was Inter. Aside from the aforementioned thrashing, Inter also completely embarrassed their opponents with a 5-0 laugher in November. The only other teams to score more than 3 goals were, amazingly enough, Lazio and Sassuolo.

A few days ago Roma received reinforcements on the backend by accepting a loan offer from Chelsea which grants Davide Zappacosta to the Giallorossi until the end of the January transfer window. Zappacosta was made expendable by the Blues when Cesar Azpilicueta moved back to his old RB position. Fans will be pleased to know that there are no issues or concerns with Zappacosta’s form or how he’ll fit in at Rome, his exit from Chelsea was simply a matter of surplus defense.

Roma have been searching for an answer to the RB question for several seasons now and it seems Zappacosta is just what the doctor ordered. Expect captain Alessandro Florenzi to stay on defense until Zappacosta becomes acclimated to the team and system.

Sunday’s Prediction: Despite a decent amount of roster turnover and a new coach and system there are enough returning veterans who want to start the season off on the right foot especially at home, Roma wins 1-0

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About Robert Theodorson 19 Articles
Robert Theodorson has previously covered NHL prospects on Hockey's Future and a multitude of sports and teams on Bleacher Report.

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