After a fine win on Saturday afternoon, Roma will close out 2021 with confidence in their stride with a home game on Wednesday evening against an inconsistent Sampdoria side.
Wow, I did not see Saturday result coming at all, my jaw is still on the floor with the win and the way Roma won the game in Bergamo. An emphatic 4-1 away win with 29% possession at one of the best sides in Italian football in the last couple of years. It was Mourinho ball at its finest, I am not mad quite the opposite I was ecstatic with the win on Saturday afternoon.
I have given Jose Mourinho stick this season with some of the performances we have seen and the lack of consistency, but he got his tactics in recent weeks and on the weekend spot on. The change to a back three with wing-backs had added more solidity to the defence, we were just waiting for the attack to click, and boy did it ever on Saturday.
The counter-attacking display was excellent and was pivotal to three of the four goals to come from the weekend, the counterattack worked wonders on Atalanta’s high counter-pressing defence who like to press high and go to man to man-marking.
I did have envisions of previous trips to Bergamo where Roma goes all guns blazing in the first half and capitulates in the second. That has happened in the previous three visits to Atalanta and when Luis Muriel scored before halftime you feared the worse, then Jose Luis Palomino scored to make it 2-2 which was disallowed for offside but there was a handball in the build-up. Luck was on the Roma side; the players managed to dig deep and pick up a potentially season-defining win to take Roma into the top five.
PREDICTED XI | ROMA (3-5-2)
Rui Patricio, Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez, Karsdorp, Cristante, Veretout, Mkhitaryan, Vina Zaniolo, Abraham.
Sampdoria are struggling for consistency this season under new coach Roberto D’Aversa. Currently, they are in 15th place in the Serie A standings with nineteen points from eighteen games. The crumb of comfort for Sampdoria fans is that they are nine points ahead of the relegation zone and the final relegation spot which is being occupied by their fiercest city rivals Genoa.
Sampdoria have struggled for form and consistency in the last six Serie A games with three wins, two draws, and one defeat. The three wins were two back-to-back wins over Salernitana and Hellas Verona. Then a Derby Della Lanterna wins over Genoa which ended 3-1 and added more woes to the city rivals. The two defeats were back-to-back 3-1 defeats away at Fiorentina and at home to Lazio. The sole draw was a 1-1 home draw from the latest round of Serie A action from the weekend against Venezia.
The German-born Italian coach Roberto D’Aversa has had a 2021 to forget. In his previous job as the returning Parma coach after Fabio Liverani was relieved of his duties. D’Aversa only won once out of the remaining twenty-two Serie A games left last season. You guessed it that sole win was the 2-0 home win for Parma over Roma. D’Aversa and Parma did go winless in the next eleven games which included losing the last nine games of the season with a whimper.
In his second job of 2021 at Sampdoria, D’Aversa is struggling to find the right formula and consistency it had under the previous manager Claudio Ranieri. Nine defeats out of eighteen are worrying, losing half of your games to start the season is never great and fans are already calling for him to be relieved of his job.
PREDICTED XI | SAMPDORIA (4-4-2)
Audero, Bereszynski, Yoshida, Colley, Augello, Candreva, Thorsby, Ekdal, Verre, Quagliarella, Caputo.