By: Anthony Walsh
Rome is a city that needs no introduction. It is a place well known all around the world for its historic architecture, being the home of monuments such as the Coliseum and the Pantheon. Rome is home to the holiest place in Christianity within the walls of Vatican City. It was also an ancient empire built with prolific leaders like Augustus, Cesar and Constantine. With all of these prominent people and achievements coming from Rome you would think that their beloved soccer team A.S. Roma would be amongst these accolades.
Truth be told, Roma is a competitive team but lack a finishing mentality.
You can look at the current form of Roma and you will learn a lot about what they were, who they are now, and what they will be in the future. Last years champions league was one for Roma to forget failing to win more than 1 game in their 8 game campaign before being knocked out by the winning team of the tournament Real Madrid. They finished their domestic league in 3rd place with 81 points, 11 points back of the Juventus’ winning 91 points. If you’re starting to wonder why their form doesn’t seem to add up compared to Europe and domestic games your not alone. Even going back into history, it doesn’t teach us much. Roma only won their 3rd scudetto in the 2000/01 season on the last match day edging Juve by 2 points.
As for the Champions League, they’ve never lifted it before. Yet, the years have gone by and Roma still try’s year after year no matter what. Which does deserve a certain level of respect and acknowledgement. Rarely are they ever finishing below a top 10 finish in the league and when they are in Champions League they are grouped with teams that are simply to far for them to catch up to. So what is the problem? Why do they appear as though they are a decent side, showing glimpses of what they could be, exciting fans around the world only to be let down by reality. As much as I’d want there to be an easy answer, there isn’t one. If there were a formula to create good form across all tournaments, against all teams then a lot of teams in different countries would be doing well.
It isn’t either for Roma’s lack of trying, each week they go out in their domestic games and it cannot be denied that they are often the team most likely to win the match. Within the last 5 games, including last 5 matches at home and away, Roma’s Serie A form is a clear statement that they are going for the championship this year. Roma stands in 2nd place currently with 26 points, 4 points behind 1st place Juventus and 1 point ahead of 3rd place Milan. In the last 5 games, Roma has only dropped 2 points, securing 4 wins and drawing 1. Their closest rivals in standings Milan and Juventus, have both won 4 games while also losing 1 match each. Roma’s form proves to be slightly better than their competitors at the moment. Their last 5 matches at home have been all consecutive wins, showing their competition that any game in the Stadio Olimpico against them this season will not be a walk through.
There seems to be a sense of hope for Roma and what their team can accomplish this season. Domestic league aside their European campaign did not start the way they wanted. In fact, what they had thought would transpire did not even occur. Having been paired with Portuguese side Porto in their Champions League play-offs, they may have thought that it wouldn’t have been such a hard obstacle to overcome. Especially since the first match in Porto went in favour to Roma, leaving with an away goal in a 1-1 draw. Heading back to Rome, most Romanista’s probably felt very confident in the likelihood of them advancing to the group stage. However, as fate would have it Roma would fall at home to Porto 0-3 and crashing out of the play-offs 4-1 on aggregate. Since then the team has somewhat turned things around, albeit in the Europa League. Holding top spot of group E with 8 points. Although the other teams in their group are the dwarfs of European soccer, such as Austria Wien, Astra Giurgiu and FC Viktoria Plzen.
It is likely that Roma will advance top of their group and into the knock out round of the Europa league facing probably another smaller club with a greater chance to make the quarterfinals. Once there it is truly up to the team as to what they want to become. If Roma does make a daring race to the final of the Europa league that can prove to be vital experience in Europe to a young team that can learn from it and attempt to replicate that in the Champions League for the future.
One can only hope and wait for what is to come from this Roma side. This is a team that had been acquired in 2012 by a Boston investor named James Pallotta who was a previous co-owner of the Boston Celtics. Since then it is obvious that there has been some significant changes with A.S. Roma as a soccer team playing in Italy but also as its own individual brand and what type of team they want to be portrayed as, domestically and internationally. They have a new look, changing long time kit sponsors with Kappa and opting for a more modern look, after they had no shirt sponsor in the 2013-14 season, locking down a deal with Nike until 2017 with 2024 pending agreements. The times have definitely been changing for Roma in the past few years and with this new American investor Pallotta, perhaps he sees the bigger picture of Roma and all the glory that is in Rome, with the objective to instill that profoundness into the club and the lifestyle of A.S. Roma all around the world.