Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Welcome back to the Roma Review! First, I just want to say that Serie A is shaping up to be an exciting league to watch right now in Europe. Take a look at the top 10 teams so far. It’s great to see some different teams in there keeping the league competitive. It will be interesting to see where the teams stand before the Winter break. Of course, things can change in the second half of the season, but some different clubs will be salivating over Champions League spots. So this week I am going to review the match with Juventus, and then move on to the match with Udinese this Saturday.

The match with Juventus was going to be tough, there was no doubt about that. Both teams knew that a win would move them pretty far up the table, and within striking distance of first place. Juventus are a team in rebuilding after last season’s performance. Roma’s poor start has left them chasing a position in the top 5. The match started out with Roma really taking control. I think that Menez playing behind the two forwards is a good choice. Menez looked to score early with a great shot that was blocked by Sotrari. I must say that Storari played very well in this game, and is definitely earning his position while Buffon is out. However, with all the pressure that Roma was putting on the Juventus defense it was not enough. At 35 minutes one of their former players, Aquilani, played a beautiful pass to Iaquinta who volleyed it past Julio Sergio. It took a while for Roma to wake up after that. Roma had a perfect opportunity as Vucinic passed the ball to Mexes, who was making a run inside the box. Chiellini brought him down, but the referee denied all of Roma’s penalty arguments. However, Roma’s last chance on the ball before halftime earned them a penalty. I know that many people were upset because the penalty was given after stoppage time. However, I think it was fair, Melo’s arm was outstretched in the box, and blocked Totti’s free kick. Totti then stepped up and scored his first goal in Serie A this season, from a penalty. I was hoping that since the second half was starting level, that both teams would come out hungry for the win. I really enjoyed the second half, but neither team could break the tie. Ranieri took Totti out and brought in Borriello, which I thought was a good substitution. I got a little nervous when Del Piero came on, because he is one of those players that can score a goal in a short amount of time. Roma’s defense deserves some credit for keeping Del Piero marked. Both teams really battled it out, and created several goal scoring opportunities. The best chance for a winning goal came late as Quagliarella took a shot at 86 minutes, but Julio Sergio stepped up to keep his team in the game. At the end of the night both teams walked away with a point.

Roma’s next match is this Saturday against Udinese. I’ll be honest, I wrote off Udinese at the beginning of the season. They struggled at the end of last season to stay out of relegation, and started this season with 4 straight losses. However, they are on a good run at the moment, with only 1 loss in their last five matches. Di Natale scored a hat trick in the first half of last week’s match against Lecce. The match against Roma will be a real test, and a loss will definitely threaten their 8th place position. Udinese also have some talented players that could create problems for Roma. Alexis Sanchez is coming off of a great World Cup performance for Chile, and has been rumored to leave in the Winter transfer window . Sanchez is a great play maker on the wings, and he can score goals, when the opportunity arises. Antonio Floro Flores is the other half of the Udinese strike force. If Roma’s defense keep their attention on Di Natale they could pay a heavy price if they’re not marking Flores as well. The Udinese defense can also be another reason for concern as they have only allowed one goal in their last 5 matches. Roma on the other hand have not lost a Serie A game since October 3rd to Napoli. Roma still leave a lot to be desired while playing away games, but they have not lost a league match at home. On paper Roma should be able to handle Udinese at home, with out too much trouble. Roma’s biggest problem so far this season is their defense. They have given up too many goals. An early goal against them can take the wind out of their sails, just like last week with Juventus. Also, some of Roma’s players and coaches will have the Champions League match against Bayern Munich next week on their minds. Look for my preview of that match next week, until then Ciao!

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