As it Happened Roma vs SPAL Talking Points #507


Roma traveled to Ferrara last night two face SPAL for the second time this season. In what was the final match before International break. Roma wasn’t going into the game in the best form having lost two out of their last three matches but did pick up three points at home against Empoli last week. Meanwhile, SPAL prior to the match has been one of the worst teams in the league over the last month. They managed to upset Roma at Rome at the Stadio Olimpico but have really struggled at home all season having not won a game in their own backyard since matchday 5. Despite that SPAL had the opportunity to do the double over Roma as they continue to fight for safety. While Roma had the opportunity carve away at the Champions League with the Milan Derby upcoming. Both teams had something to fight for however it was the relegation candidates who were the better team on the day. Roma didn’t show up for this match and was severely outplayed by SPAL. They controlled the possession and went for the throat Roma from the very first take kick of the ball. While Roma had issues creating much of anything from their chances. SPAL took the lead at the end of the first half with a bullet header from Mohamed Fares. Roma got back into this game as Diego Perotti converted from the penalty spot. Roma was in this game but not for very long just a few minutes later SPAL got a penalty of their own as Pentenga smashed it into the back of the net As SPAL retook the lead. They sat and held it continued to attack them and eventually beat Roma for the second time this season. This game proves that Roma is very unlikely to make the Champions League this season. Changing managers clearly didn’t make a difference this whole thing came down to how this team was put together at the start of the summer. Another shameful performance dropping points to another team near the bottom of the table meanwhile SPAL celebrate completing an improbable double over Roma.




S.P.A.L’s Mentality



SPAL were in a relegation battle going into the game they sat just two points away from the relegation Zone. What you can typically see with teams fighting for their lives when they go up against big teams is trying to fight for the points. From a tactical perspective that typically means playing a very defensive formation to try to limit opportunities. Essentially trapping the attackers in the Box. Packing the Midfield with as many bodies as possible. You hope for that one chance that will put you ahead and sit on it. We have seen relegation teams do this on a constant basis because they know how difficult it is to steal points from the top six. Furthermore playing offensive can leave your team exposed allowing Superstars from the bigger teams to get through. However last night that was not the case SPAL played extremely aggressive attacking minded football. In front of their home fans, they delivered an inspiring performance. From the first kick of the ball, they looked for blood and got it. They risked losing trying to win three points were going to be so valuable especially in a team that is fighting for their lives. They could have just conceded the fact and tried to salvage a point but from a tactical perspective they lined up in a very defensive formation but they played attacking minded football. That was a strategy they had from the very beginning it is hard to be exposed if you’re already in a defensive formation. They played really strong defensively Roma had very limited opportunities because of the way they used their five-man Midfield to control Roma’s activity Inside the Box. It was a superb brilliant display they were hyper-aggressive and attacked when they quite easily could have sat back and secured a point. This is one of the reasons I don’t think they are going to be relegated they took advantage of the small opportunities they had doing a historic double against Roma. It was a very strong and convincing performance from SPAL even after they took the lead the second time they kept going for it looking for a third goal. They won this match in the opening 25 minutes it was clear their strategy and Roma could not find a way to change the balance of power.







SPAL was very deserving of the three points last night you can’t take anything away from them. Being a team of their size and being able to beat Roma not once but twice is an amazing triumph they played to such an unbelievable standard. They had a game plan and they were able to execute it nothing but positive things to say about the performance. However, I am not a fan of how they conducted themselves in the second half. From a tactical perspective, there’s nothing but positive things to be said. I’m not saying this because I’m bitter I have written in a lot of articles about Roma losses and haven’t come to this conclusion. The theatrics they displayed it was embarrassing absolutely egregious way to display yourself after playing so well on the pitch. It really seems like every 5 Seconds another player hit the deck with very little contact. They spent the majority of the second half on the ground. I understand what they were trying to do they were trying to suck as much time out of the game as possible but I had no respect for the way they went about doing it. I don’t know if it was something they discussed prior to the second half but it was embarrassing. They took up so much time off the clock by their play-acting. SPAL deserve to win this game and they were rightfully awarded the three points they were the better team quite easily the fact that they felt the need to act and behave that way absolutely baffled me. They were never going to lose that game but none the less they decide to spend a large part of second-half rolling on the ground. They got the three points but they made themselves look so incredibly foolish. It begs the question that’s all those things are true why were they rolling on the ground? I do not have a vendetta against this team and don’t have disrespect towards the club but the way they behaved on the night was a little bit shameful

Poor execution 


Even though Roma had issues and some trouble breaking through the Midfield and the defense it was not chance creation that was a problem it was the execution. Throughout the majority of the game not counting the penalty Roma had one legitimate chance to score. Roma was able to create limited opportunities when it came time to deliver they failed miserably. Roma creates more chances than any team in the league that is not the problem creating chances of something Roma can do in their sleep it is converting on them. Other than the Edin Dzeko strike that was miraculously saved they provided nothing when they got into good position. There were so many times in this game were Roma over thought their opportunity and passed instead of taking a shot. That’s not to mention their activity offset pieces was atrocious practically all the corners that they took went absolutely nowhere. That goes along with failure to execution as much as anything. You can make the argument that Roma did not have a lot of their regular starters but none the less you have enough talented players to get in position and deliver on it. Stephan El Shaarawy has been one of Roma’s best players this season but right before halftime, he had a chance that there’s no question he should have scored. It was from his range and he was in good space mutually unguarded as he cut through the defense prior to the chance. It’s not his fault individually collectively all the chances they created went nowhere because they could not do the simple thing and just convert on one of them. It was a disaster and more than anything else it signifies why this team is so inconsistent.



A Historic Result 


SPAL get a historic result in their own backyard. They had not won a game at home since Match Day 5 of the season. They found a way to beat Roma for the second time this season completing a season sweep this is a team in danger of relegation as of now I don’t think they will go down but they’re a team that has hovered around the bottom part of the table for the majority of the season. This is no small deal they don’t get a trophy for this but to sweep Roma in a season series is absolutely phenomenal. If you look at the size of the club and the difference of money allowed to spend from each side it is absolutely mind-boggling. That this team was able to beat Roma twice. Roma might be going through a tough time this season but none the less they have world-class players within the squad not to mention some of best young talents in Italian football. Even more impressive outside of Lazio they’re the only team to beat Roma at the Stadio Olimpico which might have been even more Impressive than what they did last night. Typically bottom teams can steal points from the top six but sweeping one of the Giants in Italian football is almost unheard of. I cannot remember a time in which Roma Juventus Milan’s or Napoli has dropped two games to the bottom half of the table. The impact of the fans certainly helped the situation but for them to pull this off is absolutely remarkable it’s unclear whether or not they will be in the league next year but whether they are or not this is something that will live long in the memory to SPAL and their supporters they’re not a championship winning team or a club that’s winning trophies moments like these is what they live for.




Lorenzo Pellegrini’s Absence shows his Value 



Roma for a second consecutive week we’re missing a good portion of starters either through injury or suspension. However, even though they are all missed there is one player, in particular, that seems to be incredibly valuable right now. Lorenzo Pellegrini would have changed that game last night. There’s no player that puts his teammates into better positions on a consistent basis then Lorenzo Pellegrini. Whether he’s playing up front or in the attacking Midfield or in the defensive Midfield his most valuable asset is pinpoint passing and intelligence. He is one of the smartest players in Italian football and certainly one of the future stars of this Roma team. He will be the next Superstar along with Nicolo Zaniolo to lead Roma for the next 10 years. The impact he has in the passing lanes and in the Midfield is everything. He is the Catalyst and the orchestrator of the Roma Midfield. Roma struggled to hit the target last night and they couldn’t get through the backline. Lorenzo Pellegrini thrives in those situations there is no formation or set up that can prevent him from finding holes and gaps to break into that is what makes him so efficient and valuable is he can poke holes into anything. His intelligence is at such a level that he can find a way to get through any situation. He may not be Roma’s bass player although you can make an argument his value and efficient play will certainly be missed last night. The defensive performance wasn’t as bad as it has been in the past few weeks the issues all came down to putting the ball into the back of the net. Putting themselves into position to succeed. Lorenzo Pellegrini takes corners for Roma off all the set-pieces last night it was atrocious delivery. His delivery from the outside is as on-point as it can be. Roma struggled in terms of delivery in terms of passing and passing accuracy and efficient play going forward Lorenzo Pellegrini could have provided all that. Injuries happen On a somewhat regular basis but he is the one player you want healthy. He doesn’t blow you away with stats goals or assists but his efficiency and value could not be any more clear according to the Analytics he is one of the best midfielders in Italy. He is a game changer last night they needed an injection of energy that he perhaps could have provided.

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