Roma vs Cagliari Talking Points #1374

Mourinho Got it Wrong

Roma may have ended their losing streak and collected the points at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday night but the performance itself was anything but satisfactory. There is an importance of ending the skid, but it’s hard to find positives from their performance. Jose Mourinho got this one wrong, and under other circumstances against more formidable opposition, the game could have gone the other way. Mourinho changed his formation after Lorenzo Pellegrini picked up a minor injury; he decided to operate out of the 4-3-3 formation. I have no issue with this whatsoever; it worked to a certain extent reverting back to 4 at the back seems to be very good adjustment. Roma’s defense played exceptionally well on Sunday. However, it was a very unenthusiastic performance a penalty settled the results. Mourinho had Rick karsdorp on the bench until the 80th minute. Rick Karadorp is one of the most explosive players at his position in Italy. Maitland Niles is a midfielder by trade that has played right-back occasionally, but that’s not his natural position. He could have quite quickly started from the Midfield so the Flying Dutchman could return it to the starting lineup. Maitland Niles played well; however, Rick karsdorp in a very crucial part of the game could have made the difference and allowed Roma to put the game away much earlier. This was a massive error; it’s not just that when the game was not going well, he let this Roma team constantly struggle. He didn’t make a substitution until late in the second half; by that time, any change he made had a very minimal time to make an impact. Roma managed to win the game, and it’s essential that he collected the points, but in the end, this doesn’t give the fans much encouragement. Had this game gone, definitely Mourinho was waiting far too long to introduce The Flying Dutchman, and by the time he made the changes, he gave them very little time to make an impact. I will concede the formation change was an intelligent decision, but he made poor judgments throughout the 90 minutes against a more challenging team. Roma may not have been so lucky.

Decision Making Needs to improve From Roma’s Young Stars

The impending situation with Zaniolo and Felix Afena gives me reminders of Justin kluivert. The Dutch Talent spent two seasons at the Stadio Olimpico. He’s one of the most talented youngsters that Roma has come across. There is a reason he’s not with the club anymore, though. Justin kluivert departed for Nice after spending last season on loan in Germany. During the two full seasons he spent in the Italian capital, he was relatively productive. He was one of the leaders in assists during his first season and had a breakthrough campaign during his second season. He is more talented than Nicolo zaniolo and Felix Afena; that’s not up for debate because it’s not actually that close. However, Roma still got rid of him. The reason why is clear, as good as he was and as productive as he could be. His decision-making was erratic. For all the good that he ended up doing, the poor decisions in crucial situations and scenarios are why Roma moved off of him. Despite his talent, it was too much for Roma to deal with the same goes for a player I once referred to as Turkish delight Cengiz under. Nicolo zaniolo and Felix are not careful; this will be their fate as well. He is a very young 18-year old who earned some first-team minutes this season, starting the last two games. Nicolo zaniolo, with an incredibly talented youngster that unfortunately had to deal with multiple knee injuries he has failed to return to his former self, and it does not look like he will. Both have a chance to be crucial players in Rome in has future going forward and a part of this project. However, at the same time, their decision-making in a season like this when points are everything is setting Roma back in each of their last couple games. Rome probably could have scored more than they did. This seems to be a growing problem; wanting to score as a youngster is something completely standable, especially for Felix, who is experiencing his first season as a professional. However, just because he wants to score and has had a taste of it doesn’t mean that always should be his option; they were several times in the game in which there was a Roma player in a better position. Felix is athletic; he’s explosive, he’s got a good shot on him, he can dribble, and he’s rapid, but his decision-making is really bad. It needs to improve as soon as possible same goes for Nicolo zaniolo, something that has been a consistent issue with him at this club. The thing is, as much as Roma should want to hold on to him, I don’t think in good conscience they can give him an improved or new contract until we see improvements in that area. He’s coming off two knee surgeries, but that should not affect the decision-making; it’s just not been good enough. Felix, we can give a pass to for a while because this is his first season. Still, both need to improve their decision-making and play more unselfishly. Justin kluivert and under we’re talented players that played for Roma; they had moment they were very productive, arguably more effective than the two in question right now. They’re not at the club anymore because their decision-making did not improve Felix and zaniolo need to enhance the decision-making if they realistically want to be a part of the Roma future. I’m sure that they can improve, but it needs to be something that they’re constantly working on, for nothing is going to happen with it. Ultimately, in the end, it is up to them to make those adjustments and improve; the coaches are only will help them, but it will come down to their own ability to do so; points are precious, especially at this point in the season and we can’t have poor decision-making.

Physical Play

On Sunday night, it turned out to be a very physically aggressive matchup with the tension between both teams. We see physical play in Italian football once in a while occasionally, especially in rivalry games. However, how the game was conducted is comparable to Italian football in the 90s. Extraordinarily physical and ultra-competitive the referee cautioned seven different players during Roma’s 1-0 victory. It was a game that could have gone multiple ways, as a Sergio Oliveira penalty being the difference. Any rivalry may not have created the tension between the two just by the very nature of the desperate need of points. Roma wanted to end their skid, and Calgary needed points to climb out of the Relegation Zone. A potential red card claim on a dangerous tackle was administered on Felix Afena, as well as Gianluca Mancini shoving Joao Pedro into the boards in what was a genuine physical and heated match-up through the 90 minutes. Cagliari ended up on the short end of the stick while Roma was unconvincing in their 1-0 victory. Cagliari can take some positives from it, but they very well could have seen different results had they approached the game slightly differently. They hit the crossbar late in the game that could have changed everything, but it just did not occur for them. Cagliari is sitting with 16 points, two points from safety; they are not ideal but have looked much better during the second half of the campaign. There’s still time to make up but giving him a Roma was not at their best; you could argue that they missed an opportunity to at least get the point from the contest. A very physical game from both sides but ended in defeat as they will have to try again next weekend to collect the points as they tried to get themselves out of trouble.

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