AS Roma – Napoli: The Long Term Picture Is A Blurry One (2-0)
AS Roma finally pierced through towards the end, after Matteo Politano’s dismissal, but the game was reflective of just how stagnant things have gone in the Southern part of Italian football.
Tactical analysis and match report by Joel Parker.
Just before the winter break, Serie A scheduled two teams in desperate need of recovery to get into a comfortable Champions League fighting position.
Roma has been fully José-fied. Their quality can bypass teams from the lower part of the table, but their passive style has not beaten teams of/above their level. Thiago Motta’s Bologna showcased this with a 2-0 win over Mourinho’s team, a game which followed a classic Roma script, incapable of creating quality chances. They have recruited big hitters, but their stagnation domestically explains why their ownership has gone quiet on Mourinho’s renewal.
Another team with problems is Napoli, the champions who have held a very weak defense of their crown. Brief signs of recovery have shown under Walter Mazzarri, but clearing the problems he inherited is a very difficult task. This is a team that still tries to operate in the same structure, but all the fluidity and relation have been taken out. Humiliation in the Coppa Italia, a 4-0 defeat at home to Frosinone, has certainly not helped Mazzarri.
Romelu Lukaku was the return Mourinho badly needed, one of three changes from the team that lost to Bologna. Stephan El Shaarawy, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Leonardo Spinazzola came out, Edoardo Bove and Nicola Zalewski (like Lukaku, back from suspension) returned to Roma’s classic 3-5-2 system.
Mazzarri had . . .