Roma rebounded from a tough defeat away to Lecce by emerging victorious over an Udinese side also battling for a Champions League place. Roma Journal looks at five things we learnt about Luis Enrique’s side in their critical 3-1 win.
1. Francesco Totti remains vital
Captain Francesco Totti missed the Lecce disaster due to injury but was back in the side against Udinese. He showed players and fans alike just exactly what they missed last week with an excellent display, scoring Roma’s second goal and almost adding another. His passing was as creative and as pro-active as ever and he constantly dropped into deeper positions in order to link the midfield with the attack, arguably the teams weakest attribute last weekend. While some may argue that Totti gets in the way of Miralem Pjanic by dropping so deep, there is no doubting his effectiveness in this role. Totti’s age may have slowed him down but there is no substitute for guile and intelligence. More importantly, his experience is much needed in a side that is still learning its new craft in the cut throat world of Serie A.
2. Marquinho looks like a very handy player
January signing Marquinho appears to be settling in well. After a slow start where he appeared to employ an unsuccessful shoot-from-anywhere strategy, the Brazilian midfielder has found his feet. His driving runs from midfield and ability to pop up in the box at crucial times have earned comparisons to one of his teammates, Simone Perrotta. With all due respect to Perrotta, Marquinho is technically sound, comfortable in possession and appears to have a consistently good first touch. The recent poor form of Fernando Gago means Marquinho may get his chance to start alongside first choice midfielders Daniele De Rossi and Miralem Pjanic in the coming weeks.
3. The squad is united and fully behind Luis Enrique
As Luis Enrique alluded to in his post-match interview, some of Roma’s poor results have been inexcusable this season. While the players and coach deserved to be criticised last weekend, they have usually responded well in the face of adversity and the win against Udinese was another prime example. The body language, goal celebrations and post match comments from players all point to a squad that is united, in good spirits and fully behind Luis Enrique. Despite the odd incident this year, the suggestion that Luis Enrique has lost the dressing room is both absurd and unfounded.
4. Roma are a different side at home
The difference between Roma’s home and away form couldn’t be more apparent. The raw numbers are simply disturbing: At home Roma have played 16 games for 10 wins, three draws and just three losses. Away from home the team has played the same amount of games, but won just five, drawn two and lost nine. At home, Roma has scored 34 goals and conceeded 16 but away from home those numbers dwindle to a poor 18 goals scored and 26 conceded. There appears to be no magical solution for the side’s away form, but Luis Enrique needs to rectify it as soon as possible if Roma are any chance of finishing third and qualifying for next seasons Champions League.
5. Osvaldo may have been worth €15M after all
Pablo Daniel Osvaldo has divided critics this season but against Udinese he scored his 11th Serie A goal of the year. His transfer fee raised eyebrows due to the fact he didn’t make a huge impact at his previous spell in Serie A with Fiorentina. However, there is no doubt he is a genuine goalscorer that Roma have lacked since Gabriel Batistuta. Osvaldo drifts in and out of games, has an attitude that is often questionable and scores many “ugly” goals, but at the end of the day he is doing his job and doing it very well.