As the curtain draws down on another Serie A season, it proved to be a frustrating one for the capital side. Roma finished second behind Juventus for the second year running as the side from Turin picked up their 4th successive Scudetto. Always the bridesmaid never the bride.
A new squad was assembled with signings of Juan Iturbe, Ashley Cole, Seydou Keita, Salih Ucan, Leandro Paredes and Kostas Manolas. It all started so well for Roma winning their first five games in Serie A but in the first weekend in October, Roma travelled to Turin to take on Juventus but in a controversial match Juventus won the game 3-2 thanks to late winner from Leonardo Bonucci. A couple of weeks later in the Champions League Roma took on Bayern Munich in Rome after picking up 4 points from the opening two games. Bayern Munich then put on a masterclass of ball retention and attacking football, destroying Roma 7-1. Rudi Garcia tried to play his counter attacking style of football against Pep Guardiola and was taught a lesson. For the next couple of months, Roma confidence was shot and they played within themselves as their form struggled in the league and in the Champions League. Then in December, Roma were knocked out of the Champions League in stuttering circumstances as they went down in a whimper losing 2-0 at home to Manchester City.
In the New Year, Roma's winter Transfer Mercato was poor at best as an injured Victor Ibarbo and an unfit Seydou Doumbia joined to reinforce the attack. Nicola Spolli was then brought in as the 5th choice defender on loan from Catania. Going out was Mattia Destro who joined AC Milan on loan and was the type of striker that Roma missed in the last six months. In March, it was a bit too far for the Ultras in the Curva Sud who demanded the players to talk to them after an embarrassing home defeat in the Europa League to Fiorentina. It was a sad sight as Alessandro Florenzi was seen crying after walking away from the Curva Sud.
With one week of the season remaining a battle for second place was on the cards in one of the biggest Rome Derby's of the last few years. Rudi Garcia showed some tactical awareness in this game in sitting deep and nullifying Lazio attacking threat and hit Lazio on the counter and won the game late on thanks to a Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa header. The Roma players then celebrated after the final whistle in front of the Curva Sud with Francesco Totti leading the celebrations with a "GAME OVER" t-shirt.
An important summer awaits for Roma as the squad needs to be built to better challenge for the Scudetto and to go further in Europe. I think the main priority is to sort out the co-ownership of Radja Nainggolan, he has been one of Roma main performers and with the relegation of Cagliari it would make the price of the transfer easier. An improved goalkeeper, 2 full backs and a reinforced attack are needed to be more successful next year.
Samir Handanovic, Petr Cech and Mattia Perin have all been linked with the goalkeeping spot as Roma looked to add a bit of stability in goal. In defense, the full backs have been the problem and the Torino pair of Bruno Peres and Matteo Darmian would be ideal replacements. In attack, a target man is needed and as he has fallen down the pecking order at Man City, Edin Dzeko would fit the bill and link up with his Bosnian teammate Miraelm Pjanic. On the flanks, Marseille winger Andre Ayew has been linked with the club on a free transfer as the French club look to cut their large wage bill.
Roma have missed two crucial players in Leandro Castan and Kevin Strootman to long injuries for the majority of the season and they will be welcomed with open arms when pre-season starts in July.
(Article Written by Scot Munroe, a Roma supporter and Calcio writer, @ScotM87)