Written by Joshua O'Byrne (@JobJobBinks):
Roma currently find themselves in 2nd place in Serie A and 4 points behind leaders Juventus. So far Spalletti will be happy with where Roma sit in the standings. However, the manner of I Giallorossi’s performances this year has been a real cause for concern for Spalletti and fans alike. Roma seem to be keeping last seasons trend of blacking out during matches, conceding too many goals and struggling with their away form. I Giallorossi are going to have to improve quickly to remain title contenders or even to maintain their place in the top three, as their next three games are against Lazio, Milan and Juventus. These three games are crucial for Roma and will be one of the potential major turning points for their season and their title ambitions.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for a manager to watch is your team dominate the majority of the game, only to see your side to completely fall asleep for a small period of the game concede a goal or two and let your opponents back into the game. This is a feeling that Luciano Spalletti has become quite familiar with during his time with Roma. Under Spalletti, The Giallorossi has a tendency to fall asleep after racing into an early lead and they allow their opponents back into the game. These blackout periods that Roma suffer from are something that urgently needs attention. When playing against the small teams Roma tend to get away with these blackout periods. A recent example being their last match against Pescara. Roma raced into an early 2-0 lead and missed many chances to put the game to bed. Then with half an hour to go Pescara scored after Roma's defense fell asleep, Spalletti's men then woke back up and Perrotti made it 3-1 from the spot. Game, set and match Spalletti might have been thinking, however three minutes later Roma's non existent backline conceded again making it 3-2. Fortunately for I Gialllorossi they were able to see out the win but against better quality opposition they will not be able to get away with these blackout periods and they could cost them a lot of points by the end of the season.
Spalletti will also need to address Roma's defensive issues. Although they are the top goal scorers in Serie A with 33 goals, I Lupi have already conceded 16 goals in 14 matches. Roma will certainly need to tighten up their defense if they are serious about mounting a title challenge to Juventus. Roma's defensive frailties could cost them dearly in the next three games and it could see them outside the top after their next three matches. Spalletti's men also need to drastically improve their away form. Roma's total of 8 points away from home is the worst out of all the clubs currently in the top five. Two of their next three vital matches are away from home one against Juventus and against Lazio they are technically the away side. Roma will need to solve their problems away from home if they are to pick up points against Lazio and Juventus.
Spalletti will find himself under immense pressure over the next three games. A poor result against a high flying Lazio side in the Derby Della Capitale could send Roma reeling in despair as points against Milan and especially Juventus won't come easy. Whereas a win against Lazio will set Roma up nicely for their fixtures against Milan and Juventus. Whatever the outcome may be there is no doubt however that if Roma don't improve their performances over the next three games they risk falling out of the top three and risk the strong possibility of another disappointing season...