Roma wasn’t built in a day…

As I announced in my previous post, I no longer hold the keys to the Olympic Stadium but rather will lead my side out at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. At the time of my appointment, Roma sat in 8th place with what seems to be an insanely talented squad. The likes of Daniele De Rossi, Miralem Pjanic and Kevin Strootman are surrounded by equally impressive names such as Edin Dzeko, Juan Iturbe and Mohamed Salah. This is not a team that should be 8th in Serie A.

The difficulty with such a talented team is that I’m struggling to pick the strongest eleven, and therefore develop a philosophy. Luckily the board only want a top-half finish, so we’ll be using the three months left in the season to evaluate the squad, develop a tactic that works and see where we need strengthening. If I’m to have a hope of sorting things out, I’ll have to do an in-depth review of the squad. Here goes:

Goalkeepers

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The stand-out name here is Sergio Romero. He seems to be the automatic first-choice, and certainly was under Laurent Blanc. On loan from Man Utd – along with Milinkovic Savic – Romero will be my starter for now, unless Skorupski can prove he is worth a start.

Defenders

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Ability-wise, Alessandro Florenzi looks to be the star of our defence. He has the highest average rating of them all, and is very good going forward. My only worry is that his poor marking attribute will leave us exposed. I’ll probably start him against weaker teams, and use the more solid Jesus Gamez in the big games.

Kostas Manolas and Leandro Castan are likely the starting centre-backs, while Ezequiel Munoz will provide some back-up. Eduardo Goldaniga also looks half-decent, and should perform if required.

The problem comes at left-back. The club currently has no specialist left-backs, so I’m left wondering which of my right-backs will be able to cover. Sime Vrsaljko and Jesus Gamez appear to be my options, but they are just stop-gaps until I can bring someone else in.

Midfielders

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Miralem Pjanic, Kevin Strootman, Daniele De Rossi, Radja Nainggolan. Four names, two, naybe three central midfield positions. I’m spoilt for choice here, but the question is which combination of roles is going to get the best out of them. If you have any ideas, comment below or tweet me suggestions.

Wingers

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Again, an abundance of talent. Gervinho, Juan Iturbe, Mohamed Salah, Adem Ljajic and on-loan Marco Asensio are the options. Salah seems to be the stand-out player and the debate is who else would start alongside him. I’m struggling.

Strikers

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Now then, strikers. There are two very clear choices here. Target-man Edin Dzeko, or rapid Advanced Forward Seydou Doumbia? My head says Dzeko is more able than Doumbia, but I have never been able to use a target man to full effect (See Andy Carroll at West Ham…).

While this is a very talented squad, I’m struggling to develop a tactic that will get the best out of them. In the games played so far, I have drawn two league games, and lost over two legs to Athletic Bilbao. A reasonable start, but a win would do us a world of good.

Like I said previously, if you’ve got any maverick tactical ideas, or tips on how to best utilise this squad, comment below, or tweet me @nathdavidlewis

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