Sunday, September 2, 2012

Roma Continue to Grow Under Zeman's Rule

After a disappointing summer transfer window for the Serie A, looking around at the possible contenders for the scudetto, it's evident that this season's race will have a few surprises in store. Teams like AC Milan, have lost many key players and weren't able to replace them properly, and others like Juventus and Inter just weren't able to clinch that world class player signing which could've helped set them definitively above the rest. Thanks to this lull in the Serie A's transfer market, this current season should be one of the most competitive we'll see yet. Among the clubs clawing to get a Champions League spot, Roma seems to have solidified themselves as a team ready to do the business after their impressive 3-1 victory over Inter Milan this weekend.

The match at the Stadio Meazza was an important test for Zeman's side. While Inter only finished sixth last season, the team retains a strong core of good players, and the young new manager of the nerazzurri, Andrea Stramaccioni, has been relatively successful thus far. It was a tightly contested start, with Roma showing more grit and speed (most likely due to the brutal pre-season training Zeman made the squad undergo) than the home side. On the 15th minute, Totti curled a delicate cross for Florenzi (who was completely unmarked by the sleepy Inter defence) to simply flick into the back of the net.

Totti and Osvaldo celebrating Roma's second goal
But this Roma team was nowhere close to satisfied, Osvaldo and Destro continuously made runs up front, clearing space for Totti and Florenzi to insert themselves into the box. Yet Roma met resistance as Milito narrowly missed a point blank header, and Cassano equalized against his former club, his shot getting a lucky deflection off of Burdisso's foot to finish up into the back of the goal. It was 1-1 going into the second half, and while Roma had the difficulty of playing away from home, they had the advantage of their superior fitness over Inter, who had also just played a Europa League qualifier in the midweek against Vaslui. 

Soon enough, Totti was able to create another goal, threading a pass through the Inter defence for Osvaldo to chase after and chip into the net to take the lead. The Inter defence was beginning to look tired as Osvaldo and Destro rarely stopped running, being constantly threatening. Roma continued to wear Stramaccioni's team down, and eventually Marquinho sealed the victory with a rocket volley from a narrow angle. A dominant 3-1 victory over Inter Milan at the San Siro for Roma, and while the players celebrated, Zeman seemed pensive of the work that still lay ahead for his side. 

Roma's next three matches seem fairly simple, Bologna, Cagliari, and Sampdoria, after which they'll face the Italian champions Juventus in Turin. While Zeman has plenty of time to prepare for the big clash, he is going to have to solidify any possible flaws which the team has in defence as Juventus are looking mighty after their 4-1 victory over Udinese.

It is very early in the season, but after this important away victory, Zeman's Roma continues to show signs of improvement. If he can continue to push his team forward, in a few weeks time Roma could pose a significant threat to Juventus, and possibly take down the current holders of the scudetto. What are your thoughts? Can Roma rise to the occasion this season under the guidance of Zeman? Share your comments below!


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