Roma-Empoli in the Coppa Italia was supposed to get the Giallorossi back on track after a series of negative results in the Scudetto race. What followed was 120 minutes that optimised the capital club’s growing issues in a season that has stuttered recently.
Defensive lapses have reared their ugly head in the last three games, which will be worrying Coach Rudi Garcia, who is having to make do without key central defender Leandro Castan and ongoing injury problems to fellow centre-back Kostas Manolas. Davide Astori and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who we praised recently here, have struggled with costly errors, perhaps due to being fielded in multiple games over this stretch.
The biggest issues still centre on creativity and goal scoring. Miralem Pjanic, the midfield fulcrum, has failed to impose himself in recent weeks. The Bosnia playmaker has become anonymous and, especially last night, has 永利赌场网址struggled to replicate last season’s form.
A side that can field the likes of Pjanic, Kevin Strootman, Daniele De Rossi and Radja Nainggolan shouldn't be struggling to put teams under pressure. Often times the Lupi are running out of ideas on what to do with the ball. The midfield looks static, unable to press and penetrate effectively.
At this stage it isn't a question of commitment, more so a lack of invention. The Giallorossi's short, sharp passing game isn't having the desired final outcome and currently lacks a real impetus to unlock opposition defences.
The Bayern Munich drubbing in the Champions League has arguably dented confidence even more than first anticipated. The mediocre form can trace its roots back to that damaging defeat, with the team reverting into a shell, not having confidence to play their natural game, perhaps worried about being too open again.
The positives from Tuesday evening’s encounter are undo澳门瑞丰ubtedly qualification to the quarter-finals, in a bid for a 10th Coppa triumph. Moreover, the positive performances of Argentine youngsters Juan Iturbe and Leandro Paredes can be building blocks for the capital outfit.
Iturbe at 21 has felt the weight of his €22m summer transfer, perhaps in attempting to do too much in the early part of the season. Now with Gervinho away on Africa Cup of Nations duty, the winger has settled down, with a series of first team opportunities being afforded to him.
His work-rate, speed and energy are never in doubt and last night he looked increasingly dangerous, operating as a striker alongside Mattia Destro at times in a 4-3-1-2, as well as a winger, shifting from left to right on a traditional Giallorossi 4-3-3 setup. His goal would have given him new found confidence in his abilities.
Paredes has been given the faith of Garcia over the last couphg外围le of games and is beginning to show his undoubted technique and quality, at just 20. There is a reason why the club want to make his move from Boca Juniors permanent soon.
Rudi Garcia noted in his Press conference: “The most important thing is to get through the next round.” Roma did that, but a performance littered with a continuing lack of spark is something the Coach will be desperate to reverse sooner, rather than later.