AS Roma Season Review

AS Roma

The 2019/2020 season was one of the strangest seasons in recent memory. The interruption of play due to the pandemic changed the momentum for many teams.

A perfect example of this is the Serie A. Before the break, Juventus and Lazio were neck and neck. Fast forward a few weeks later, and Lazio finished fourth. Opposite the other team in the Italian capital, AS Roma, seemed to benefit from the forced hiatus. The Giallorosis got 22 points out of a possible 24 in the last eight matches. However, the squad still couldn’t secure Champions League football, finishing eight points behind their bitter rivals. They were also knocked out of the Europa League by Sevilla in the round of 16. Considering all of these factors, was this a positive season for AS Roma?

A Turbulent Season for AS Roma

The Positives

In recent years, AS Roma had made many poor signing decisions, with the likes of Steven Nzonzi, Patrik Schick or Gregoire Defrel.

This season, however, the new arrivals have been beneficial to the side. Jordan Veretout and Amadou Diawara bring stability to the midfield. They also allow Pellegrini to get more offensive freedom, which is where he shines the brightest.

The Premier League rejects Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have had a big impact on the team, and Roma should look into singing them permanently, especially Smalling. Since his return, Bruno Peres has been brilliant as a right wing-back. Even backup players were important in the last season. Nikola Kalinic granted more rest for Edin Dzeko without weakening the team too much. Gonzalo Villar, Roger Ibanez and Mert Cetin showed potential for the future. All in all, the new arrivals have been a big improvement comparing with recent seasons.

Nicolo Zaniolo

Sidelined for six months due to an ACL injury, Nicolo Zaniolo is one of very few players to have benefited from the COVID-19 hiatus. His return has had an electric effect on the starting eleven, contributing to Roma’s great end of the season. With flair and electrifying solo runs, the 21-year-old has proven that he is the real deal and a potential future superstar if he can stay healthy. Without Zaniolo’s impact, the side has seemed dull and lacked creativity. After his injury against Juventus on January 12, Fonseca’s men lost seven out of their 15 next matches and drew once. His presence is very much needed to unlock the attack, however, Roma will have to fight tooth and nail in order to keep their wonderkid.


During the season, Roma were let down by many regular first-team players who did not step up.

Firstly, the talisman Dzeko was very disappointing in this campaign. On paper, 16 goals in 35 games for a 34-year-old is not a bad return at all. However, statistics often don’t tell the whole story. Roma’s number nine has shown major signs of slowing down this year. This is not Dzeko’s fault. As a 34-year-old, he should not be the main threat for a side aspiring to a Champions League finish. The Bosnian would be a great backup striker for any team or even a second striker in a two up-front set-up. However, he simply doesn’t have the legs to get involved in the game like he used to. This could be worrying for next season if a new striker isn’t signed.

New signing Gianluca Mancini had a rough first season for the Giallorossis. When played as a centre-back, he lacked composure on the ball and rushed into tackles when defending, even giving away clumsy penalties. Mancini was booked 14 times this year and received a second yellow.

He was also aligned as a number six and seemed more comfortable, but he wasn’t better than the other options that Paulo Fonseca had at his disposal. Of course, he is still very young at 24 years of age, and has a lot of time to develop as a solid defender.

Having shown signs of great promise last year, fans were expecting a lot from Lorenzo Pellegrini this year, but he couldn’t deliver good performances consistently. The young Italian is capable of much better than what he produced. The Romanistas will hope to see him bloom for the 2020/21 season.

The Board

The AS Roma hierarchy have been problematic in recent years. Their main failure this season is their incapacity to extend loan spells for Smalling and Zappacosta until the end of the Europa League. As well as that, ex-president James Pallotta and sporting director Petrachi had inner feuds which lead to the indefinite suspension of the latter, with vague information given out to the fans. All of that could change next season, as the takeover of multimillionaire Dan Friedkin has been officialized earlier this week.

Paulo Fonseca & League Finish

For his first season in charge, Roma’s performance under Paulo Fonseca was not brilliant, but acceptable nonetheless. Many starters had never played together prior to this year, and a new style of play was implemented. Those adjustments take time, and Fonseca deserves just that. He did well to modify the formation, after a terrible run of form, from a 4-2-3-1 that did not work to a 3-4-2-1 that unlocked Bruno Peres’ offensive abilities. Mancini looked much more comfortable in a three at the back formation, and Kolarov was not outpaced so much by fast wingers when playing at centre-back. This resulted in Justin Kluivert losing a lot of minutes, as he did not fit this new system.

Once again, Roma finished outside of the top four. Many Romanistas will be disappointed and will consider this season a failure. Objectively speaking, they did not underachieve this season. Juventus, Inter, Atalanta and Lazio are simply superior sides at the moment, and a fifth place finish is only fair for the Giallorossis. They will have to improve collectively as a team next year to deserve a Champions League qualification.

Where Should AS Roma Go From Here?

This year was a rebuilding year for Roma. A new coach, new faces, new sporting director and now a new president. The club is desperately in need of stability. They will have to stick with Fonseca and his mentality, as well as establish what the first 11 should be.

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