Following their draw against Atalanta, Roma are now seventh, 10 points behind fourth-placed Juventus. With 6 games to go, Roma will need a miracle to avoid missing a Champions League finish for the third year in a row.
The team’s last hope for European football could be the Europa League trophy, facing favourites Manchester United in the semi-finals. This is yet another disappointing season for the Giallorossi, which might result in the sacking of manager Paolo Fonseca.
Why Roma Champions League Dream Will Be Shattered For Third Year Running
Struggles against the Top Six
The main factor that kept Roma from climbing in the standings was their inability to get results against the top six; Inter, AC Milan, Atalanta and Juventus, Napoli and Lazio.
Fonseca’s men are yet to register a single win in 10 games against these sides. Not only have they failed to win, the club got embarrassed by their opponents too many times. They lost 4-0 against Napoli, 4-1 against Atalanta and 3-0 against Lazio.
Their struggle to show up in big games has lasted all season. This year’s title fight has been more competitive than ever, however, Roma had every opportunity to get three points on multiple occasions. The tactical approach to some games was all wrong and costed them in the long run. Roma very much deserve their current seventh place.
Roma have been unlucky with injuries to key players throughout the year. Henrikh Mhkitaryan, Stephan El Shaarawy, Chris Smalling, Pedro, Leonardo Spinazzola, Marash Kumbulla and Antonio Mirante have missed a substantial amount of games.
Wonderkid Nicolo Zaniolo missed the entire season because of a second ACL injury. This meant that on very few occasions was Roma at full strength. It also prevented Fonseca from rotating the squad as much as he wanted to.
An impressive injury list is nothing new for the club, as they’ve been plagued by incidents in recent years. Those injuries will leave Roma fans wondering where the team might have finished.
This season’s signings have not had the impact owner Dan Friedkin would have hoped for. Whilst Jordan Veretout, Borja Mayoral and Gianluca Mancini have all been good additions, Roma hasn’t filled the roles that needed to be strengthened.
In January, the club failed to sign a new striker, a proper defensive midfielder or a short term fullback, all desperately needed. Bryan Reynolds has now joined Roma and made a couple of appearances, but it is clear that the American is a prospect and not yet ready to be a regular starter in Europe.
El Shaarawy (one goal and two assists in 11 games) and Pedro’s (five goals and five assists in 35 games) impact so far leave Roma fans a lot to desire. Chris Smalling’s permanent transfer hasn’t panned out too well, as the Englishman has missed 25 games through injury during the 2020/21 season.
Many reports suggest that Edin Dzeko and Paolo Fonseca had a fallout this season. This resulted in the number nine losing the captaincy and being dropped for a few games. There were also rumours of a mutiny following the sacking of team manager Gianluca Gombar. Whilst those claims were denied by all parties, these kinds of reports bring bad energy to the dressing room. Internal drama during the 2020/21 season is also a culprit for the club’s poor Serie A campaign.