Do Roma have what it takes to clinch fourth place in Serie A this season?

RomaPress Staff

The sacking of José Mourinho has cast some questions over AS Roma’s entire 2023/24 Serie A campaign. The experienced Portuguese coach was much-loved by the Roma faithful for bringing European silverware to the club. However, the reality is that this season’s performances have fallen well below the benchmark set. A 3-1 defeat at AC Milan saw Mourinho fired, with the club in an unusual ninth place.

The Derby loss to Lazio in the Coppa Italia quarter-final also left supporters hurting. The response? To appoint a former icon as Mourinho’s successor in the shape of Daniele De Rossi. The Rome-born 40-year-old played all but five of his 464 professional football games in Roma colours and is viewed as the ideal candidate to help reunite supporters and players alike.

Since his appointment, the team has gone on to win both Serie A games, defeating Hellas Verona at home and edging out Salernitana on their travels. Back-to-back wins have seen Roma surge back into contention, moving to within a point of fourth-placed Atalanta, albeit having played a game more than their Bergamo-based counterparts.

Can Roma and De Rossi still make something of the 2023/24 campaign?

Despite a 100% win rate since his appointment until the end of the season, the Giallorossi’s head coach admitted he still “made some mistakes” in terms of team preparation and selection. De Rossi may be a Roma legend, but his managerial CV hardly screamed that he’d be an instant success. During the 2022/23 Serie B season, he was appointed as the new manager of SPAL. However, his reign was somewhat brief. He was fired within four months, with SPAL in 18th place in Italy’s second tier.

With De Rossi still finding his feet as Mourinho’s replacement, it’s perhaps no surprise that most online sportsbooks are favouring other teams for the fourth and final Champions League spot right now. Roma are priced at +325 for a top-four finish with Betano, which is one of the most reputable licensed sites to bet online in Canada and much of Europe. It offers a host of Serie A futures markets, with AS Roma even priced higher than Atalanta and Napoli for a top-six finish, suggesting they are currently tipped to finish seventh.

A lot rests on the shoulders of the Giallorossi’s top scorer, Romelu Lukaku, to fire Roma into the top four. The Belgian powerhouse has been in good form so far this term, with nine goals in 19 Serie A appearances, averaging almost a goal every other game. However, Paulo Dybala aside, Roma do lack the offensive firepower of some of their nearest rivals for a Champions League qualification berth. If Lukaku were to be sidelined for a period of weeks, this would leave Roma stretched in the final third.

Fourth-placed Atalanta have scored only one more goal than the Giallorossi so far this season. Crucially, the statistics would appear to show that Atalanta share their goals around more of their frontline. Although their top scorer, Ademola Lookman, has just seven goals to his name, the likes of Gianluca Scamacca (6), Ederson (5) and Teun Koopmeiners (5) have also contributed well to the final third this term.

Even the current Serie A champions, Napoli, have shared their goals around somewhat better than the Giallorossi, despite also being reliant on one striker in Victor Osimhen.

The reality is that Roma will be one of a handful of teams looking to clinch that fourth and final Champions League qualification spot. The frustration for many fans will be that they harboured aspirations of breaking into the top three this term and are currently well off that pace.

Some savvy January signings could also turbocharge Roma’s top four bid. It says a lot that rivals Juventus were happy to loan Dean Huijsen to the Giallorossi, seemingly not viewing them as a threat to their own Scudetto ambitions. Huijsen is a talented, imposing central defender, with the Dutchman likely to provide some much-needed aerial prowess in both boxes. Meanwhile Spanish left back, Angelino, has signed from RB Leipzig on loan to provide more dynamism up and down the left flank.

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