• Our Opinion

Roma need to make a strong comeback against Lecce

Getty Images

AS Roma were put to shame against Atalanta after making such a strong start to the season and need to bounce back in style.

While AS Roma have made a pretty good start to the new campaign, it is clear that the recent humbling at home to Atalanta clearly shows that Paulo Fonseca needs to do better. The new coach has breathed in fresh life at the club but the recent outing showed that things need to improve a little more.

Before that game started, pretty much every media outlet knew the sort of lineup Giallorossi would be going for – a usual 4-2-3-1 with Alessandro Florenzi playing as a winger.

However, it was quite a shock for all of us when we saw Aleksandar Kolarov start the game on the left side of a back three. Florenzi and Leonardo Spinazzola were operating as full backs and the coach completely changed the formation to 3-4-2-1.

The formation was changed to adjust to Atalanta’s playing style. While it did work from a defensive standpoint, it really put a dampener on proceedings. The approach effectively ruined Roma’s attacking prowess, something that has done wonders for them so far this season.

In the last five games(before this one), Roma had scored 14 goals and it was indeed mind-boggling to see the team give too much respect to an Atalanta side that has made a very slow start to the new campaign.

Clearly, the Portuguese tactician got his tactics wrong. The moment Duvan Zapata was brought on by Gianpiero Gasperini, things started unraveling. Roma struggled to put together moves that they had been in their preferred formation as the Colombian made a nuisance of himself before scoring the opener.

Chris Smalling gives hope

While his recent displays with Manchester United weren’t too great, Smalling has definitely made a great first impression at the Olimpico. The Englishman perfectly complements Fonseca’s defensive preferences.

Sitting in the middle of the back three, the centre-back was very impressive and did well to contain Josip Ilicic in the first half of the game. While most of his teammates struggled to cope with Atalanta in the second half, Smalling was at the heart of everything good.

Clearly, the England international is going to enjoy his team in Rome.

Now with Lecce set to test out Roma this Sunday, Fonseca needs to revert back to the same formation that has been doing him a world of good since the beginning of the season. The team is pretty much comfortable with the regular formation and making tweaks in games where a lot is at stake, can be hazardous.

Lecce are definitely going through a lot of struggles at the moment but should not be taken lightly. After conceding 11 goals already, Fabio Liverani’s side are going to head into the game with a lot of confidence after registering a crucial 3-1 win over fellow relegation candidates, SPAL.

For Roma though, time for tweaking things has long gone and Fonseca’s coaching acumen would be closely monitored in the coming months.