Connect in the back of the net

Patience is a virtue. No, really, it is.

Just ask Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco, whose future on the Giallorossi bench was already being called into question after a mere two rounds of Serie A action this season.

A 3-1 defeat at home to Inter resulted in a barrage of criticism coming his way, with some even going as far to suggest that the Pescara native pays little or no attention to his team’s defensive shape during training.

Looking back now, those reports were either misinformed or, as club president James Pallotta would have you believe, just plain spiteful.

Either way, they have lost only one match since (versus Napoli) and turned in a very fine performance against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League.

 

Positives

Are there now positives to be drawn? Most definitely.

A quick glance at the Roma team sheet last night against Crotone and it is clear EDF is fully intent on evolving and moulding the side in his image.

Rick Karsdorp, Gerson and Cengiz Ünder all started alongside Maxime Gonalons and Aleksandar Kolarov, who has arguably been Roma’s best player so far during this campaign.

Despite only managing to score a single goal, the fact they had 20 shots and 72.6% ball possession would suggest nothing other than a very dominant attacking display – exactly the type of performance their 48-year-old boss revels in.

 

Looking to leave his own mark

Given their sublime form in Serie A under Luciano Spalletti over the last 18 months, it would have been easy for EDF to arrive and simply rest on his laurels.

As a member of Fabio Capello’s 2000/01 squad – Roma’s last Scudetto-winning team – he is determined to leave his own legacy as boss of the Stadio Olimpico giants.

While the system used in recent times remains largely intact, the injection of fresh, hungry players such as Lorenzo Pellegrini and the aforementioned trio of youngsters has provided a fresh impetus.

 

Schick, the missing puzzle piece?

Let us not forget the fact that a certain Patrik Schick has only played 15 minutes of competitive football since his arrival from Sampdoria during the summer.

Once he is fully-fit, firing and lining up alongside Edin Džeko, Roma’s forward line will be looked upon with an equal measure of fear and envy.

If EDF can strike the right balance between fielding both of them while remaining solid defensively, there is absolutely no reason why the Giallorossi should not be challenging Napoli, Inter and Juventus for honours come the business end of the season.

 

Written by Jordan Russell

Follow Jordan on Twitter @JordRuss96 

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