The resurgence of AS Roma under Rudi Garcia
Seen as a Messiah by many Roma fans, Rudi Garcia who was third behind Massimiliano Allegri and Walter Mazzarri in Sporting Director Walter Sabatini’s list to take over the reins in Rome has certainly transformed AS Roma into the giant they once were. Furthermore, by the looks of it, there’s more to come from them in the coming years. The classy and composed Frenchman came with a reputation of being a success in France, being voted French football manager of the year in 2011 & 2013. He has succesfully built a side which is well capable of challenging the best of teams around in Europe.
In the past year, Roma weren’t in the best of financial conditions and being under pressure had to sell the likes of Erik Lamela, Pablo Osvaldo and Marquinhos. Garcia, now had the task to replace as well as build a side he wished to. Experienced goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis and Maicon led the list of arrivals in Rome. Mehdi Benatia, Kevin Strootman and Adem Ljajic were bought too. Although seen as a risk, Garcia also bought Gervinho from Arsenal, who had been excellent under him previously at Lille. This set of players have so far flourished under the Frenchmen’s style of play.
Garcia likes his team to build from the back, as seen in his previous sides. In Leandro Castan and Benatia, Roma have one of the best young centre backs in Italy. This is a partnership which has been rock solid this season and has played a major part in their transformation. The full-backs have also been on par with the men in the middle. Maicon has as always contributed a lot in the attacking third as well as defensively. Dodo and Balzaretti on the other hand have been consistent too.
The Core of this Roma side – the trio of Pjanic, De Rossi and Strootman have worked wonders this campaign. Daniele De Rossi is a re-born player under Garcia. He’s been allowed to play as an orchestrator in midfield along with Strootman. The Dutchman has been Roma’s most consistent player this season . Garcia has found the perfect balance offensively and defensively as well as a blend of youth and experience. This in return led to the team conceding only one goal in the first 10 fixtures of the season, proving that Roma are indeed an excellent defensive unit.
Miralem Pjanic’s creativity and awareness has been second to none in that midfield as he’s been a constant provider to the likes of Francesco Totti, Alessandro Florenzi, Ljajic and particularly Gervinho whose pace has been terrifying defences and is in excellent form this year. In Pjanic, Roma have that composed No.10 every top team needs. The Bosnian has an eye for a killer pass and can pick out players in difficult circumstances, be it with through balls or long balls. No wonder the transition from defence to attack this season has been a pleasure to watch. All credit to these three midfield men who have been the driving force this season.
Francesco Totti has often been deployed as a false 9 this season. A role in which he has previously excelled and as of now is arguably his best position considering his age. The captain has a great understanding with the wide players in Gervinho and Florenzi who have been great in providing as well as scoring themselves. The likes of Adem Ljajic and Mattia Destro have also been sharp and decisive when called upon.
All in all , Rudi Garcia has formed a team that can not only play the creative brand of football he desires them to play, but can also do a job in the most difficult of situations. The young talented players in this team are only going to get better and learn from the experienced ones. It’s safe to say that AS Roma have made a bright start in their quest to dominate Italian football on a consistent basis again.