Roma's Biggest Remaining Fixtures This Season

George Shaw@gshizzyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2013

Roma's Biggest Remaining Fixtures This Season

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    At the start of this season, a Champions League place was a realistic goal for Roma's campaign.

    Even in January, despite an unimpressive start to the year, coach Zdenek Zeman was convinced his side had what it takes to finish in a CL-qualifying spot.

    However, a 4-2 defeat at home to Cagliari proved to be one defeat too many, and with Roma trailing Serie A's top three by nine points, Zeman was sacked.

    Now, caretaker manager Aurelio Andreazzoli has been left with the difficult task of picking up the pieces of Roma's tattered season.

    If Roma are to rectify their season, these are the games they must win.

16th February: Juventus at Home, Serie A

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    Roma have suffered from an atrocious start to the year.

    A poor run of form saw Zdenek Zeman dismissed after failing to earn a league win in five attempts so far in 2013. Caretaker coach Aurelio Andreazzoli will be hoping he can steady the Giallorossi ship as soon as possible, but to do so he'll have to navigate some tricky upcoming fixtures.

    Not least the visit of league leaders Juventus to the Italian capital. When the two sides met earlier this season, Roma were on the end of a crushing 4-1 defeat, so the Giallorossi will be hoping to exact some revenge.

    By the time Juventus arrive in Rome, they'll be doing so on the back of their own relatively poor run, having dropped points on three occasions in January.

    Nevertheless, the visit of Juve will be a tricky task for Andreazzoli.

    However, a win for the home side could be crucial. There's nothing like beating the champions at home to boost flailing confidence, and a win could just be the result that helps get Roma's season back on track.

7th April: Lazio at Home, Serie A

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    The forthcoming derby with Lazio is about far more than restoring much-needed pride.

    It's more about trying to cut down the nine-point gap that separates Roma from their nearest and dearest.

    That's not to say Roma won't be out to get their own back on their closet rivals.

    A fiery encounter between the two sides back in November ended with Lazio scraping a 3-2 victory in a match that saw both sides end with ten men.

    The blue half of Rome has triumphed in this fixture for the last three meetings, and with Lazio finishing above the Giallorossi for the last two consecutive seasons, Roma will be hoping to redress the balance somewhat with an overdue derby day win.

    Lazio's recent blip in form should act as incentive for Roma to pick themselves up and earn a victory, for a win over their biggest rivals could well be the spark that reignites their European push.

17th April: Away to Inter Milan, Coppa Italia Semifinal Second Leg

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    When these two sides meet in April, it will be the fourth time the pair have locked heads this seasonand for Roma, the most important.

    The visitors head into the second leg with a narrow lead, having overcome the Nerazzurri 2-1 in a game which marked one of the few highs during Zeman's difficult second reign. 

    Roma haven't won the prestigious trophy in five years and haven't appeared in a final since losing out to their semifinal opponents back in 2010.

    With crosstown rivals Lazio having already booked their place in the final, a Roma win in the second leg could set up one the most hotly contested Coppa Italia finals in years, and with a Europa League place up for grabs, Roma will be keen not to blow this opportunity.

    A cup win, particularly over their rivals, could be the perfect remedy to temper any supporter's dissatisfaction with another potentially disappointing league campaign.

5th May: Away to Fiorentina, Serie A

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    Roma's end of season run sees them pay a visit to a side who have established themselves as one of their fiercest rivals for Europa League qualification via the league.

    Fiorentina's pre-Christmas form saw the Tuscany team rise up the Serie A table. Unbeaten in November, their impressive run had Fiorentina sitting in the giddy heights of fourth place. 

    That run only came to halt when they paid a visit to Stadio Olimpico back in December. A high-scoring affair finished with a 4-2 Roma win, ending Fiorentina's run of nine games without losing.

    While anything can happen between now and May, Fiorentina currently sit on the edge of a Europa League place in sixth, five points ahead of La Maggica. 

    Fiorentina will be eager to give Roma some payback, but if the capital side want to close that gap, then this fixture is a must-win.

12th May: Away to AC Milan, Serie A

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    The rivalry between these two sides may not contain the ferocity it once held, but a result in this meeting of the two Serie A giants could prove vital for either side.

    Milan's recent upturn in form has seen them emerge as the favourites to nick that final Champions League spot. 

    Unbeaten since their visit to Roma before Christmas, the Rossoneri have been on great form of late, grinding out win after win on a run that has them sitting three points off Lazio in third.

    Bolstered by the signing of the ever-controversial Mario Balotelli, they’ll go into the return fixture confident of getting revenge in the penultimate game of the season. 

    While Champions League qualification may be an unrealistic aim for Roma, they must do all they can to ensure they get a result in this match to stay in the hunt for European football.

19th May: Napoli at Home, Serie A

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    Roma finish their Serie A campaign with a visit from high-flying Napoli, whose form has been a revelation this season, with Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani grabbing the headlines for his impressive performances and goal tally.

    The capital side will be well aware of the threat posed by Cavani. It was his hat-trick in the previous meeting between the two sides that helped sink Roma 4-1 in a comprehensive win for Napoli.

    At the end of last season, three points separated Napoli from a Champions League place finish. The same number of points also saw the Naples side edge a Europa League spot over rivals Inter Milan.

    If the table is as tight this time around as it was at this stage last season, and if Roma still find themselves in contention for a European spot, a win at home in the Derby del Sole could provide La Maggica with their most important three points of the season.