Why Roma Are a Force to Be Taken Seriously in Serie A and Across Europe
Roma have started perfectly this season, with 10 victories from as many games.
It is not just the result that has brought attention to the Giallorossi, but the manner in which they are going about their business.
Built on a solid defence—the best in Europe statistically so far this season—Rudi Garcia's side are tight at the back, which gives their ultra-talented midfield and attack a chance to win them a game with just a solitary goal.
Having only conceded one goal so far, with seven clean sheets, the Lupi have a legitimate chance of winning the Scudetto.
Roma need to be taken seriously on the peninsula, as well as across Europe due to a starting line-up that I feel can match up against any side in the league.
If Roma can stay healthy, the top three and a place in next season's Champions League should be a formality.
The title is up for debate, but if injuries can be kept to a minimum, there is no reason why Garcia cannot deliver their first title in over a decade.
To begin with, there is now a manager who is legitimately one of Europe's best tacticians, with the experience of winning titles previously.
Having claimed the Ligue 1 title and the Coup de France in 2011 with Lille, Roma now have a manager who is experienced enough to be able to handle the pressure that comes in the capital—something that is little understood on the continent.
Despite lacking a real history of consistently winning titles, the pressure in Rome is as big as any on the peninsula, and it was the wrong place for inexperienced managers such as Luis Enrique, Vincenzo Montella and Aurelio Andreazzoli.
Even though Montella is now flourishing with Fiorentina, it is a much better club for a new manager to develop his skills. His mistakes are scrutinised less in Tuscany than they would be in The Eternal City.
Zdenek Zeman is acclaimed throughout Europe for his attractive football, but it has consistently been proven to be too cavalier for the elite level of Italian football, which is evident from his lack of honours in top-flight football.
So the appointment of the former LOSC manager was probably the best decision president James Pallotta has made since the new regime arrived in 2012.
Despite losing the talented young defender Marquinhos, another key to Roma's success is the signing of Mehdi Benatia, who is one of Serie A's best centre-backs.
Borriello, Roma’s 11th different scorer— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) October 31, 2013
The Moroccan has been an instant hit with Roma, and his seniority has helped Leandro Castan to be able to take a supporting role, which was something he had trouble doing whilst playing next to his Brazilian team mate last season.
Another asset to Roma's rise to the top of Italian football has been an elite midfield that can compete with Juventus to be considered the best in the league.
The versatility is impressive, as Miralem Pjanic's creativity perfectly compliments two of the toughest midfield generals around in Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman.
Roma will not be bullied in the engine room of the side of these teams, setting a perfect foundation for their array of attacking talent to dazzle.
Of course, Roma have always been relevant over the past decade or two, as they continue to hold one of Europe's greatest ever players, Francesco Totti.
The 37-year-old continues to defy father time by contributing such outstanding performances off the back of a career-high season in terms of assists in 2012-13.
Totti has returned to a central role; something that has always been preferential for Il Capitano, as the lack of pace has meant that he is limited in how effective he can be from wide areas.
Quick, tricky wingers such as Gervinho and Adem Ljajic compete on one flank and the hard-working industry of Alessandro Florenzi again round off a versatile front line, which has become the name of Garcia's game.
Having covered all bases throughout the side, Garcia must take credit, especially after what appeared to be the fatal losses of the aforementioned Marquinhos and Erik Lamela.
So Garcia's greatest influence is removing the reliance on one or two special players, or as it tended to be, one or two special performances from game to game.
Nowadays the Giallorossi have a more collective effort, with a variety of tactics deployed by the Mister.
The title is still a long shot, but if Roma can clinch a top-three berth, it could be a game-changer in Italian football.
The American consortium have the vision to capitalise on the rewards that Champions League football would bring and fully utilise the potential that a club from one of the world's greatest cities possesses.
It could not have been a better start to his reign in Rome, with 10 victories from 10 games, after Marco Borriello's strike sealed the historic victory against Chievo, which sends Romanistas into delirium when imagining the future at the club.
Should Garcia facilitate a return to Europe's premier competition in football after a three-year absence, the competition from Italy and further afield on the continent will have no choice but to take them seriously.
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