10 Things You Need to Know About Roma This Season
Roma's dramatic rise to prominence is one of the feel-good stories in world football. A squad with one of the most passionate fan bases, Roma has been often times starved of trophies despite a team that has continued to play aesthetically pleasing football.
They are the current league leaders at the top of Serie A, and this incredible turnaround happened in only one summer.
Here are 10 things you need to know about Roma this season:
Their Goal Differential Is Second to None
After 11 matchdays, Roma have only conceded two goals while scoring 25. This is the best ratio in Europe among the top five leagues and one to be incredibly proud of considering the porous defensive nature of the team in recent years.
It's no surprise that they got off to one of the finest starts in football history.
They Made the Defensive Signing of the Summer
After letting go of talented teenage defender Marquinhos for a hefty price tag, Roma's management decided to bolster the back line with the much more experienced Mehdi Benatia, who joined from Udinese.
The Moroccan international is in his prime and has proved to be an exceptional Serie A center-back who possesses an imposing physique mixed with a bit of technique, which has caught opponents by surprise when he has ventured forward.
Rudi Garcia Is an Absolute Magician
Despite winning the Ligue 1 title with Lille, few outside France really knew what the coach was all about when Roma took him on board over the Summer.
It's incredible to think that it took a Frenchman to teach an Italian side how to defend, but this was exactly the case as Garcia has led Roma to historic heights and has instantly become a fan favorite.
Roma Started Turnaround with Savvy Business
Selling Marquinhos to PSG for €32m was the reason why Roma were able to take on various players to lead the way in the Capital.
Kevin Strootman, Gervinho, Mehdi Benatia, Adem Ljajic, and Maicon were the five upgrades made which ensured Roma a deeper and more experienced team.
Gervinho Is Thriving Under His Old Coach
Gervinho has already managed three goals domestically for Roma and has made himself an integral part of the formation after joining from Arsenal over the Summer.
Even though his spell with Arsenal left plenty to be desired, one quick look at recent history shows that Gervinho's rise after being reunited with Rudi Garcia shouldn't surprise anyone.
After all, it was under this coach that the Ivorian winger had his best professional season at Lille, playing in a way that attracted Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger who pulled the trigger for his services.
Not Playing in Europe Has Been a Blessing
Roma's poor finish last season meant that they wouldn't take part in any European competition this season.
While on paper this could seem depressing for Giallorossi fans, it has actually been an enormous blessing in disguise, as it's one of the reasons why Roma has been so successful as they only have to focus on the Serie A campaign while other top teams have to expend more energy during midweek European fixtures.
Garcia Has Revolutionized Roma's 4-3-3
Roma's last memory with the 4-3-3 formation was under the diabolically offensive Zdenek Zeman, who urged full-backs to play as wingers, a move that would leave the defense dramatically exposed.
This tactical setup was refurbished by Rudi Garcia, as his philosophy has been to build the team through the back with an impenetrable defensive unit doubled by a stout midfield.
Roma in Line for New Stadium
If Roma fans weren't happy enough, their President, James Pallotta, came out with the news that the team is planning to build a new state-of-the-art stadium which would be ready in three years.
The new stadium would replace the dated Stadio Olimpico, which has been standing since 1936. Despite its gargantuan size, the running track around it takes away from the drama, and it is hardly ever full as it holds more than 80,000 people.
Roma Has Fantastic Young Players
Some of Roma's finest performers haven't even entered their prime yet, as the likes of Miralem Pjanic, Kevin Strootman, Gervinho and Adem Ljajic are still only in their early to mid 20s and have so much more to give.
More importantly, the team has found the perfect mix of youthful exuberance and veteran leadership to take them to the next level.
Francesco Totti Has Been Revitalized
At 37 years old, Francesco Totti is still his vintage old self. The recent changes in the squad have rejuvenated the Roman legend, and he has been playing incredible football in the past two seasons.
Other than the occasional injury problem, Totti has been great at adapting his game to his deteriorating physical skills.
His pace is gone, so he has used his body more to shield off defenders rather than trying to get by them with any semblance of speed. He can still play a full 90 minutes effectively, and there's no one with better vision in Italy in the attacking third.