5 Areas Roma Must Improve for Next Season
It's hard to be overly critical of Roma's progress this season. From a side that looked completely devoid of ideas or organisation last year, they've proven themselves to be one of the most exciting sides in Europe this time around, and were it not for an exceptional Juventus, they'd have been worthy winners of the 2014 Scudetto.
That's the problem for the Giallorossi, however: the all-conquering Juventus. Normally a campaign as positive as Roma's would be more than enough to win the league, but if they want to overcome the Bianconeri—and impress in the Champions League—they're going to have to become truly spectacular.
More Options Are Needed at Full-Back
Left-back is the only area of the pitch where there isn't a clear favourite to start. That needs to change.
Injury issues and age have some wondering about Federico Balzaretti's future, and though Walter Sabatini—a man who knows more than a thing or two about young talent—is convinced that Dodo will become a great player, the Brazilian still has a lot to prove.
Alessio Romagnoli, the 19-year-old academy product, has been performing admirably when called upon, and Romanisti are hopeful that the club may have unearthed another local hero. But relying on a player so young in a vital league and European campaign would be risky.
Signing a versatile player, such as Newcastle's Davide Santon—who has been linked to the Giallorossi recently—would strengthen the options at left-back and provide cover at right-back, should there be a problem with the excellent Maicon.
They Need to Become More Ruthless
For all their undoubted attacking potential, Roma have been guilty of not finishing off teams soon enough this season. The recent game against Torino was the perfect example; they were in control, had plenty of chances, but in the end needed a last-minute winner from Alessandro Florenzi to seal the deal.
Next season, the Giallorossi need to show their opponents just how clinical and merciless they can be in front of goal—otherwise, a slip-up will likely derail their Scudetto challenge.
The Squad Needs More Than One Top-Class Striker
For a team with an abundance of attacking talent, there's still room for an experienced, top-class forward.
Mattia Destro is perhaps the only proper striker in the squad—aside from Marco Boriello, whose future is uncertain—and while the young Italian is among the best young prospects in the league, it would be foolish to rely solely on one player for goals in a campaign for the league title, and that also includes European football.
Bayern Munich's out-of-favour Mario Mandzukic, or someone similar, would provide another option up front and a regular source of goals at home and in the Champions League.
Discipline Could Be Better
With 60 yellow cards so far this season, Roma rank among the league's best-behaved sides. That's probably because the defensive core of the squad is so skilled, they rarely have to dive in or make rash tackles.
There have, however, been more reds than the manager will have liked. Roma have had a player sent off five times this season, the same amount as Juventus and Napoli combined.
Roma's players aren't short on passion, but when that boils over into anger and rage, it only damages the team and leaves them vulnerable for no good reason.
Possession and Shots Need to Equal More Goals
Only AC Milan have taken more shots per game on average this season. No one's enjoyed more possession than the Giallorossi, nor can any side challenge them in terms of their pass completion.
Despite this, five teams have scored more goals than Roma from open play. They do well in terms of goals from counter-attacks and set-pieces, but for the most part, the Lupi's impressive goal difference is mostly down to their rock-solid defence conceding so few.
Another striker will help improve this deficiency and should also help them win more aerial duels. That would be an important addition, because this season only Torino have won fewer per game.