Roma have enjoyed a fantastic start to the season under the new management of Rudi Garcia
Roma have started to look like a world-class side again, just like they did when Fabio Capello managed them. Back then players such as Gabriel Batistuta, Cafu, Vincenzo Montella and Francesco Totti made Roma a great side when they won the Scudetto in 2001.
Amazingly, Totti is still having a huge impact for Roma now. Totti holds both the record for most appearances and most goals for the club and the captain has already contributed to three goals and six assists in the league this season.
Roma finished 6th last season, and with former Lille coach Rudi Garcia arriving this season people weren’t expecting Roma to cause any surprises. Instead they have become the most in-form team in Europe. Ten straight victories from their opening fixtures have given Roma a superb start to the season, and look like genuine contenders for the title now.
Garcia won Ligue 1 with Lille in 2011 but Roma fans weren’t convinced that he would be the right man to take them forward. He had many doubters but despite the enormous pressure that comes with the job, he has found the right formula combining his new signings with the talismanic Totti.
The Frenchman has an experienced Italian coach alongside him in Aurelio Andreazzoli, who has been at Roma for the last ten years and now works as a technical director. Garcia has obviously won the fans round now but he will be expected to keep this run going. The club’s longest winning streak in Serie A was 11 games in 2005-2006. He may well surpass this and carry on setting records.
Roma lost some huge players this summer and it looked like it would be difficult to replace such key footballers. Erik Lamela was transferred to Tottenham, Maarten Stekelenburg to Fulham and Pablo Osvaldo to Southampton. They replaced these England-bound players superbly well, and the squad looks better overall now.
Morgan De Sanctis was brought in to replace Stekelenburg. Add to that the quality of Mehdi Benatia and the experience of Maicon and the defence looks very impressive. Replacements for Lamela arrived in Gervinho from Arsenal, and Adam Ljajic from Fiorentina.
Both have already had great starts to their career. They also secured the signing of much-wanted Kevin Strootman from PSV. Aside from new signings the experienced Daniele De Rossi and the talented Miralem Pjanic make Roma’s midfield look better than most in Italy.
Their form has been a revelation in Italy and with no European competition to distract them this season, their total focus will be on Serie A. I enjoyed watching the successful Roma side in 2000-2001 and although there is a lot of passion at all the clubs in Italy there is something special about Roma. It would be great for Totti to win another Scudetto also. The one-club man is already a legend, but perhaps is a little short on honours in Italy. He deserves another title and Rudi Garcia may just bring it back to the club come the end of the season.
Napoli have also looked promising this year, but Roma were able to beat them 2-0 and are now five points ahead of them. Juventus look like the only other realistic title contenders as Inter Milan and AC Milan have both had indifferent starts. Roma look like a very hard side to beat this season. They are scoring goals and barely conceding any. Just the one goal conceded so far in 10 league games. A fantastic record, showing that the new recruits have clearly gelled into the team well.