Roma 2 Sampdoria 1
Roma continued their mini-revival under the auspices of Luciano Spalletti, winning their third consecutive game in Serie A. What looked like a routine home win turned into a nervy 2-1 win over Sampdoria. With Fiorentina and Inter both stuttering, the Giallorossi have stormed back into contention for the last Champions League spot on the back of nine points in their last three games.
Starting with the positives, Spalletti’s men really should have buried the game in the first half. There was some fabulous interplay between Mohamed Salah and the pair of new signings, Diego Perotti and Stephan El Shaarawy. At least three clear chances were wasted before Alessandro Florenzi grabbed the opener on the stroke of half time. Perotti then scored an excellent second early in the second half. In stead of seeing the game out, Roma then suffered their traditional bout of nerves. Sampdoria got one goal back courtesy of a Miralem Pjanic deflection and then the home side’s midfield lost the plot completely. The visitors piled the pressure and only a trio of brilliant saves by Wojciech Szczesny ensured the capital side took the three points.
While Roma are gaining some sense of momentum, la Samp remain mired in the relegation battle. Vincenzo Montella’s men seem to play at a high level for about 40 minutes in each match, but their poor phases of play are being ruthlessly punished by their opponents. Montella has to get the team focused from kickoff to the final whistle. It may be easy to dismiss their relegation fears on the basis of the team being too good, but a rut at this stage of the season can be irreversible. It is only the inadequacies of Carpi, Frosinone and Hellas Verona that separate Sampdoria from the relegation zone. There is undisputed firepower in the team with Luis Muriel, but Montella needs to tighten up at the back immediately so that Sampdoria can at least salvage a lower mid-table finish. If not, it’s going to be hard to see Montella managing at the Marassi past the end of the season.