As an individual moment, it rivalled anything witnessed in last season’s Champions League for drama. Armed with a 4-1 lead from the first leg of their quarter final tie against Roma, Barcelona should have cruised through to the final four. Instead, Roma mounted the mother of all fightbacks, famously winning 3-0 to overturn the deficit.

But this should have been about more than just one game, one result. Roma’s run to the semi finals of the Champions League last season should have presented them with a platform upon which to build even bigger and better things. Instead, just a handful of games into the 2018/19 season, that opportunity is being spurned.

Saturday’s shock defeat to SPAL saw Roma slip to seventh place in the Serie A table, heaping pressure on manager Eusebio di Francesco. This isn’t the first time that the 49-year-old’s job has been on the line, with questions asked from a very early stage of the season, but reports in Italy now claim he has just 16 days to avoid the sack.

But is Di Francesco really to blame? There are still a lot of moving parts still to settle at Roma, after all, following an eventful summer which saw a sizeable turnover of players. Di Francesco is undoubtedly struggling to get the most out of his squad, but there are a number of complex issues to unpick at the club.

Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo aka as Monchi Sporting Director of AS Roma

As a team unit, Roma currently lack personality, an identity. Of course, blame for that could be put at the feet of Di Francesco whose job it is to devise an overarching strategy and implement it. But some have started to target Monchi for the players he handed the manager over the summer transfer window.

Monchi is widely considered the best at his trade in the European game. He is the man credited with turning Sevilla into a force and after making the move to Roma in the summer of 2017 it appeared that he was repeating the trick in Italy. But things have crumbled somewhat since then, with many of Roma’s big summer signings failing to adapt to their new surroundings.

Of course, many of those signings, like Justin Kluivert, are still young and Monchi might argue that they were signed in the first place with the long term picture in mind. But by looking to the future Roma are wasting the opportunity they have in the present. Last season was their most profitable ever as a club, with Champions League revenue and player sales boosting revenue. Couple this with on the field success and 2017/18 was a vintage year for Roma. This season, though, is following a rather different trajectory.


Odds are correct at the time of posting

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