Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez, Brendan Rodgers, David Moyes, Nuno Santo and now Rudi Garcia: The list of sacked top-team managers keeps on growing. While Manchester United and Milan fans await the imminent news of the sacking of their head coach, Roma swooped in and hired their former coach Luciano Spalletti. Will the Italian put the Giallorossi back on track for a top three finish or is it too late?
While many may know Spalletti as the man who lead Roma to a 7-1 loss against Manchester United, his Roma side achieved a lot during his era between 2005 and 2009. From beating big sides including Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Arsenal to winning Coppa Italia and the Italian Super cup. Many Roma fans are nostalgic for the good football their team played under Luciano even if he did not win the league. Perhaps, now he has the chance to finish what he started, if not this season, then the next one.
Spalletti is known for his 4-2-3-1 formation, he was the man who trusted captain Francesco Totti to play as a lone striker when there was no one else to play. Today, he has Edin Dzeko on board, will he be able to get the best out of him and make him find his best form again? His chances are definitely higher than the ones of Garcia. While the back-line looks like a mess, Luciano’s current side boasts a better attacking team than the one that had Amantino Mancini, Simone Perrotta and Rodrigo Taddei. Wingers Mohamed Salah, Alessandro Florenzi and Gervinho have loads of quality and any two of them can complete the attacking midfield trio with Miralem Pjanic, who can finally play more openly up front.
Daniele De Rossi and Radja Nainggolan will undoubtedly be the team’s two holding midfielders. The duo have already established a good partnership and now under Spalletti they can dictate the tempo against any Italian opponent. The real problem however, is in the back-line. Spalletti is unlikely to trust Florenzi in the back-line and opt for a more conservative option in Torosidis unless they sign Arsenal’s Mathieu Debuchy or Martin Caceres. In the heart of defence Antonio Rudiger will continue to play alongside Kostas Manolas due to the lack of options in there and Lucas Digne can continue in his left-back spot at least until the end of the season. In goal, Morgan De Sanctis could return to action. His relationship with Spalletti is excellent since their time together at Udinese but still Szczesny could also be favored.
Spalletti is the last Roma manager to beat Real Madrid, he guided his side to the quarter-finals of the Champions League but this time, Real Madrid are tougher than before. Perhaps, he could shift his team’s focus from the Champions League to Serie A or he can fight on both. Roma’s players are still mentally weak. Spalletti’s Roma much like Garcia’s one, lost when it mattered the most. Failure in Serie A, even when Juventus was relegated, the big loss against Manchester United as well as other results against Roberto Mancini’s Inter in Serie A do not encourage a big change in the scenes for the Giallorossi. Despite that, he’s still popular among the fans and can boost the confidence of his players in the upcoming period but is he a long-term option? Can he win Serie A two seasons from now? We shall see!