Prior to then, I spoke with Bren of Chiesa di Totti for a preview of the match.
What do you think of Roma’s season so far?
Well, very broadly speaking, after finishing fourth their first two years in the league, Roma slipped back to fifth place this season. While that’s not a concern in and of itself, they fell well short of expectations. We weren’t expecting them to unseat Juventus at the top of the table, but they certainly seemed capable of competing for second place and that final Champions League spot for next season. So in that regard, it’s been tremendously disappointing—particularly since they played so much better down the stretch. If they found that form sooner, then I think we would have seen a genuine race for second place.
Roma’s attack was the best in Serie A Femminile last season. This year, they haven’t looked as fluid and dynamic and haven’t scored as many goals. What do you think is behind this?
Simple: finishing. I can’t even count how many times Roma has struck the crossbar this season or how many times someone like Manuela Giugliano or Annamaria Serturini carves out space and unfurls a beautiful shot only to see it miss by a matter of inches—so frustrating!
They’ve also never really figured out the center forward position. From Martina Piemonte and Luisa Pugnali in the first season to Amalie Thestrup and Lindsey Thomas last year to Paloma Lázaro this year, it’s been a revolving door—no one has been able to lock the position down. Lázaro started off the season well enough, but she’s simply missed too many clear-cut chances to really make her mark.
Which player from Roma has impressed you the most?
Serturini is the obvious answer, as she’s been the club’s most dangerous player through three seasons, but I’m going to take it in another direction just to be different and say Elena Linari. I still remember the double-take I did when I saw the news, and quite frankly, I still have no idea how she didn’t end up with Juve! But she’s 100% the real deal and one of the best defenders in the game and she’s been a revelation back there—she and Allyson Swaby formed instant chemistry and they pitched five or six clean sheets in Linari’s first eight matches.
There have been rumors about the transfer market, and one of them has been that Lindsey Thomas might leave Roma for Milan. What do you think of this?
That surprises me, to be honest. She’s a difficult player to assess because she’s not really a winger and not really a striker, so she’s a bit of a tweener and hasn’t been that impactful for Roma—at least not this season. She was far more productive in 2019-2020. I get the sinking suspicion that Roma will have two new forwards next year to replace Thomas and Lázaro. I’m sure she’ll do well elsewhere but she just doesn’t quite fit with Roma’s current plans.
Have you watched any Milan games this season? Which player has impressed you the most?
I haven’t seen any outside of the Roma matches if I’m being honest. Giacinti is the obvious answer. If Roma had her, I have no doubt we could give Juventus a run for their money, but I’ll go with another Valentina—Bergamaschi. I’m always partial to full-backs anyway and she caught my attention almost immediately at the last World Cup. I like our young right-back Angelica Soffia, but I’d make room for Bergamaschi.
What are Roma’s weaknesses and how do you think Milan can exploit them?
Their biggest weakness is really their lack of punch up top. If Milan can remove Serturini from action, it will be very difficult for Roma to score. When things slow down or break down completely, she’s really the only player on the squad who can create her own shot out of nowhere.
And that’s really the most frustrating part of the team—there really aren’t any glaring weaknesses. I’d pit Linari and Swaby against any defensive duo in the league, Giugliano is world-class, Serturini and Agnese Bonfantini and dangerous and dynamic on the wings, but they just don’t enough production from the center forward spot and it has bitten them in the ass multiple times this year.
How do you think Roma can beat Milan?
Well, they never have, so you tell me! The last two matches have been incredibly tight, so I think it’s going to take complete focus and perfect execution for 90 minutes and I suspect the match will come down to some sort of fluky goal: a deflection, a keeper falling, something like that.
Finally, what’s your prediction for the Coppa Italia final?
This is a tough one. I obviously can’t pick against Roma, but they’ve dropped points in five straight matches coming into this and have never beat Milan, so they’re not exactly peaking at the right moment. That being said, I’ll say 3-2 Roma.