Serie A 2012-13 season review: Another season of unfulfilled promise for Roma

Paolo Bruno

Failing to qualify for Europe and losing a Coppa Italia final, Roma have been left kicking themselves this season.

6th; W18 D8 L12
A.S. Roma

The hiring of Zdeněk Zeman last summer brought fresh optimism to Roma. Their attacking talent combined with the most offensively-minded coach in Italy led to hope that they'd be more competitive this season. Unfortunately, while Roma were scoring for fun, their defensive lapses saw them drop too many points in winnable games, and the giallorossi fans and president ran out of patience in February. Zeman was shown the door.

Assistant coach Aurelio Andreazzoli took temporary charge, and early results hinted that his tenure might not be so temporary after all. After a shaky 3-1 opening defeat to Sampdoria, Andreazzoli's Roma lost only three games in the proceeding three months, leading Roma to sixth place. Sadly the latter of those three defeats happened to be the Coppa Italia final. Which also happened to be the Rome derby. Ouch. Not only did the defeat mean that Roma failed to qualify for the Europa League next season and had handed their most bitter rivals some silverware, but meant that Andreazzoli's position as coach is increasingly precarious.

Most significant match

AS Roma 2-4 Cagliari (1 February 2013)

It was the game that lovers of mad chain-smoking coaches in Serie A everywhere dreaded (and, ok, may have had a giggle at too), as it was in its aftermath that Zdeněk Zeman was fired. It a was a typical demonstration of 'when Zeman goes wrong,' in that his team hemorrhaged four goals against mid-table fodder, with a hilariously calamitous own-goal from goalkeeper Mauro Goicoechea compounding the farce at the Olimpico.

Biggest surprise

Marquinhos

Perhaps the best young player in Serie A at the moment, Brazilian teenager Marquinhos is already attracting attention from some of the world's biggest clubs. He came to nudge his vastly more experienced teammate Nicolás Burdisso out of the starting eleven, delivering performances way above those expected from a 19-year-old. Keeping hold of him for another season would be a huge boost for a side with some defensive issues.

Biggest disappointment

Zdeněk Zeman's firing

It's probably easier for a non-Roma fan to bemoan the firing of Zdeněk Zeman than a supporter, but it certainly made them a lot less entertaining for the neutrals. Making things more disappointing is the fact his firing seems retrospectively quite harsh. After the 4-2 defeat to Cagliari which spelled the end of Zeman, Roma were three points adrift of the Europa League places -- finishing the season only a point closer to the top five. It would've been interesting -- and a lot more captivating -- if he was given longer in the hot seat with the players at his disposal.

What needs changing?

The statistics would suggest that Roma are fine in attack, with only Napoli and Fiorentina scoring more goals than the giallorossi this season. It's their poor defensive record which has let them down, even after Aurelio Andreazzoli arrived. Only relegated sides Palermo and Pescara and mid-table Atalanta recorded fewer clean sheets than Roma, and it's strengthening this area which is most pressing. With rumours linking Adil Rami to the Olimpico, they're already trying to address their problem position.

Who's off in the summer?

Aside from Marquinhos, who has insisted he's likely to stay in the capital, striker Pablo Osvaldo looks almost certain to leave. The troublemaker kicked off after being omitted from the team in the Coppa Italia final, criticising the coach and almost certainly spelling the end of his Roma career. Meanwhile, Daniele De Rossi has been linked to Chelsea, and popular opinion among Roma fans seems to have turned against coach Aurelio Andreazzoli lately. He's likely to depart, with Massimiliano Allegri and Roberto Donadoni heading the list of potential replacements.

If Roma could keep one individual...

Francesco Totti

Even at 36-years-old, it's impossible to imagine Roma without Francesco Totti. A player who blossomed under Zeman in the Czech's last spell in charge of the giallorossi, Totti did so again this season, and is still a fundamental part of their attack. His retirement is a terrifying prospect for Roma to face.

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