Tag Archives: AS Roma

Arsenal dumped out of Europe as Manchester United get to the final

Arsenal were dumped out of the Europa League at the semi-final stage by former manager Unai Emery’s Villarreal side to set up a final in Gdansk against Manchester United.

The Gunners came into the game knowing they had to win after losing the first leg 2-1 and Mikel Arteta set the team up with a five-at-the-back formation that was troubled before the game even started, with Granit Xhaka getting injured in the warm up.

Kieran Tierney came in but Arsenal struggled throughout, having just two shots on target in the 90 minutes as they were held to a 0-0 draw and dumped out of the tournament.

Villarreal remain unbeaten throughout the tournament so far and Emery has now made it to a record five Europa League finals, after winning three-in-a-row with Sevilla before losing in the final to Chelsea as Arsenal manager in 2019.

They will now face Manchester United in the final who’s first leg 6-2 win was enough to see them through as they lost 3-2 on the night in Rome and saw off a little scare.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was able to get to his first final as manager of the club and he named a strong team on the night despite the club being set to play four games in seven days prior to kick off. Edinson Cavani gave the Reds the lead to settle any nerves, but Roma scored two goals in very quick succession to give themselves hope.

Cavani scored once again to wrap up progression, although Roma scored once more to earn themselves a win when youngster Nicola Zalewski’s strike came off Alex Telles and went through David De Gea’s legs.

Despite that, United showed they were the better team throughout the two legs and can finally put the ridiculous semi-final curse under Solskjaer behind them.

Arsenal must now really consider their future, as they face having no European football whatsoever next season for the first time in 25 years. The club are currently sat in ninth place and unless they can make up a five point swing over Liverpool, who have played a game less, in four games then they will be without.

Arteta was a gamble at the time of his appointment and it is one that has failed. Despite winning the FA Cup in his first season, he has accumulated just 49 points in 34 games and this season has failed to make it to a final of any cup competition.

The Gunners look totally incapable of being a genuine threat against teams who have any sort of clue what they’re doing and are always open to an error or three at the back to allow teams to punish them.

Fans have now turned on him and with the atmosphere at the club already volatile with fans against the owners, it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to ride this storm out once again and make it to next season.

Manchester United on the other hand will be favourites going into the final in Poland, with the better players and team than Villarreal but Emery’s experience in winning this competition will prove vital without a doubt.

United do have weaknesses in the way they play and Emery will undoubtedly look to expose those issues to help the Spanish side win the first European trophy in their history.

In a fun coincidence the final will be played on May 26th, the same date that Solskjaer famously scored the winning goal in the UEFA Champions League final back in 1999 as the Red Devils won the treble.

Jose Mourinho announced as next Roma manager

It turns out Jose Mourinho wasn’t joking when he said he didn’t need an extended break from football after being sacked as Tottenham manager, because he’s got a new job already.

The Portuguese coach has been officially announced as the new manager of AS Roma, taking over from the departing Paulo Fonseca this summer to return to Serie A for the first time since leading Inter Milan to a treble 11 years ago.

Mourinho was sacked by Tottenham on April 19th, just six days before the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City. The club went on to lose the final 1-0, but Mourinho’s departure before the game meant that Spurs were the first side he’s managed since prior to being Porto manager that he failed to win a trophy with.

With no obvious job roles readily available at the time of his sacking many people including myself speculated that he could (or should) move into international management once the Euro 2020 tournament concludes.

However Roma have made a swift decision to not renew the contract of Paulo Fonseca this summer and instead bring in a prove winner in Italy in Mourinho. The club had reportedly been eyeing up former Chelsea and Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri for the role, but when Mourinho became available the club’s sporting director Tiago Pinto made him a priority.

It should be an interesting season for Mourinho in Italy, with Roma likely to miss out on Champions League and Europa League football next season. They are currently sitting in seventh place in the league and were thumped in the first-leg of their Europa League semi-final clash against Manchester United – losing 6-2 at Old Trafford despite having a 2-1 lead at half-time.

That could buy Mourinho some time in the project, using the first season to just focus on getting back into the Champions League while figuring out his squad needs and which players he can and can’t count on.

What it also does though, is show just how far his star has fallen since he was regarded as one of the top names in the world.

Mourinho has won just four trophies since the 2014/15 season, or five if you’re him and include the Community Shield in that conversation. He’s won nothing since the 2016/17 season with Manchester United and since that title win in 2015 with Chelsea, he has finished sixth, second and seventh while also being sacked three times.

He was sacked at Chelsea after having the club in 16th place, just one point above relegation the year after winning the title, before getting sacked at Manchester United in sixth place and Spurs in seventh place.

Even before the Spurs job many questioned whether he was the right man for the job anymore but when he stated that he had adapted his philosophies, people were willing to give him another chance.

What we saw was the same old, confrontational and argumentative Mourinho and thus it was no shock to see him struggle and eventually be dismissed.

In Serie A he returns to a league where he had great success and is still adored by the vast majority of the media after leaving on his own, good terms back in 2010 to take over at Real Madrid.

He has another chance to return to the top bracket of European football managers now, but it really is sink or swim at this point in his career now.

Manchester United vs AS Roma – Europa League semi-final prediction

The Europa League is down to its final four teams and there are some very intriguing ties to be played out to decipher who will lift the trophy come the end of the season.

Premier League side Manchester United will take on Serie A side AS Roma as the two remaining strongest teams in the competition, with Arsenal going head-to-head against their former manager when they take on Villarreal.

We’ll preview both knockout ties once again and give our predictions as we have done for every English club tie in the competition so far, starting with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side’s trip to take on the side from the Italian capital.

The Red Devils fell into the Europa League after a disappointing showing in the Champions League group stages, where they failed to get the one point they needed from their final two games and and crashed out behind PSG and RB Leipzig.

They were able to comfortably dispatch of Real Sociedad in the last 32 before beating AC Milan in the last 16 and Granada in the quarter-finals to set this tie up, all while keeping up their good performances in the Premier League to all but secure second place behind Manchester City.

They’ve lost just once since a defeat to Sheffield United in January, being eliminated by Leicester in the FA Cup quarter-finals to make it just one loss in 21 games. Since that defeat to Leicester they have won five out of six, although they were held by Leeds at the weekend to a 0-0 draw.

Roma on the other hand were in the Europa League from the start of the season, winning their group including Young Boys, CFR Cluj and CSKA Sofia. They then won home and away against Braga in the last 32 and Shakhtar Donetsk in the last 16, before a back and forth tie against Ajax in the quarter-finals saw them win in Amsterdam and then held in Rome to claim a tight win.

In Serie A their form hasn’t been as positive, as they currently sit in seventh place in the league comfortably out of the race for the Champions League places for next season. They won just twice in their last eight games in all competitions in the build up to this game and were beaten 3-2 by Cagliari at the weekend.

They’ve suffered with injury problems in recent weeks, but former Manchester United duo Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are back and should start the game.

Mkhitaryan has been one of Roma’s best players this season, with 11 goals and nine assists in all competitions. He was key when Manchester United lifted this trophy in 2017 under Jose Mourinho, scoring in the final, but this season he has struggled in Europe for the most part.

As the Reds look to win a trophy for the first time since that success under Mourinho, Solskjaer looks to prioritise this tournament and will likely go with a strong team. Anthony Martial is injured and Marcus Rashford is battling through the pain barrier constantly, but other than that the club have a clean bill of health to choose from.

It’s hard to see how Manchester United could fail to progress into the next round without criminally under-performing. They are comfortably the best team left in the competition and Solskjaer absolutely must break the semi-final hoodoo that he has had since taking over two-and-a-half years ago.

Defensively they’re better, going forward they’re better and they have the better individual players too to create a moment of magic if necessary. Considering the way they have been able to perform in recent months, I’d be very surprised if they weren’t able to get through to the final.

With the first leg at home this time, United will need to ensure a positive result at Old Trafford to take with them to Italy to make sure there is as little pressure on the second leg as possible. A home win will allow for them to be able to play on the counter attack in the Stadio Olimpico, which suits the team’s strengths far more than having to break them down.


PREDICTION

Man Utd 2-0 Roma
Roma 1-2 Man Utd
(Manchester United to progress 4-1 on aggregate)

Chris Smalling To Return To Manchester United As Roma Refuse To Pay Up

Chris Smalling will return to Manchester United this week as Roma refused to meet their valuation for the player.

The Italian side had been hoping to extend Smalling’s loan through the remainder of their Europa League campaign as they negotiated with United about a potential permanent transfer. The Red Devils however refused to extend the loan option without a permanent deal already being agreed and with Roma refusing to budge on their offer, the loan will come to an end now.

Smalling has enjoyed a great season in Serie A and has been rated by some as one of the better defenders in the league throughout the campaign, as Roma finished 5th in the league.

According to trusted Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Manchester United were demanding a €3million loan fee with an obligation to buy set at €15million. Roma however weren’t willing to pay more than €12million for the permanent rights of the deal and therefore talks have stopped.

While that doesn’t rule out the possibility to Smalling returning to Rome next season if the club’s can strike a deal, the chances of him staying for the remainder of this campaign are incredibly slim with the squad list needing to be submitted by Monday afternoon.

With Smalling set to return to Old Trafford, the club will surely be looking at other potential options for him for the upcoming campaign. For a total fee of €18million (Β£16.2million), many teams in the Premier League could do worse than picking up the former Fulham man.

Aerially Smalling is dominant, while he’s very quick and also been hard to beat in one on one situations. His greatest flaw is his ability on the ball, which would likely rule out top clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea who will be looking to improve their defence this summer.

A good option for him could be Everton, where Smalling would be the best defender at the club and could partner any of Michael Keane, Yerry Mina or Mason Holgate. Jose Mourinho could be tempted to reunite himself with Smalling, following their good relationship from their time together with the Red Devils. Another option could be Aston Villa, who survived relegation for a second season in the Premier League. With top flight football confirmed once again, they need to upgrade defensively and bringing in Smalling to partner Tyrone Mings at the back would be a big upgrade on quality.

The likelihood, in my opinion, of Roma not coming back in for him with a revised offer to make the deal permanent is low. Smalling has publicly stated already that he wants to stay Roma and with only €3million in difference between the offers it seems unlikely that a compromise won’t be reached.

If it can’t be done though, Smalling and Manchester United will surely not be short of alternatives for the upcoming season.