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Morgan De Sanctis and Rudi Garcia. Photo: AS Roma Facebook page
The secret of Garcia's Roma? A healthy schizofrenia
The previous coaches tried to introduce an ideology. The French taught the squad to be flexible
by Federico Formica
Roma is on fire. Seven wins out of seven, something never seen before in Rome. The Giallorossi have always been at the top of the table this season. The team has astonishingly changed compared to Luis Enrique (2011-2012) and Zdenek Zeman's (2012-2013) teams. One year ago, after seven games Roma had harvested 11 points (now 21), had scored 11 goals (now 20) and had conceded 11 (now only 1). In that team played three top players such as Marquinhos, Erik Lamela and Osvaldo, who were sold during the summer transfer window.


The team keeps having an offensive mark and (more or less), the scheme is always the same: 4-3-3. But unlike the past two seasons, Rudi Garcia's team is able to be chameleonic. If things are going wrong, or if the type of match demands, the team has a Plan B. Luis Enrique's Roma was all about prolonged ball possession, tiki-taka, and a defense-line very high on the pitch. Zeman's Roma was all about pressing, vertical game, a high defense and the immediate chase of the penalty area. Garcia's Roma is about possession game (slow, horizontal game), but sometimes it plays a typical counter-attacking game (very fast and vertical).


Stats don't say it all, but sometimes describe better than words. Before Inter-Roma 0-3, Totti & Co played (and won) against Lazio (2-0) Sampdoria (2-0), and Bologna (5-0). In these three games, the ball possession ratio was respectively 64/35, 58/41 and 58/41 in favor of Roma. At San Siro stadium against Inter, the ratio was 58/41, but this time in favor of the nerazzurri.


Against Lazio, Roma's first part of the match was almost a tiki-taka style, a ball-possession aimed at wearing out the opponent, looking forward to strike it with fast counter-attacks in the second half, taking advantage of the fatigue of some Lazio players, who played three days before in Europa League. Against Inter, Rudi Garcia has demanded his players something totally different. Roma left the initiative to Inter, adopting an intense pressing mainly in its own half of the pitch, and striking Inter with withering counter-attacks. The pace and the bursts of speed of Gervinho and Alessandro Florenzi are the perfect skills for this playing-style. Even better if they are triggered by the assists of Francesco Totti, whose form, defensive returns and pressing are simply unbelievable for a 37 years old player.


But the style could change again against Napoli. The Partenopei are maybe the best Italian team in Champions League at the moment, and under Rafa Benitez they learned to play a more offensive game. Napoli will be, without any doubt, the best team and the more offensive opponent of Roma by far. Which face of the wolf will we see on October 18th big match? The French tiki-taka, a ruthless counter-attack or a mix between the two?


Thanks to our reviewer Noemi Stacconi

Thursday, October 10 th, 2013
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