Five crucial fixtures for… Roma

Ahead of this weekend’s Serie A kick-off, Football Italia looks at the crucial fixtures for each side, and it’s a big season for Roma.

The Giallorossi finished second last season, setting a club record points total in the process, but haven’t won the Scudetto since 2001.

This will be their first season without Francesco Totti, and new Coach Eusebio Di Francesco presides over a much-changed squad.

Here are the games which could make or break their season.

Roma-Inter [Week 2]

You can’t win the title in August, the cliché goes, but you can lose it.

Following the departures of Mohamed Salah, Antonio Rudgier and Leandro Paredes – not to mention Coach Luciano Spalletti – Di Francesco’s reign gets off to a tough start.

The Lupi face last season’s surprise package Atalanta in Bergamo in Week 1, before welcoming Inter and Spalletti to the Olimpico.

Positive results in both games would set Roma up nicely for a Scudetto challenge, but if Di Francesco doesn’t win at least one of his first two the pressure could start to mount.

Roma-Napoli [Week 8]

For almost all of Juventus’ six-year reign as Serie A champions, these two sides have been fighting to be ‘Best of the Rest’.

With both Milan and Inter expected to launch renewed assaults upon the title this year, neither the Giallorossi nor Napoli can afford to drop points in Week 8.

Last season saw the capital club win in Naples but drop points on home turf, and they’ll be desperate to lay down an early marker this time.

Roma-Atalanta [Week 20]

Roma took just one point from a possible six against Atalanta last season, and it cost them dearly.

While simply adding points to a season-long total is simplistic – Juventus rested players due to Champions League commitments at the end of last season – those five dropped points saw the Giallorossi finish four points behind the Bianconeri.

While Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were superb last season, Scudetto winners can’t afford not to beat them even once across a whole campaign.

Lazio-Roma [Week 32]

The Derby della Capitale is always the biggest fixture in the Roman football calendar, but this meeting could be particularly momentous.

With just seven games remaining of the Serie A season, the pair will face off at the Stadio Olimpico, each with the possibility of derailing the other’s season.

Roma would love to knock Lazio out of the Champions League race or even an unlikely Scudetto challenge, and the Aquile would take equal delight in being a banana skin for their title chasing neighbours.

Roma-Juventus [Week 37]

They beat them in Week 36 last year, now Roma face the same fixture a week later.

If, as is the aim, the Giallorossi are still in the hunt this could truly be a Scudetto decider, and they’ve beaten the Old Lady at home for the past two Serie A seasons in a row.

Add in the returns of Wojciech Szczesny and Miralem Pjanic, plus Radja Nainggolan’s oft-publicised aversion to the Bianconeri, and this could be a real cracker.

Click here to read our full Serie A season preview