Analyzing Roma's chances of winning the Europa League

Analyzing Roma’s chances of winning the Europa League

Some might not agree, but José Mourinho has made AS Roma into a threatening team. The signings he made and the training he gave them before being sacked have been built and improved upon by Daniele De Rossi.

The Roma stalwart has proven detractors right, guiding the Giallorossi to the round of 16 by defeating Feyenoord for the third time in three years. They now have a huge hurdle ahead of them in Brighton and Hove Albion, but even then, many are not counting them out.

Can they go all the way to the final in back-to-back Europa League seasons? We take a look at their chances of achieving that feat on a continental level.

Roma in the UEL 2023/24

Mourinho picked things off from where he left them last season and helped Roma finish with the joint second-best defensive record in the 2023/24 UEFA Europa League season.

They already came in as favourites, having made it all the way to the final of last season’s tournament which they lost narrowly to record UEL holders Sevilla.

They stuttered a bit in their group which also had Slavia Prague, Servette, and Sheriff Tiraspol. However, they amassed 13 points from four wins, one loss, and one draw to finish in second place on the table, while scoring 12 goals and conceding just four.

Mourinho’s team also had the fifth-most attempts at goal in the league (105) while making the second-most ball recoveries (336) showing that the Portuguese tactician did not take attacks for granted. Romelu Lukaku finished as the second top scorer of the group stages and Mile Svilar made 24 saves (fifth-most) to improve their lot.

De Rossi took over and they beat Feyenoord once again over two legs, with Lukaku scoring his sixth of the tournament and Svilar saving two spot kicks to send them to the round of 16.

Brighton and Hove Albion stand in their way in the round of 16 and their stalwart manager has assured the fans that the Giallorossi have nothing to fear.

Roma’s recent run gives them the edge over Brighton

Roma tasted glory in European competition two seasons ago when they won the UEFA Europa Conference League. Last season, they braved the odds and made it to the final of the Europa League, which they narrowly lost.

These two experiences have shaped the team, most of whom have been together since their Conference League win. The core is passing down their experiences to the newer players, which is translating to the gritty performances they have put in so far.

Their opponents in the round of 16, Brighton, are only playing in their first-ever European competition. Only Adam Lallana, Ansu Fati, James Milner, Joël Veltman, Pervis Estupiñan, and Danny Welbeck have any European experience in the Seagulls’ squad. This is plenty enough, but with a very young core, these veterans are not enough to overcome Roma.

The game is very open, however, thanks to Brighton’s style, but it will come down to tournament experience, which Roma has plenty of.

Fans are already buying Roma tickets for the round of 16 clash ahead of a fixture that promises much excitement and attacking football on display.

Roma’s threats to the title

Their round-of-16 opponents Brighton, Conference League holders West Ham United, Liverpool, Villarreal, AC Milan, and Bayer 04 Leverkusen are their biggest threats in the knockout rounds.

West Ham followed Roma in winning the Conference League and fans are keeping their fingers crossed for a clash of past champions in the future. If this happens, the Hammers are likely to go through thanks to their better attack.

Much of Roma’s goalscoring rests with Lukaku and Paulo Dybala, which gives them a disadvantage against the English side who have more goalscorers in their team.

Liverpool is Liverpool. It will take a miracle for Roma to scale over the Reds if they meet. Also, Leverkusen is the top favorite for the league thanks to their unbeaten run in all competitions this season. Only Brighton, Villarreal, and Milan present them an opportunity to reach the semi-final at least.

De Rossi has his work cut out for him because many fans are still not over the club’s sacking of Mourinho. Many feel it was unnecessary and that Mourinho should have been given until the end of the season to steady the ship at the club.

Only time will tell whether that decision would hunt the Roma board in the future.

Where will Roma finish in the 2023/24 Europa League?

Beating Brighton will be no mean feat but we predict that they will end up grabbing the quarter-final ticket from this tie. They could follow a similar path to the last eight as they did to the last 16 (winning on penalties after drawing on aggregate). Their real work starts in the quarter-finals, where they will meet one of the teams listed above. 

For this reason, we predict that their journey will end in the quarter-finals. The reason is not their experience but their attack which does not compare to most of the teams listed above. However, Milan and Villarreal will present a good opportunity for them to reach the last four, where their journey will end. Fine margins are all they need to win the title but football does not offer these all the time.

One thing that could eventually come as a plus for Roma is the experience in the squad. A good number of their players already know what it is to win a European title and drawing inspiration from their recent Conference League win, they could be fired up to claim yet another European title against all odds.

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