AS Roma‘s hopes of breaking into the top four stalled as they were held to a 1-1 draw against Monza at the U-Power Stadium in Serie A, leaving them with work to do to secure a return to the Champions League next season.
The Giallorossi were uninspired in attack, with their only chance of note coming when Tammy Abraham pounced on hesitancy from Monza goalkeeper Michele Di Gregorio to force a mistake and allow Stephan El Shaarawy to score at the second attempt.
Despite a wealth of attacking talent, Roma‘s attacking output this season has left much to be desired and after an excellent Luca Caldirola strike wiped out their lead, they struggled to offer a serious threat.
Uninspiring rotation options
Suffering from a long list of injuries, Roma made several changes but showed little to suggest that this supporting cast have the guile and creativity to drag the Lupi over the line and into the Champions League.
Having fallen to defeat against Atalanta and let slip a late lead against AC Milan, Roma must have seen Monza as an opportunity to pick up three vital points before a crunch clash against Inter. The Giallorossi began the day level on points with them and the clash at the Stadio Olimpico could be decisive in the race for a top four finish, but Roma‘s display against Monza puts the Nerazzurri as favourites.
El Shaarawy impressed in a wide attacking berth, whilst midfielder Edoardo Bove was full of energy and determination, but Roma saw precious little else from their squad players. Indeed, Ola Solbakken has made little impact since arriving from Bodo/Glimt in January, whilst Cristian Volpato, Mehmet Zeki Celik, and Mady Camara offered little.
Missing the influential Paulo Dybala, the Giallorossi were toothless and lacking spark in attack, with their reliance on the Argentine star becoming all the more apparent with each match he misses.
Roma’s injury list hits crisis point
Jose Mourinho came into the match with his selection options severely limited by a combination of injuries and suspensions, with Bryan Cristante forced to play at centre-back due to the missing Chris Smalling, Marash Kumbulla, and Diego Llorente.
Meanwhile, Roma’s attacking choices were hampered by fitness problems suffered by Dybala and Andrea Belotti, whilst midfielders Nemanja Matic and Georginio Wijnaldum were also unavailable.
With their bad luck seemingly finding no end, Mourinho had to watch on as El Shaarawy was forced off, whilst the combative Bove took several knocks just days after injuring his shoulder against Milan. To add insult to injury, wingback Celik was shown a second yellow card in stoppage time, ruling him out of the match against Inter.
Ahead of a series of huge fixtures, Mourinho can ill afford to lose more players and Roma‘s ambitions could depend on what happens in the treatment room as much as on the pitch.