Serie A's Fixtures Will Test Roma's Fortitude

Posted by Julian De Martinis

The fixtures for the upcoming Serie A season were drawn on Monday. Truth be told, these can be analyzed in a number of different ways -- difficult runs before/after breaks, season openers, etc. -- but ultimately, it's pretty much a wash: every team has to play every other team twice (unless Cagliari and Cellino get involved -- then it's iffy).

You can play the top three teams in a row, the bottom three teams in a row, or alternate a Champions' League-contending side with a relegation contender for six weeks, but eventually, you're playing all six.

The order that the matches are played in can be very, very important anyway. This is Roma, a team that has been built upon clouds of momentum in recent years. Last season's post winter-break period begot a slide that eventually led to Zdenek Zeman's dismissal; Rudi Garcia's job will be to ensure that his team aren’t anywhere near as mentally fragile. Given how the draw came out, that will surely be tested.

The full list can be seen at Roma's official website. The season begins simply enough, with an away trip to newly promoted Livorno before hosting also newly-promoted Hellas Verona on the first of September. Because this is Roma and nothing is ever simple, the Liga has also announced that the Curva Sud will be banned during the latter match. Which means, the section that Roma’s fans sit in will be empty for the season's home league opener as a result of the punishment from the Disciplinary Commission due to the tifosi's racist chants against Mario Balotelli last May.

On the plus side, it’s nothing but a good thing that the league is cracking down on racism. Furthermore Roma have avoided an empty Curva for the Derby Della Capitale which occurs on week four. Without consistent punishment, racist chants aren’t likely to go away -- and to be honest, it seems somewhat lopsided to punish a club for something it can’t possibly control -- but it remains a notable and honest attempt nevertheless.

The end of the fixture list looks grueling: in December, the team face Fiorentina at home, Milan away, Catania at home, and Juventus away, before rounding up the midway point/finale with a trip away to Genoa (the final five games of the season are the same matchups with the reverse venues). As usual, the matchups will come at usually terrible times of the season for Roma; the Juventus game takes place right after the winter break, which is all but sure to be a loss given how the team's momentum tends to stay with the Christmas tree following the festivities.

The season is less than a month away, and with the squad looking like it's just about finished taking shape, the pre-season tour in the US will be a solid chance for Rudi to try out formations and positions before tackling Livorno.



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