Having played their first-ever match against Sassuolo in the fall of 2018, Roma will be inexorably linked to their neighbors from Emilia-Romagna, doubly so when you consider how close the Giallorosse and Neroverde were on the table in those early days. Over the past four seasons, Roma and Sassuolo have never finished more than two spots away from one another on the league table.
More than just a trivia note, Roma’s performance respective to Sassuolo served as a barometer for the health of the Giallorosse’s enormous ambitions as they began life in women’s football four years ago. While neither club was a genuine threat to Juventus at the top of the table, Sassuolo emerged as Roma’s actual rival and marker of success—until this season.
Through the first five rounds of play, Roma has only one blemish on their record: a 1-0 defeat to Juventus on September 16th. With 12 points, 11 goals scored, and a +9 goal differential, Roma has been one of the strongest sides in the league this year. Meanwhile, Sassuolo, who are typically a lock for a 4th to 6th place finish, have careened to the bottom of the standings, collecting only one point through their first five matches.
Further illustrating these divergent paths, while Sassuolo are enduring their worst start in five years, Roma has been the best club in the league in 2022. Yes, even better than Juventus. The Giallorosse boast the most victories (13) since January while tying Juventus for the fewest defeats suffered (1). Of course, with Roma still unable to actually defeat the Old Lady, Juve once again took home the Scudetto last season, edging out the Giallorosse by five points for the top prize.
While this fixture once served as a litmus test for each club’s respective chances that season, with the teams heading in opposite directions—Roma fighting for the title and Sassuolo battling relegation—this once intriguing matchup could quickly become another reminder of the lack of parity in the league.
Of course, none of this means Sassuolo will roll over at the sight of Manuela Giugliano and the rest of the Giallorosse, so let’s look at a couple of the key storylines in Sunday’s match.