Well the Aurelio Andreazzoli era has begun on a bad foot. Ironically, despite the different formation and lineup, the results were down-right Zeman-esque, with a flurry of early chances either being squandered or parried away.
Andreazzoli surprised everyone and came out with a 3-5-2 formation, after a week of debating whether or not AA would (wow, we went from ZZ to AA, I just noticed that) use the 4-3-1-2 or the 4-2-3-1. What was curious, however, was that AA deployed three nominal centerbacks, in the form of Marquinhos, Leandro Castan and Nicolas Burdisso, and no fullbacks.
Taking a look at the numbers, we can see exactly why this was curious, as Roma only completed 6 of 23 crosses, NONE of which were completed by any of the back three. There also seemed be some issues with spacing among the three defenders, as Marquinhos was often left isolated from Burdisso and Castan; spacing and synchronicity are critical among defenders in a 3-5-2, which Roma appeared to lack this afternoon.
But Sampdoria seemed to force Roma's hand in this regard, as 49% of their attack came down the right flank, forcing Castan and Burdisso to slide in that direction, which still didn't work, as two of the three goals were scored on that flank.
The defense is clearly something that must be addressed prior to next week's lambs being led to slaughter match against Juventus.
Poor crossing aside, the passing numbers in their entirety were solid as usual, as the team completed 86% of their passes, which was no small feat considering they attempted over 600, nearly double Sampdoria's total. It should come as no surprise, then, that Roma held 59% possession.
So to recap, lots of passes, lots of possession, little results...Como se dice, Enrique?
Going back to the original point, the first 15 minutes or so of this match was basically what we've seen over the past few weeks, repackaged in a slightly different form. In total, Roma pulled off 18 shots (which is their season average), 5 on target, 8 off target and another 5 blocked.
Within the first 15 minutes, Roma managed 6 shots, with Michael Bradley and Miralem Pjanic coming tantalizingly close to snatching an early lead. But give credit where credit is due, Sergio Romero was stellar, saving 5 shots on goal.
So as poor a performance as Roma put on in the second half, they suffered from poor finishing and great goalkeeping, which we've certainly seen in spades this season. There was also the small matter of a disallowed goal and an inconceivably horrible penalty taken by Pablo Osvaldo.
On the bright side, Erik Lamela turned in a fantastic performance, scoring one goal, having one disallowed and hitting the woodwork on another, he even blocked a shot in the six yard box too boot. In total, The Apple had four shots (two on target), five tackles, four chances created, 85 touches, 91% passing, five successful dribbles, two interceptions and was four out of five in long passes....oh, and he also seemed to give a damn.
So that's day one in the Andreazzoli era, a 3-1 loss on the road to Sampdoria, which drops the Giallorossi to 9th place with a home match against Juventus on tap for next week.