Well, that's more like it, eh? Roma got back to her winning ways with a resounding 4-0 victory over a hapless and Gilardino-less Geona side. If you forgot what this Roma looked like, you'd be forgiven, after all, Rudi Garcia's side had only won three of their previous nine league encounters prior to this afternoon's romp at the Olimpico.
So, just how lopsided was this match? Follow me after the highlights and we'll dive into one of the more one-sided matches this season
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First things first, how about that Alessandro Florenzi goal? Good lord, where did that come from? AF-24 got the party started in the 25th minute with an absolutely absurd bicycle kick, as surprising as it was sublime. Who in their right mind knew Florenzi had that in him? Judging by his reaction, I'd dare say he was even surprised with that exquisite exhibition of skill.
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Francesco Totti followed up a mere five minutes later, taking a feed from Gervinho and drilling one from the edge of the 18. Though Il Capitano's shot needed a bit of a deflection, it was good enough for his fourth league goal this season and his 231st overall.
Goal the third came off the toes of Big Doug in the 43rd minute. Maicon, who, to be fair, showed the first touch of a cinder block in the early minutes, received a well-played ball from Florenzi on the right flank, quickly settled it and nudged it past Mattia Perin.
Roma gave Genoa a brief two minute respite before heading into the break, but it wouldn't take much longer for the next shot across the Genoa bow. Nine minutes into the second half, Mehdi Benatia pulled off what is becoming rather routine for him these days. In the 52nd minute, Benatia, making use of his size, agility and timing, soon found himself on the end of an inswinging corner off the white-booted foot of Totti (still getting used to that), and banged it home to cement the 4-0 victory.
Statistics & Such
It is somewhat fitting that we segue from a mention of Francesco Totti because it was he, more than anyone else, who positively eviscerated Geona this afternoon. Totti managed 93 touches this afternoon, a match-leading six shots and two shots on target. But it didn't stop there, Totti had two chances created, two successful dribbles, went 5-8 on long balls, 1-3 on crosses and, of course, one goal and one assist.
Not Totti's best performance this season, but it does prove that, when Roma is running right, it's largely down to the 37-year-old legs of Er Purpone.
We should also give a collective tip of the hat to young Florenzi. Aside from his PDOesque volley, Florenzi had two shots on goal, two chances created of his own, and went a perfect three-for-three on long balls played. Roma also got stout performances from Kevin Strootman, Mehdi Benatia and Maicon, but let's pull out the new guy put him under the spotlight.
Radja Nainggolan's league debut for Roma was an indisputable success. Roma's newest, well, first, Belgian-Indonesian hybrid did his best DDR impression this afternoon. Nainggolan, who was slotted to the left of Strootman, was a beast on Sunday, dominating the center of the park, closing out Genoa midfielders, tackling with vision and purpose, and generally making life miserable for the Grifone. Radja had four tackles, four interceptions, one clearance, and even won an offsides.
But it didn't stop there, part of why Nainggolan was so sought after (and so expensive) was that he's the total package in midfield. On this afternoon, Nainggolan had a match high 125 touches, completed 94% of his passes, including going 9-11 on longballs, and even managed two shots on goal, the first of which, though it didn't threaten Perin, was a remarkable exhibition of skill, as he simultaneously fell, caught his balance, pulled off a 360, and managed a pretty solid shot on goal from outside of the area.
If there was any doubt about which side has the best midfield in Serie A, the addition of #44 pretty well quashes that debate.
On the whole, Roma utterly dominated Sunday's match. The Giallorossi completed 90% of their passes, held 66% possession, pulled off 22 shots, eight of which were on target, and limited Genoa to, get this, ZERO SHOTS ON GOAL. That's right, zero, not a one.
This match was never in doubt and was precisely the cure to what had previously ailed Roma. Through the season's first turn, Roma captured 44 points and scored 39 goals while conceding a league leading 10 goals.
This has been, by any measure, an extremely successful 19 weeks.
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