Just as they seemingly do every week, Roma came out running this afternoon, pushing the Torino defence to the brink early in the first half only to be found wanting. While both Edin Dzeko and Radja Nainggolan threatened Joe Hart’s goal within the first ten to fifteen minutes of the match, they simply weren’t clinical enough to make it count.
There was one man who was up to the task in the first half, however. The unfortunate part was he played for the wrong team. Following a strong rebound off Wojciech Szczesny’s hands, and a few touches in between, Andrea Belotti put the Toros up 1-0 thanks to a powerful header.
I feel like I’ve made my opinion on Woj clear by now—and yes, he had some nice saves in the first half—but this goal was on him if for no other reason than his horrid rebound control, although when you take another look at it, Alessandro Florenzi had a chance to beat his man to the ball. The lesson, as always, Roma’s defense is in shambles.
Much of the action in the first half flowed through Mohamed Salah and Edin Dzeko, neither of whom were particularly crisp, with the latter being denied by Hart. There were plenty of chances going both ways, but Roma is becoming increasingly and worryingly reliant on these two as their sole source of offense; there is simply no offensive spark coming from anyone else, particularly not the midfield where the trio of Nainggolan, Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman may simply be too similar to function effectively next to one another, at least in anything resembling a 4-3-3.
So once the defense pushes Salah out wide and crowds Dzeko in the box, that’s pretty much all she wrote; there simply is no creativity coming from any other area of the pitch, particularly not with Bruno Peres playing out of position (more on that in a moment), so Roma just keeps banging their heads against the wall in hopes that the drywall will give.
So while it was an entertaining first half, it was more of the same from Roma: poor finishing and a lack of execution at the back.
The second 45 started off with the sub we were all dying to see, Francesco Totti on for Daniele De Rossi, and it wouldn’t take long for Totti to make his mark.
What you just saw was the 250th league goal of Francesco Totti’s illustrious career, and sure, it ultimately mattered little on the scoreboard, but two days shy of his 40th birthday, Totti remains incredibly effective, as that was his sixth goal in his last 13 matches, to go along with five assists. Simply remarkable.
For a while it seemed as though Roma would mount a comeback, but thanks to Iago Falque (seriously?), it wasn’t meant to be as Roma’s former forgotten man beat Szczesny with a little help from a wayward Roma shin putting the Giallorossi down 3-1.
There isn’t really much to say beyond that. This club is an absolute mess right now. The midfield has no creative spark whatsoever because it’s occupied by three nearly identical players, none of whom have been able to consistently crash the 18 because the ball so quickly swings out wide to the wings, that they simply don’t have time to get there before a cross is whipped in haphazardly towards Dzeko.
The defense, meanwhile, is even more of a disaster. Roma has arguably the best right back in the league, and certainly one of the best in the game, in Bruno Peres, playing left back. Let that sink in for a moment. Presumably they think Peres playing out of position and keeping Florenzi at right back is better than any other alternative, but it strips the club of an elite weapon on the right flank and further exposes Ale’s defensive shortcomings.
Going forward, I have no idea what changes they’ll make ahead of next week’s crucial fixture against Inter Milan. Diego Perotti seems absolutely gassed, Salah appears out of ideas, while Strootman and Nainggolan are piling up the minutes, oh and now Kostas Manolas is suspended...against Mauro Icardi. Brilliant.
This shit just keeps getting worse, but hey look at the bright side, Roma will have the number one draft pick next year...wait, wrong sport.