I pride myself with being an honest person, so in that vein, I must admit I only caught the final forty minutes or so of this match, and, as luck would have it, I arrived home at precisely the right moment. Considering my tardiness, I won’t even attempt a tactical discussion, but mamma mia, Roma buried Sampdoria in the second half; it was just the performance this stagnating offense needed after a bit of a dry spell over the past month and a half.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the goals, shall we?
Radja Nainggolan: 39th Minute
Radja got the party started late in the first half thanks in part to his trademarked hustle and heads up play. After a misguided pass caromed off the Sampdoria defender, there was Nainggolan, ready to pounce. Notice how he barely even settles the ball, just lollipopping it over the keeper’s outstretched hands the minute it touches his foot. Great commitment, great effort, great goal.
Edin Dzeko: 47th Minute
Dzeko jumped into the fray thanks in part to a brilliant effort from Stephan El Shaarawy. After taking the feed from Daniele De Rossi, the pharaoh played in an absolutely delicious little chip, deftly floating the ball past and in between three defenders, catching Dzeko in stride, leaving little more than a tap in for the Bosnian Batistuta.
Stephan El Shaarawy: 61st Minute
Dzeko would return the favor shortly thereafter, lobbing a ball from well beyond midfield and catching El Shaarawy streaking down the right flank, but the genius didn’t end there. Watch as SES attempts to settle the initial pass, which, due to the angle, created a rather high bounce. El Shaarawy then has to burst past the defender, then has to beat the last man while simultaneously chesting the ball down before before chipping the keeper from roughly 15 yards out.
With all his ups and downs this season, some his fault, some not, we tend to forget how incredibly talented this kid is; he just brings so much to the table in terms of athleticism, agility, speed and creativity that Roma are an entirely different animal altogether when he’s on form.
Radja Nainggolan: 90th Minute
Roma wasn’t done yet, as second half sub Diego Perotti put on a clinic in the final 24 minutes, making the pitch his own personal playground, and this setup was typical of his approach. Cutting in from the left, Perotti skirted around the defender like a river rolling over a pebble before floating a perfect inswinger towards Nainggolan’s still remarkably untattooed head to finish this match with a flourish.
Considering the one-sided nature of this match (it was glorious, wasn’t it?), we’ll just leave it at that. If Roma can bottle this and whip it out every weekend, we might be onto something here. Despite the still worrisome depth in midfield and lack of a backup for Dzeko (positionally speaking at least), when you consider the fact that Mario Rui has now entered the picture and that Roma have somehow turned Juan Jesus into a serviceable footballer, this club is absolutely stacked.
Just look at Spalletti’s options: Dzeko, El Shaarawy, Perotti, Totti, Salah in attack, each of whom brings something unique to the table, while the backline is suddenly flush with talent between Jesus, Emerson, Rui, Kostas Manolas, Federico Fazio, Bruno Peres and Antonio Rüdiger.
Its simply staggering, but if they can outfit that with a couple versatile veterans, watch out. But, as it stands right now, we simply have to keep an eye on how Luciano Spalletti metes out the minutes for his club, Nainggolan and Dzeko in particular, and what role he envisions for El Shaarawy and Mario Rui going forward—SES is simply too lethal to leave on the bench while a healthy Rui can add new layers to the attack.
Spalletti suddenly has lots of toys at his disposal, let’s just hope he remembers to take care of them down the stretch.