Lost amid all the disappointment from Roma’s midweek loss to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League was simply that Roma were riding a three-match Serie A win streak. Still, that didn’t stop Eusebio Di Francesco from making a few changes to a side he saw as quickly becoming stagnant. With a surging AC Milan side coming to the Olimpico, EDF decided to inject some fresh blood into his lineup, swapping out, among others, Edin Dzeko for Patrik Schick and Bruno Peres for Alessandro Florenzi.
Throughout the week we discussed the relative merits of these moves, but even just going by the eye test, Roma needed something to change; things were that poor in the second half against Donetsk. Unfortunately, these changes did not have an immediate impact on Roma’s pace or quality of play this evening.
The first 45 minutes against Milan were a semi-disjointed/semi-coherent affair. Despite the fact that possession was split pretty equally, Roma pounded Gianluigi Donnarumma with 10 shots in the first half and actually had a decent spread of touches between both flanks, with Peres and Aleksandar Kolarov each taking over 30 touches, though AK, of course, led the way.
But back to those shots for a minute. As we discussed earlier in the week, part of the reason Dzeko was removed from today’s lineup was simply because, though he was hauling off nearly five shots per match, he wasn’t making good use of them. So when he was swapped out for Schick the hope was simply that they younger, more spry Schick could make better use of that volume than Dzeko. So, then, it was quite shocking to see Schick go shotless in the first half, with his only attempt being snubbed out by an offside call.
Of Roma’s 10 attempts in the first half, six came from outside of the area, as the Milan side was pretty compact once Roma breached the 20 to 25 yard mark. So, to recap, Roma was creating chances and ripping off shots at will, but largely settling for what they could get rather than pressing the issue.
We’ve seen that movie many times before, so could Roma rewrite the script in the second half?
Some lousy defending from Kostas Manolas and a complete ignorance to the concept of offside by Bruno Peres doomed Roma to a 2-0 defeat. I can’t write anymore. Just copy and paste everything from Wednesday.
More to come later.