The tail end of 2019 may have been marred by injuries and some stopping and starting on Roma's behalf, but the Giallorossi do have one very bright and shining beacon leading them to safety, Nicolo Zaniolo. With four goals in his past five league matches, Zaniolo is among the hottest players in Serie A, experiencing a surge in form since Paulo Fonseca solidified his role and his position—as a bruising but sublimely skilled wide man.
And I suppose it's somewhat ironic that we spent the morning detailing the ways in which Roberto Mancini's utilization of Zaniolo differs from Fonseca, because it looks like Mancini tore a page out of the Portuguese tacticians play book, starting Zaniolo out wide alongside Ciro Immobile and Federico Chiesa.
This symmetry paid dividends for the Azzurri, as Zaniolo delivered his finest performance for the Italian Nation Team to date. In 90 minutes against Armenia, Zaniolo registered his first goal for the Azzurri, going five-hole on the keeper in only the ninth minute to double Italy's lead.
Zaniolo then followed that up with another goal in the 64th minute to put Italy up 5-0 over their helpless opponents. In addition to the two goals, Zaniolo chipped in four key passes, one assist, one successful dribble, one tackle won and completed 85% of his passes.
But check out this lovely bit of skill—there's that magical left foot again.
Zaniolo's performance today made him the youngest ever Roma player (20-years-old) to score for the Azzurri, besting Daniele De Rossi, Antonio Cassano, Mattia Destro and Carlo Ancelotti, who all scored for Italy at 21-years-old.
At this point, there's not much else we say—we're witnessing the birth of a superstar.