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The Best Offense is a Good Defense: Kolarov and Fazio's Scoring Surge

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Forget Ronaldo and Messi, here are Fazio and Kolarov

Chelsea FC v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

I’ll start with some fake news facts. Kolarov: 8 goals in all competitions. Fazio: 4 goals. For both men already a personal record and their best tally ever. And we’re not even March yet. Kolarov is even the best scoring defender in Europe’s top five leagues. That’s nothing short of amazing.

In Serie A, Kolarov is just one shy of Stephan El Shaarawy's tally (who is Roma’s top scorer) but the Serb has scored more than Dzeko in the league while Fazio has scored more than for Ünder. Perhaps even more impressive, Fazio, as an old and rusty center back, has scored more than prodigies like Patrik Schick AND Justin Kluivert combined (in approx the same amount of Serie A games).

Ironically, both Aleksandar and Federico have faced some heavy criticism this season from the fans. They were described as lazy, ineffective, old, written off, uncertain or washed out. Kolarov (33) and Fazio (soon 32) are over their peak and without a World Cup next Summer to look forward to, they just don’t give a damn anymore, like in 2017 or 2018. Or so we were lead to believe.

However, with a combined 11 Serie A goals, Kolazio (just to make things easier) is worth half of the goal production of Cagliari or SPAL and more than half of Frosinone’s or Bologna’s. Clearly something is pushing Kolazio to far bigger heights than in the previous seasons, when you look at the stats.

In the recent past we’ve seen some Roman defenders with an eye for goal—I remember splendid goals from Mexes, Benatia, Panucci and Riise. But this amount? And two of your four starting defenders with such a high conversion rate? Almost unseen in the Giallorossi’s history.

Of course numbers and facts aren’t everything. I’m not ignoring some of Kolazio’s bad performances, and boy there were quite a few of those (Fiorentina, SPAL, Bologna or Atalanta spring to my mind). But to be fair, they weren’t the only ones in the team who totally disappeared in those matches. Nzonzi, Florenzi, Dzeko, SES, Schick, Kluivert, Mirante, the list is longer than just Kolazio. Yet here we are, praising their aerial threat (Fazio) or threat on free-kicks or penalties (Kolarov).

It’s a bit hard to explain (like so many things in Rome) what’s the deal with Kolazio in 2018-2019. How can it be that, in their hardest season in Rome, they can bang in so many goals and just wave away the criticism and use the booing crowd as a motivation? Is it part frustration that drives them? Or the adrenaline that they produce if they score, so they can silence the doubters?

To be completely honest, I’d be perfectly fine with a defender who may not be 100% secure but who can crack a goal or seven every season. Hey, if you can’t a prevent goal, might as well score one, no? Roma might get a lot less clean sheets, but right now they’re the third highest scoring team after Juve (they have Ronaldo, so actually they don’t count) and Atalanta.

Beggars can’t be choosers. Okay, so we don’t have a Maldini, Nesta or Chiellini in our ranks. but Kolazio more than makes up for it with those 11 goals and their presence on the field. Raise your hands if you won’t miss Captain Caveman in the centre or the cold-blooded Serbian sniper on the left flank. Kolarov’s goal against Lazio and following celebration might just end in my personal top 3 of this season.

Monchi, you might make a move for a CB and LB next Summer, but don’t you dare to sell Kolazio, two insane but lovely men. Be warned, you’ll be losing a lot of goals and charisma.