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Sinners & Saints: Roma 3, Parma 0

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Another blowout means another saintly review.

AS Roma v Parma Calcio - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

If you remove the administrative debacle against Hellas Verona, the one in which Amadou Diawara was incorrectly listed as a youth player resulting in Roma's 1-1 draw becoming a 3-0 defeat, then the Giallorossi stand alongside league-leading AC Milan, traditional powerhouse Juventus and upstart Sassuolo as the only unbeaten teams in the league. Losing a point on the table due to a clerical error that provided no benefit on the pitch is a bitter pill to swallow (doubly so now that the man in charge of such errors took a job with Verona), but it hasn't slowed Roma down one bit.

By dispatching the now 17th place Crusaders of Parma yesterday afternoon, Roma pushed their winning streak to four consecutive matches and seven wins in their last nine, with the only blemishes being a scoreless draw against CSKA Sofia in the Europa League and a 3-3 tie against AC Milan in late October.

No matter how you dissect it, the Giallorossi are one of the hottest teams in the league, if not Europe entirely.

Roma ran roughshod over Parma yesterday and could have easily ran the scoreline to 5-0 if they caught a few more breaks, so today's review will be all halos.

The Saints

AS Roma v Parma Calcio - Serie A Photo by MB Media/Getty Images

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Ol’ number 77 is quickly becoming a mainstay in these pieces, and for good reason. With five goals in league play, Mkhitaryan is tied for fifth in the league while his four assists are tops in Serie A. Bundle that all together and Mkhitaryan emerges as perhaps the most dynamic player in the league through eight matches—and yesterday was certainly no exception.

In 90 minutes, Mkhitaryan bagged two goals on five shots, chipped in two key passes, pulled off one successful dribble, one tackle, one interception, one clearance and hit on two of three longballs while completing 88% of all his passes.

There isn't much else we can say at this point; Mkhitaryan is perhaps the classiest and most skilled attacking player the club has seen since Miralem Pjanic was hitting his stride a few years ago.

He's pretty much indispensable at this point, so it will be interesting to see where and when Paulo Fonseca chooses to rest him.

Gonzalo Villar

We inadvertently left numero catorce off our man of the match poll yesterday, but Roma's young midfield metronome was fantastic in 90 minutes against Parma. Villar took a match high 105 touches, completed 93% of his passes (including 2-2 on longballs), pulled off six successful dribbles, won 11 of 14 ground duels and just check out this heatmap:

Villar heatmap vs. Parma
WhoScored

You don't often see such a dramatic heatmap, but it speaks volumes to Villar's performance yesterday; he made the midfield his own, controlling the tempo of play, spraying passes into attacking areas (a match high 14 into the final third. Parma had 19 as an entire team) and doing well to stymy Parma's few counter-attacking attempts.

It's still so hard to believe this kid was toiling away in the Spanish segunda last year. He's a remarkable talent and plays with a level of poise and intelligence that belies his young age.

Borja Mayoral

Borja did a lot of nice things yesterday, but his work with Leonardo Spinazzola on Roma's opening goal was emblematic of the type of striker we think he may become: intuitive, sneaky and clinical.

I'm not sure how many of us caught this during the run of play, but watch what Mayoral does the minute Spinazzola starts to cut it: HE LITERALLY TELLS SPINAZZOLA WHERE TO PLAY THE BALL!!

Taking away nothing from Spinazzola, but that's incredibly impressive from Mayoral. To call out when and where he wants a ball from a player infinitely more experienced (and let's face it, better) than he is takes some cajones, but thankfully Mayoral's finishing matched his reading of the play.

That was the lone highlight (obviously) from Mayoral yesterday, but he otherwise turned in a solid performance: two shots, one key pass, two dribbles and 36 touches in 64 minutes.

Leonardo Spinazzola

In addition to his stellar assist on Mayoral's goal, Spinazzola's 2020 resurgence continued yesterday. Going the full 90, Spinazzola was sublime against Parma: 78 touches, 89% passing, one shot, one key pass, one dribble, and four accurate long balls (out of eight).

With Riccardo Calafiori finally healthy, Spinazzola should get some much needed rest in the days and weeks ahead, but he's going toe-to-toe with Milan's Theo Hernandez as Serie A's top left-back through the first two months of the season.

Rick Karsdorp

We'll end our list with Roma's other wingback, the oft-maligned Karsdorp, who, for the first time since signing with Roma three years ago, played consecutive 90 minute matches. Against Parma, Karsdorp completed 89% of his passes, chipped in three key passes, one assist and intercepted three balls in the defensive third.

Simply staying in Rome and getting significant playing time was a victory in and of itself for the 25-year-old Dutchman, but Karsdorp is proving to be so much more than a warm body. He'll likely always have issues with consistency, but Roma are riding the hot hand right now with Karsdorp, who has managed to relegate Bruno Peres to second choice through eight rounds of play.

So, what do you think: did we miss anyone?