If you're new around here, Sinners & Saints is our now customary post-match player rating system—a term we use loosely, I might add. Rather than assigning an arbitrary number or letter grade to a player after a given match, about a year ago we decided to play on our site's church theme and split the standouts (the saints) from the subpar performers (the sinners).
While there is a method to our madness, there are no explicit hard and fast rules for what makes one a sinner versus a saint (though they are heavily influenced by statistics), but we have established a set of precedents as this series has developed over the past year. For example, if a player is otherwise aces for 89 minutes but makes a last minute gaffe that costs Roma the match, that's a sinner. Similarly, if a player is scrub for 80 minutes but turns it on down the stretch, he or she may be redeemed in the end.
Those extremes can be also applied to the team as a whole. When Roma routs their opponents, as was the case against the likes of Cluj or Benevento earlier this season, we tend to keep things light, passing out halos like so much Halloween candy. But, when Roma gets embarrassed, as was definitely the case yesterday in Napoli, things can get a bit dour around here.
Okay, now that you've been sufficiently informed and warned, it's time to get out the pitchforks.
We've spent a lot of time this season singing Mirante's praises, and while I still feel he's the club's best keeper, he was atrocious yesterday. He was so atrocious, I'm going to spell it phonetically to emphasize how bad he was—uh-troh-shuhs.
Mirante faced 14 total shots yesterday, eight of which were on target, four of which found the back of the net—and that's really all you need to know. If your opponent is turning 50% of all on-target shots into goals, you're gonna have a bad time.
Mirante made a couple of nice saves, but otherwise made poor decisions and/or was improperly positioned, particularly on the Lorenzo Insigne free kick and Fabian Ruiz's shot from the edge of the area.
I'll be very interested to see who Paulo Fonseca turns to in Roma's match against Sassuolo. Pau Lopez has been solid in Roma's Europa League fixtures but Mirante's errors yesterday were similar to the sort of missteps that cost Lopez the gig in the first place.
I know...I know. I can't believe it either. After becoming a fixture in the saints list, Henrikh Mkhitaryan committed the rare sin in yesterdays’ debacle in Napoli. In 90 minutes at the San Paolo, Mkhitaryan registered his lowest rated match of the season, completing only 74% of his passes (four points off his season average)...annnnd, that was about it. Micki took 40 touches, had one shot (which was blocked), was 0-2 on crosses, lost possession 13 times and was caught offside twice.
Mkhitaryan, 31-years-old, leads the club in minutes played and has been playing outstanding lately, so he was bound for some regression, but this was undoubtedly the worst match of his Roma career.
Hey, speaking of which!
Pedro, 33-years-old, ranks just behind Mkhitaryan in league minutes played and has been just as integral to the rebirth of Fonseca Football® as his Armenian teammate. And just like Mkhitaryan, he was bound for a downturn at some point; a trend he took to the extreme yesterday.
Playing the full 90, Pedro lost possession a match high 18 times, completed only 69% of his passes, went 0-4 on crosses, 0-2 on long-balls, committed two fouls and was dribbled past twice. He did, however, complete two key passes, so the evening wasn't a total loss.
Chalk both of these sinners up and it becomes quite clear: Roma need attacking reinforcements in January. Fonseca has been perhaps a bit too reliant on these veteran midfielders through the first few months of the season, so whatever rest he can find for them going forward will benefit the club immensely.
Let's be real: with most of the squad looking lethargic and defeated yesterday, most of the men wearing red could have made this list, but for the sake of our collective psyche, we'll end the list here.
Things will get better—they have to—but Roma were awful across the board yesterday, failing to even put up a fight against Napoli.