After trading an incredible hot streak (eight wins out ten) for a short cold snap (dropped points in three of their last four, including two defeats), we weren't quite sure what to expect when Roma made the trek to Bologna yesterday. With Sinisa Mihajlovic's side down a few key pieces, Roma should have been favored to win this match, but I'm not sure anyone expected the Giallorossi to do this.
With their attack humming like a fine-tuned muscle car, Roma put five goals past an opponent for the third time this season, pushing their league total to 24 goals through 11 matches, the fourth-most in Serie A.
It was a banner day for the Giallorossi, but it wasn't without its dour notes, so let's start off with the lone scar on an otherwise flawless afternoon.
A VAR appeal saved Cristante the ignominy of scoring two own goals in one match, but just days after singing his praises as a makeshift center back, Cristante was decidedly poor in Roma's rousing victory. With only 76% of his passes completed (and only 33% of longball attempts), Cristante was lacking the precision that previously enabled him to succeed as Roma's prime ball-playing defender.
He managed six clearances and one interception, but none of that matters when you commit an error as comical as this:
Mussow Barrow had one defender in his face, Cristante in the middle of the box, and even a third white shirt trailing at the edge of the area, so he had literally no outlet for his speculative cross into the middle, and yet Cristante reacted like he was the one under duress.
And if that wasn't bad enough, he's now been suspended for a “blasphemous” expression following that gaffe.
Cristante was really the only low point for Roma yesterday, so, while we have a blueprint in place for players who were neither sinners nor saints, given how lopsided yesterday's victory was, we have to stick with the halos for now...
There were several options yesterday, but Pellegrini was the man of the match in Roma's five-goal binge. In 90 minutes yesterday, Pellegrini was instrumental, putting two shots on goal (both on target), dishing out two key passes, providing one assist, completing two successful dribbles, drawing four fouls, completing two accurate through balls, and scoring Roma's third goal of the evening.
Bologna was beaten down and battered, but Pellegrini put in a nearly flawless performance.
After a brief down spell, Mkhitaryan was back to his usual self yesterday, scoring one goal and providing an assist. In addition to his goal contributions, Mkhitaryan put four shots on goal, completed 82% of his passes, generated seven shot-creating actions, completed two dribbles, drew two fouls, and had two interceptions.
Mkhitaryan now has six goals and five assists in 11 Serie A appearances and seems like a safe bet to crack the double-double before the end of the year. And I still have no clue what Arsenal thought he was lacking—I wonder if 15th place Arsenal could use him right about now?
With his 10th minute goal yesterday, Dzeko moved into a tie with Amadeo Amadei for third on Roma's career scoring list (111 goals) and now has Roberto Pruzzo (138 goals) in his sites. But Dzeko was so much more than a goal scorer yesterday, putting four shots on goal (two on target), completing two dribbles, and winning seven of nine aerial duels.
We're all pretty excited about Borja Mayoral's potential, but yesterday was a firm reminder: Edin Dzeko is still pretty damn good.
Spinazzola continued his torrid 2020 with another stellar turn yesterday. Going the full 90, Spinazzola was a bit off in his passing (69% completed) but more than made up for that with two key passes while completing 50% of his longballs and 50% of his cross attempts. Spinazzola was equally terrifying (to Bologna) with the ball at his feet, completing three of five dribble attempts while racking up 318 yards of progressive dribbling distance.
But Spina was no slouch behind the ball either, winning three tackles, intercepting four passes, and applying five successful pressures, the third-highest mark yesterday.
We'll end the list with Roma's other resurgent full-back, the previously maligned Rick Karsdorp. The 25-year-old Dutchman continued his Roman reclamation yesterday, taking 54 touches, setting up three shots, providing one assist, pulling off two dribbles, playing four balls into the final third, and hitting on three of four longball attempts.
We started off the season asking whether or not Karsdorp could redeem himself this season, and through the first quarter of the new campaign, that answer has been a resounding yes.
We included way more saints than we typically do, but Roma was simply that great yesterday. What do you think, did we miss anyone?