Roma’s starting right back: Bruno Peres. Raise your hand if you saw that coming at the beginning of the Serie A campaign. If we took a tally there’d probably be fewer hands up than I regularly see raised in my classroom. And that’s not many.
Roma’s right back position has been an issue for years. Back in the summer of 2016, Peres was supposed to remedy the issue when he was purchased from Torino. However, things didn’t quite go according to plan in the Italian Capital for the Brazilian. And outside of a goal line clearance against Fonseca’s Shakthar Donetsk in the Champions League Round of 16, there weren’t many high points to look back on fondly.
After two years in giallorosso, Peres was shipped back to his homeland. First, a loan to São Paulo. Then it was a step down to Brazilian Serie B side Recife. Neither loan spell saw Peres regain his old form or even see a whole lot of game time.
With no suitors in sight and another year on his contract, Peres returned to Rome this January. Nobody expected him to be of much use. Just more dead-weight on Roma’s books.
However, things are playing out in a way few could’ve seen coming. After Alessandro Florenzi’s departure, Peres has slowly earned more and more playing time. Believe it or not, he’s impressed Fonseca enough to start Roma’s last three Serie A matches. In those matches, he’s even looked, dare I say, like a proper footballer.
While the sample size is small, the early returns have been encouraging. Last week against Lecce, Peres was active on both sides of the ball. In defense, he had 2 clearances and 2 blocks, along with a tackle and an interception. Meanwhile, in attack Peres had two key passes while completing better than 80% of his passes.
This past weekend, he followed that up with another impressive shift against Cagliari. Peres, a player not known for his defensive prowess, had 3 tackles, 3 interceptions, and a clearance. Meanwhile, he had three shots and completed 75% of his passes, while working in sync with Cengiz Ünder on the right side of Roma’s attack.
Even in Roma’s loss to Atalanta (his first start), Peres made some key contributions with six successful long balls and three successful dribbles. You can even throw in the above assist in his 29 minutes off the bench against Bologna. All told, the overall numbers aren’t shabby for a guy who was struggling for playing time in Brazil’s second division a few months back.
Of course, all this is not to say that Roma has solved its incessant right back issue long term. Peres, for all the positives mentioned above, is still prone to defensive lapses. He was often caught in no man’s land against La Dea, while against Sassuolo his decision to press (he's the one falling over in the clip below) too soon left Jeremie Boga acres of space on Sassuolo’s fourth goal—one that effectively killed Roma’s comeback hopes.
All in all, Peres still has plenty of work to do, especially on the defensive side of things. However, his addition has been an unexpected surprise, which is good news for Roma. With Leonardo Spinazzola’s well documented drop off when playing on the right and Davide Santon not offering much going forward, the opportunity is there for Peres to make the position his own.
Peres’ reemergence as a viable Serie A right back has been an unexpected but welcomed sight. Now let’s hope he continues on the upward trajectory that we’ve seen over the last three weeks and Fonseca may have one less thing to worry about when filling out the line-up card in the last three months of the campaign.
How do you rate Bruno Peres’ contributions since his return to Roma?
This poll is closed
This is what I was expecting in his first go round!
He looks like a proper footballer!
Ask me again in a few weeks.
The defensive errors still drive me nuts!
Give me some more Santon!