Ordinarily, a round 37 trip to Torino to face Andrea Belotti and the rest of the Toros is rather nondescript affair, but yesterday's trek up north was actually a pretty consequential match for Paulo Fonseca and Roma. By taking all three points yesterday, the Man from Mozambique officially finished his first season with Roma in fifth place, free from the scourge of playing Europa League qualification matches later this summer. With the league coming off such a unique and congested fixture list, Roma will need all the rest they can get before starting 2020-2021 training, so yesterday's match was about as important as they come.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the key players in yesterday's 3-2 victory over Torino.
Lopez has had a few bright spots this season, but by and large the 25-year-old Spaniard has failed to live up to the expectations set by his enormous price tag and €3 million salary. And yesterday was no exception, as Lopez played to sub 5.0 match rating for the eighth time this season. Match ratings aren't the be all end all of course, but Lopez now ranks 10th in Post-Shot Expected Goals per Shots on Target and 31st in Post-Shot Expected Goals +/-, which are nuanced measurements of how likely a keeper is to stop a given shot.
And, in many ways, Lopez's struggles were typified by his work on Wilfried Singo's goal:
Lopez's reaction tells you all you need to now about this one: he put himself in the position to make the save, got to the ground quickly but then just failed to, you know, make the actual save.
I'm not sure what the future hold for Lopez in Roma, but moments like this don't exactly boost your confidence for his long-term future with the club.
Dzeko had another odd performance yesterday: 47 touches, 38 passes, one shot, one goal and three key passes. His touches were way up yet his shots were way down, but he still turned in a remarkably efficient and effective 90 minutes.
His one shot leveled the match at one apiece and stemmed from his innate sense of timing and space, as he finished off a three pass move with Bryan Cristante and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, slipping into a tiny crevice in the 18 yard box the very second Mkhitaryan settled the ball from Cristante. While his three key passes were a match high.
On the surface, his goal notwithstanding, this was a subdued performance from Dzeko but when you look at all the ancillary stats—his touches, his passing, the key passes—he was instrumental in everything Fonseca's attack achieved yesterday.
Another stellar performance from Roma's fourth all-time leading scorer, proving yet again that he's so much more than just a goal scorer.
With Manchester United and Roma still unable to sort out Smalling's future, these moments are bitter sweet. In 90 minutes yesterday, Smalling won four aerials, completed 90% of his passes, had two shots on goal, four clearances, two blocked shots and scored a picture perfect header off Carles Perez's corner. It was a complete performance from the 30-year-old and the latest in a long line of evidence that proves how badly Roma need to retain his services.
Whatever I write is bound to be redundant by this point, right? Mkhitaryan was his usual self yesterday: calm, collected and creative. In addition to his beautiful assist on Dzeko's goal, Micki completed 91% of his passes, attempted two shots, drew three fouls, and was a perfect two-for-two on long balls.
The soft spoken 23-year-old midfielder continued his stellar debut season with Roma yesterday, logging 90 minutes while completing 93% of his passes, taking 65 touches (second most), completing three tackles, hitting on two of three long balls and, of course, converting the second half penalty—his first goal this season.
Torino grabbed an early lead yesterday and pretty much dominated the first 15 to 20 minutes of the second half, but thanks to the calm and measured performances from these saints, Roma were able to secure all three points and fifth place in the league.
Hopefully, Paulo Fonseca will empty the bench this weekend against Juve so we can see some new names here, but at this point, it's clear who Roma's leaders are and who has some work to do in the offseason.