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Sinners & Saints: Lazio 3, Roma 0

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Nobody’s getting canonized today, that’s for sure.

Lazio v AS Roma - Italian Serie A Photo by Claudio Pasquazi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Put simply, this was one to forget as quickly as possible. The Giallorossi dominated possession but were unable to do anything with it, and key defensive mistakes gave Lazio a lead they’d never lose. There are going to be major questions going forward for Roma and Paulo Fonseca, as this side have been able to dismantle everyone in the bottom half of the table but have not won a match against anyone better than Benevento. That has to change soon if Fonseca wants to stay in Rome longer than the end of this season. He’s not the only sinner, though, as we’ll dive into now.

The Sinners

Roger Ibañez

SS Lazio v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Marco Rosi - SS Lazio/Getty Images

This was perhaps the worst defensive performance I’ve seen in a Roma kit by anyone not named Juan Jesus. It doesn’t destroy all of Ibañez’s built-up goodwill, but it certainly hurts the narrative that he should be one of Roma’s starting center-backs. Ibañez’s style of play finally came back to haunt the Giallorossi, with his wilder style of defending arguably gifting Lazio the game. The Brazilian garnered a 5.2 score on Whoscored, the lowest of anyone who played yesterday, and it’s easy to see why. Lazio’s first two goals were 100% on Ibañez, with key defensive mistakes near Manuel Lazzari ending in goals for Ciro Immobile and Luis Alberto.

You can make excuses for one massive error resulting in a goal; that’s going to happen in any defender’s career. Doing it twice in under half an hour, though, is beyond the pale. Hopefully, Ibañez gets some time on the bench, and with Max Kumbulla in the wings, it’s not like Roma don’t have a good option to replace him in the short-term.

Edin Džeko

SS Lazio v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Roma’s survived being down at the half before; we know that this Roma in particular has the ability to come from behind and at least salvage a draw. That makes it all the more infuriating that Edin Džeko brought next to nothing to the pitch against Lazio yesterday. It took until late in the second half for the Bosnian Cubic Zirconia to get a real shot on goal, and that was easily parried away by Pepe Reina. Outside of that, Džeko was nearly lifeless on the pitch, and Roma’s high possession rate and forward position on the pitch turned into absolutely nothing coming even close to the net.

This isn’t to detract from the bulk of Džeko’s career in Rome so far; he’s been an excellent player for the side and is rightfully high up on the all-time scorer’s table. Yet you have to wonder if we’re nearing the end of his time as the focal point of Roma’s attack. Father Time is undefeated, and although Džeko has seven goals so far this season, when Roma lose or draw, it’s often at least partially due to an over-dependence on the Bosnian. I don’t have a quick fix solution here, and it’s definitely true that Roma probably can’t afford a striker of comparable quality on the open market right now. That doesn’t make Džeko’s performance any less sin-worthy.

Leonardo Spinazzola

SS Lazio v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Marco Rosi - SS Lazio/Getty Images

Leonardo Spinazzola has been one of the bright spots of Roma’s season to date, which is why it’s so surprising that he also completely disappeared against Lazio yesterday. Before being substituted in the 71st minute, Spinazzola had zero shots, zero key passes, and zero won aerials despite getting 50 touches. Add in Spinazzola being a net-negative on defense and boy was it a bad match for the Italian international.

Fonseca’s current set-up has rehabilitated Bruno Peres and Rick Karsdorp, and at some points given Spinazzola the look of a star on the left. After a performance like that, against a club like Lazio, Leonardo has a lot of work to do to convince people he’s more than just a stop-gap until Riccardo Calafiori comes good.

Saints