Chiesa di Totti has existed in one form or another for nearly 15 years now, and throughout that time, we've strived to provide the most complete wrap-around matchday coverage possible. What started off simply with game threads and match reviews has expanded to include previews, probable lineups, and match highlights, among other pieces alongside our traditional game threads and reviews. Over the past 18 months or so, we've continued that expansion to include our Sinners & Saints player ratings series, our podcast (Across the Romaverse), Four Key Figures, which shines a light on a variety of statistical trends, and, most recently, Bren vs. Bran, our post-match debate series, which will return soon after a brief hiatus.
Well, today we're continuing that expansion with our newest series: Picks to Click, where we leave it up to you to predict which Roma player(s) will shine in any given match. If you grew up anywhere in WGN's broadcast area, the idea may sound familiar since it was a staple of Hawk Harrelson's White Sox broadcasts. But hey, a good idea is a good idea and we'll try our hardest to make this a regular piece of our matchday routine.
So, without further ado, here are the candidates most likely to click tomorrow against Napoli.
Napoli's greatest defensive strength is its ability to limit opposition chances. With only 8.9 shots conceded per match, no club in Italy has been quite as stingy as the Partnepoi, meaning Roma will have to be extra efficient with their shot selection and execution tomorrow. While Veretout has transformed himself into a penalty taker extraordinaire (his miss against Juve was his first failed attempt with Roma), with 0.43 goals per shot and 0.60 goals per shot on target, he's also Roma’s most efficient shot taker. If this match comes down to one strike of the boot, there may be no better option than the French midfielder.
We don't know if he'll start this match, much less play in it, but Zaniolo has tasted success against Napoli in his brief career. In only three matches against Napoli (one start, two substitute appearances), Zaniolo has scored one goal and chipped in six shot-creating actions in only 133 minutes. A breakthrough in the Derby del Sole could be just the shot in the arm Zaniolo (and Roma) needs right now.
As stingy as Napoli's defense has been, their attack has been equally prolific, scoring 19 goals in eight matches, second only to Inter Milan. And with all but two of those 19 goals coming within the penalty and/or six-yard box, Ibañez will have plenty of chances to prove his worth tomorrow. If he can keep his wits about him and stick on Victor Osimhen like gum underneath a chair, he could put in a MOTM shift tomorrow.
With two league goals (second on the squad), two league assists (first on the squad), 14 key passes (third on the squad), 13 passes into the penalty area (second on the squad), four goal-creating actions (third on the squad) and even eight shots blocked (fifth on the squad) and 18 tackles + interceptions (fifth on the squad), Mkhitaryan has done a bit of everything. And in what may be an incredibly tight match, one that might come down to the wire, Mkhitaryan's do-it-all routine could come in handy on Sunday.
With four goals and two assists in 12 appearances (all comps), Tammy Abraham's Roma career has gotten off to a superb start, but he's failed to truly make his mark in the club's biggest domestic matches to date, namely against Sassuolo, Juventus and Lazio. In a match that could quite literally come down to one attempt, Abraham needs to channel the form he’s shown against Fiorentina and Empoli, among others, tomorrow against Napoli. Roma cannot win this match without his presence up front.
Those are just a handful of candidates to click tomorrow against Napoli. Make your pick in the poll below and let us know who we may have missed. We'll check back after the match to see whether or not our predictions were correct.
Who is your Pick to Click against Napoli?
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