Roma kicked off a sequence of five games within the last two weeks of February early this morning. The Giallorossi hosted Udinese and our questions before the match were focused on who would start up front for Roma, and how would Roma unlock a team like Udinese, who were likely to drop back and sit deep. The latter question was answered within the first five minutes of play, thanks to Gianluca Mancini and Jordan Veretout.
Roma’s opener came from centre-back Mancini moving out wide to switch roles with Karsdorp, who himself fed Mancini with the ball before the Italian checked onto his left foot and delivered an accurate outswinging cross to Udinese’s six-yard area. As is always the case with outswinging balls, this one was just begging to have an attacker run onto it and head it into the back of the net; Jordan Veretout obliged and did exactly that to put Roma 1-0 up early in this game and looking for more goals.
Those goals came in the form of a Veretout penalty, later in the half, and substitute Pedro scoring a third deep into second-half stoppage time right at the end of a Roma 3-0 victory today. In between those events came a disallowed Roma goal that witnessed beautiful, incisive football at the feet of Gonzalo Villar, Jordan Veretout and Lorenzo Pellegrini combined. And there was room for Bryan Cristante turnovers, and the subsequent one-on-one Pau Lopez stop to save Cristante’s bacon and Roma’s clean sheet.
Roma now have a further four February games to find the perfect alchemy between Mayoral/Dzeko and the rest of the team but, if you want to witness pure gold on the pitch, look no further than Gianluca Mancini’s commanding performance (both on and off the ball) against the Friuliani today, following on from Mancini being one of the few leading Roma lights against Juventus last week. Meanwhile, Jordan Veretout becomes Roma’s all-time record French goalscorer (15 goals) by surpassing Vincent Candela’s previous record (14).