Let's dispense with the obvious before we go any further, shall we? After Roma's putrid performance in their two-nil loss to Napoli, there will be no halos passed around Trigoria today. As you'll see in a moment, there were a few okay performances from the Giallorossi yesterday, but by and large, the men in maroon were lethargic and ineffective yesterday, looking a step behind Napoli for nearly the entire match.
Given the gulf in class yesterday, it's honestly shocking that Napoli didn't find the back of the net two or three more times, so let's dispense with the negatives before we move on to the few Roma players who managed to save face in the 2-0 defeat.
The stat sheet was kind to Ibañez yesterday, as he managed four interceptions, two tackles and completed 50% of his long passes, but when you live by the sword, you die by the sword. And for this Roma team, that means they have to deal with the erratic swings that come with relying on so many young center backs. You can't deny Ibañez's raw physical talent or athletic gifts, but as yesterday showed, he's still got a lot of learning and maturing to do before we can truly hail him as Roma's next great defender.
Ibañez committed four fouls yesterday—second-most in the match behind Victor Oshimen, who racked up five in only 24 minutes; pretty impressive stuff for a forward—but none were more costly than his foul at the edge of the box in the first half that precipitated Dries Merten's first goal.
Nearly everything we just said about Ibañez also applies to Mancini, but he's almost three years older so his excuses will soon wear thin. Mancini didn't commit any glaring/consequential errors like Ibañez, but he was incredibly lucky to not be sent off for taking a swipe at Oshimen's legs in the second half.
Might as well make it a clean three-for-three sweep with the backline, right? Cristante's missteps weren't quite as noticeable as his defensive partners, but he looked completely exhausted yesterday, struggling to identify and locate Mertens, Insigne, and the rest of Napoli's forwards, to say nothing of keeping up with them. To his credit, Cristante hit on an impressive 11-15 long passes yesterday so it wasn't all bad.
Stuck In Between
Stephan El Shaarawy: I know it seemed like he was awful, but with Roma struggling as an attacking unit, what could we reasonably expect? Despite those struggles, SES chipped in four key passes and would have had an assist if Lorenzo Pellegrini could have converted the header El Shaarawy teed up for him.
Rick Karsdorp: Another victim of Roma's strange approach last night, Karsdorp was a steady threat down the right (when given the opportunity) and nearly lucked into a goal when his cross/shot almost caught David Ospina off guard.
Yesterday's defeat was about as ugly as they come, but with the international break now upon us, we're forced to stew with it for two weeks...deep breaths.