As in the number of tackles and interceptions for Nicola Zalewski. When Mourinho first started playing the 20-year-old Pole at left wing-back, many wondered why a young attacking talent was being slotted into that role. Well, as we’ve seen in recent weeks, he can certainly play both sides of the ball.
On Sunday, Lazio clearly wanted to challenge him with Felipe Anderson. Zalewski was more than up to the task, completely neutralizing the Brazilian. In fact, Sarri swapped Anderson to the opposite flank about 30 minutes in, while Zalewski piled up the defensive statistics. Impressive work from the youngster.
As in the number of goals scored by Tammy Abraham in all competitions in his maiden season as Roma’s starting striker. Tammy’s brace against Lazio made him the most prolific goal scorer in his first season at the club; surpassing Vincenzo Montella and Gabriel Batistuta. Impressive company to say the least.
Even then Abraham wasn’t content—admitting that he should’ve finished off his hat trick in the second half. And as evidenced by Sunday’s derby brace, the Englishman doesn’t just inflate his numbers against provincial sides. He’s now scored twice on Lazio, three times on Atalanta, and once each on Juve and Milan this season. Tammy is showing that he excels when the moment is the biggest.
As in the number of goals Lorenzo Pellegrini has scored directly from free-kicks this season. In the past, Roma’s insistence on using Pellegrini for its spot-kicks was often criticized for lack of end product. That’s no longer the case as Roma’s captain continues to punish teams for committing fouls in favorable positions.
Sunday’s strike to triple Roma’s advantage was a pinpoint perfect curler around the wall and into the top corner out of the reach of the outstretched gloves of Thomas Strakosha. I’ve been waiting to see how Pelle would respond to the bright lights of a derby as captain. We should’ve known from the first corner kick that led to Tammy’s opening goal—when he tried to score directly—that he’d be up to the task. And boy did Pellegrini shine!
As in the number of clearances from Roma’s three center backs. The backline was near flawless Sunday, stifling one of Italy’s most dangerous attacks. Chris Smalling and Roger Ibañez each had seven clearances, while Gianluca Mancini had four. All that while holding Lazio to just six shots (three on target) and committing just two fouls among them. It was perhaps the most secure Rui Patricio’s goal has looked all season, particularly when you consider Lazio’s offensive record. Impressive stuff.