For the first time since January 9th, Roma felt the sting of defeat in a league match. We all remember that dark day when Roma squandered a 3-1 lead against the Old Lady with only 20 minutes left on the clock. After watching Manuel Locatelli, Dejan Kulusevski, and (of all people) Mattia De Sciglio level and then win the match in the span of seven minutes, Roma fans were fit to be tied. It's not as if Roma were trampling over opponents to that point but after falling to AC Milan 3-1 the prior weekend, the Giallorossi seemed poised to rebound in a major way.
But a funny thing happened after De Sciglio completed that shocking comeback: Roma went on an absolute tear, reeling off a 12-match unbeaten streak in Serie A while winning 10 of 18 matches in all competitions during that same span. Roma wasn't necessarily clawing their way back into title contention—the hole they dug before January was simply too deep—but, if nothing else, they were playing with an identity and a sense of purpose; traits that all but disappeared yesterday at the San Siro.
So, for the first time in more than three months, we're forced to lean heavily on the pitchforks in our Sinners & Saints post-match player rating series.
But there was one man in red who was worth his salt last night...
With four shots, one key pass, and the club's only goal on the night, Mkhitaryan shouldered the burden for José Mourinho last night. Mkhitaryan also managed two clearances, two interceptions, and two tackles while winning three of six duels. Certainly, not the most impressive performance we've ever seen but compared to the clunkers around him, Mkhitaryan looked like a finely tuned performance vehicle.
Okay, onto the dregs...
With both clubs tip-toeing around each other for the first 25 minutes last night, Gianluca Mancini had a chance to break open the match in the 28th minute, giving Roma an early lead, if only he could have converted his headed chance off Lorenzo Pellegrini's free-kick. In addition to squandering that scoring chance, Mancini notched his league-leading 15th yellow card while contributing nothing beyond one tackle to Roma’s defensive efforts against Inter Milan.
He may have completed 92% of his passes, but Roma's savvy veteran center-back failed to make his mark at the San Siro yesterday. In 90 minutes, Smalling cleared two balls and won two duels. He wasn't exactly derelict in his duties, so we'll just call this a sin of omission.
Stephan El Shaarawy
SES’ return to the starting lineup was one to forget. Ostensibly starting in place of Nicolo Zaniolo, El Shaarawy forgot to seize the opportunity, failing to attempt a single shot on goal and whiffing on his only dribble attempt while completing only 70% of his passes, though he did manage one key pass in his 63-minute stint at the San Siro.
Similar to Smalling, Karsdorp didn't necessarily do anything to harm Roma, but he wasn't up to his usual standards. Going the full 90, Karsdorp didn't attempt a single shot or dribble and his only cross of the match was off the mark. While he did hit on 67% of his long passes and picked off two passes, he was otherwise absent against Inter.
Late second-half subs are the square peg in the Sinners & Saints round hole, insofar as it can be difficult to make a definitive judgment when a guy only plays a handful of minutes, usually under less than ideal circumstances. However, with 26 minutes plus stoppage time under his belt, Veretout had ample opportunity to make an impact for Roma and came up empty-handed. While he displayed some pretty crisp passing, Veretout had zero shots, zero key passes, no tackles, no interceptions, no clearances, no duels won, and was dribbled past twice.
There was a time earlier in the season when it looked like Viña could be a piece of the puzzle; not on the level of Leonardo Spinazzola or anyone of that ilk, but a capable backup you feel comfortable giving roughly 2,000 minutes to...not anymore. Buried behind young Nicola Zalewski on the depth chart, Viña has been reduced to 10 to 15-minute cameos. Granted, it can be tough to establish any week-to-week momentum with such scant minutes, but Viña has done very little to warrant more playing time, and last night was no exception, as he managed only one tackle while being dribbled past twice in only 12 minutes on the pitch.
Stuck In Between
These fellas did very little to advance the Roma cause last night but they weren't exactly weighing the Giallorossi down either. They were...stuck in between.
- Lorenzo Pellegrini: It would have been great if he put the team on his shoulders, but with one key pass, two shots, and two dribbles, Pellegrini put in an acceptable shift last night. Not enough to inspire an upset, but enough to earn his presumably massive paycheck for the evening.
- Sérgio Oliveira: 85% passing, four tackles, 70% of his duels won, and one key pass. A quietly effective evening for Roma's Portuguese midfielder.
- Eldor Shomurodov: He made the most of his 12-minute cameo, completing 80% of his passes and setting up Mkhitaryan's late goal.
- Tammy Abraham: Isolated from Roma's creative forces for most of the evening, Abraham looked visibly frustrated, but with 92% passing, one shot on goal, and some nice dirty work in the run of play, he did all he could under the circumstances.
- Nicola Zalewski: Two tackles, three interceptions, and 4-7 on long balls—not a bad return for a young kid facing league-leading Inter in front of a raucous San Siro.
- Roger Ibañez: 92% passing, four clearances, four interceptions, one tackle, and three accurate long balls. I have no idea what to make of this guy anymore. Consistency seems to have escaped him in 2022, but he was solid enough last night.
- Rui Patricio: He made five saves, including three in the box, and was pretty much helpless on all three Inter goals.
- Carles Pérez: One tackle, one shot, one key pass, and 92% passing in 26 minutes.
- Edoardo Bove: 10 minutes, eight touches, and 100% passing.
Needless to say, yesterday was a massive disappointment, so let's hope for more halos after Thursday's trip to the King Power Stadium.