Yesterday's 3-0 victory over Torino, the final match of the 2021-2022 Serie A season, was noteworthy for several reasons. Not only did Roma secure a berth in next season's Europa League by virtue of (potentially) wrapping up fifth place on the league table, the Giallorossi ended their domestic campaign on a high note, notching a league win for the first time since April 10th against Salernitana. Given all the Conference League hoopla we've been wrapped up in, you'd be forgiven if you didn't realize Roma hadn't won a Serie A match in nearly six weeks, and while they weren't exactly in a tailspin, Mourinho's men struggled in the month of May.
But win they did. After brushing off a sluggish start at the other Stadio Olimpico, Roma's big guns, Tammy Abraham and Lorenzo Pellegrini, joined forces to turn the tide in the 33rd minute after Il Capitano stole the ball deep in Torino territory before setting up Abraham's 16th goal of the season with a great diagonal ball. Of course, there's a reason we call him Tammy Two Goals. Thanks to his 42nd-minute penalty conversion (which he drew after being up-ended by Etrit Berisha), Abraham lived up to that moniker, bagging his sixth brace of the season, pushing his season total to 27 goals in all competitions.
Considering all that, it should come as no surprise which players are leading the charge in the final Sinners & Saints of the Serie A campaign.
Roma fans, being the jaded bunch we are, immediately took to Twitter after the match, penning obituaries for Abraham's Giallorossi career. Despite reaffirming his love for the club and city, Roma fans have been conditioned to expect our best players to depart the club at the first sign of foreign interest, doubly so when the player in question is neither Roman nor Italian.
While that's a worry for another day, if this was indeed Abraham's one and only season in Serie A, he went out on a high note, scoring two goals off three shots, drawing one penalty, pulling off one dribble, and chipping in one key pass.
Given his toughness, exuberance, and just plain class, Tammy Abraham will be easy to root for no matter where he plays. But please, football gods, don't take him from us yet. Please!
With nine goals and five assists in league play, Roma's 25-year-old captain just put the finishing touches on one of the most productive seasons of his still-young career, tallying that fifth assist last night after he played Abraham into the box for the game's decisive goal. Apart from that dime, Pellegrini completed 81% of his passes, won 60% of his duels, chipped in three key passes, hit on two-of-two long balls, and added two interceptions and two tackles to the Roma cause yesterday.
The man many presume will leave the capital this summer turned in another fine performance last night. In 90 minutes, Veretout was busy: 39 passes attempted (a Roma-high), 95% completion, two key passes, 4/4 long balls, one shot on goal, one dribble, eight recoveries, one clearance, two interceptions, and one tackle while covering nearly 12 kilometers.
Young Max may have been busy dreaming of the Conference League final on his home turf, but the 22-year-old defender showed no signs of distraction against Torino and his former Verona manager Ivan Juric. Going the full 90, Kumbulla was a defensive dynamo, picking off a match-high three balls while adding two clearances, one tackle, and 11 recoveries to the mix.
Say it with me now: He wasn't tested much, but Patricio was spectacular when called upon. Facing only two on-target shots, Patricio barely broke a sweat yesterday, but he saved both attempts and overtook an average of 4.92 opposing players per pass according to the official match report. Add all that up and Patricio secured his 15th clean sheet of the season, good for second in the league behind AC Milan's Mike Maignan.
Making only his fifth start of the league campaign, Shomurodov's 2021-2022 struggles continued Friday against Torino. In 76 minutes, Shomurodov managed only two shots on goal, neither of which were on target, while completing only 68% of his passes and winning only two of fourteen duels. Shomurodov also lost possession 11 times in only 35 touches; a fitting end to an incredibly disappointing season for the 26-year-old winger.
Outside of Shomu, Roma's full-time players fared well enough last night, leaving us with a gaggle of SIBs.
Stuck In Between
You know the drill: These fellas were about as middle of the road as it gets last night, failing to meet our saintly standards while still managing to dodge our pitchforks.
- Gianluca Mancini: While he managed to avoid the referee's book (a rarity for him this year), Mancini struggled to find any rhythm last night, registering only one blocked shot while completing 71% of his passes, though he did complete four of eight long balls.
- Nicolo Zaniolo: He didn't play much, only 14 minutes, but he drew a shrewd penalty after receiving the ball at the edge of the box, shielding the ball from the defense and essentially baiting them into taking him down in the area. He also completed all four of his pass attempts and created one big chance per Sofa Score.
- Nicola Zalewski: Playing out of position again and on the opposite flank to which he's accustomed, Zalewski still managed two tackles, one clearance, one blocked shot, and one interception in 58 minutes.
- Roger Ibañez: In 90 minutes, Ibañez was pretty sharp, completing 94% of his passes, including five of seven long balls, while intercepting two passes and clearing one ball in the defensive end.
- Leonardo Spinazzola: The match ratings weren't terribly kind to him, but getting 83 minutes under his surgically repaired legs was an accomplishment in and of itself. Elapsed time aside, Spinazzola still completed 90% of his passes, 50% of his long balls, and created one scoring chance while also clearing two balls and blocking one shot.
- Sérgio Oliveira: A quiet night for the winter transfer with an uncertain future, Oliveira missed only one of his 18 passes, fired two shots on goal, and won two tackles in 58 minutes.
- Bryan Cristante: Making only his fifth substitute appearance of the season (29 starts in 34 Serie A matches), Cristante was pretty quiet in his 32-minute cameo, winning two tackles and completing two of three long passes.
- Rick Karsdorp: Coming into the match alongside Cristante, Karsdorp was barely noticeable but completed 11-12 passes and completed one tackle, and picked off one pass.
- Matías Viña: Two tackles and six touches in only 10 minutes of action. Me thinks this kid won't be back next season but he does have the makings of a solid pro.
- Stephan El Shaarawy: Eight minutes, five touches, one shot, one missed, and not a single hair out of place. Classic 2022 El Shaarawy.
And with that, we'll put a bow on Sinners & Saints for the 2021-2022 season, but be sure to check back next week as we attempt our first-ever all-encompassing, season-long S&S.
Pray for me.