Now, this was the Roma we all expected when Tiago Pinto masterfully added Paulo Dybala, Zeki Celik, and Andrea Belotti (among others) over the summer: A swift, stylish and swashbuckling club that whips the crowd into a frenzy as they run circles around the opposition. After three straight nail-biting performances, José Mourinho's men finally blew the doors off the building, running Monza off the pitch in a 3-0 laugher despite only seeing 39% of the ball.
Of course, since this is the Giallorossi we're talking about, it came at a cost. As I write this, we're waiting for updates on Marash Kumbulla and Stephan El Shaarawy, both of whom left the match with reported leg injuries. But don't let those down notes sour what was otherwise an exemplary performance from Roma, who temporarily hold the top spot on the Serie A table.
Considering how well Roma played, we'll keep the pitchforks in the barn for now. Onto the saints!
Through his first four appearances with his new club, Dybala has been one of the highest-rated players in the league. The lack of goals made it seem like La Joya was underperforming slightly, but Dybala removed all ambiguity from the equation last night. In only 64 minutes, Dybala took three shots, put all three on target, and found the back of the net twice. In addition to his brace, Dybala hit on six of eight long balls, created one scoring chance, and pulled off two successful dribbles.
Yup. That'll do nicely.
The man in the center of a tug-of-war between the Azzurri and the Seleção put in an outstanding 90 minutes against Monza. Outside of scoring Roma's third goal with a picture-perfect header, Ibañez completed 97% of his passes, won five of seven duels, picked off two passes, and won four tackles. The stats won't necessarily bowl you over, and he's certainly had more prolific performances, but last night was one of those "oh, he's really starting to get it" moments.
The sky is the limit for Ibañez. Start worrying about transfer rumors immediately.
Il Capitano wasn't at his best last night, but his 80-minute run against Monza proved that even a pedestrian Pellegrini is among the best midfielders in the league. Pellegrini managed two shots on goal last night and completed 80% of his passes, including 67% of his crosses and all four of his long attempts while creating three scoring chances. He even threw in one interception, two tackles, and four recoveries for good measure.
It's still too soon to make any definitive proclamations, but if Çelik keeps turning in performances like this, we may be looking at Roma's new right-back. Going the full 90, Çelik was as dynamic as the day is long. Check out these stats: Two clearances, one blocked shot, three interceptions, two tackles, nine recoveries, 85% passing, two scoring chances created (including one big chance), and 11 kilometers covered.
He came close to scoring in back-to-back matches but had to settle for one sensational assist on Dybala's first goal. With Nicola Zalewski's clearance covering nearly 50 yards—and taking an eternity to do so—Abraham deftly flicked the ball high enough and far enough to allow Dybala to run onto the ball and ahead of the defenders, paving the way for La Joya's first goal.
Tammy also managed two on-target shots and completed both dribble attempts.
Stuck In Between
These players didn't stand out quite as much as the saints, but on a day where Roma rolled over the competition, they still contributed to the cause.
- Bryan Cristante: A much better performance from Cristante, who stayed in his lane last night, completing 85% of his passes, including all four long attempts. Cristante also chipped in five tackles and two clearances.
- Chris Smalling: He wasn't meant to play last night, but after coming on for Kumbulla, Smalling cleared two balls, blocked two shots, and made two tackles while completing 92% of his passes.
- Rui Patricio: He wasn't terribly busy, but he added another clean sheet to his impressive Roma résumé.
- Nemanja Matic: One clearance, one tackle, 4-6 long passing, and one key pass. Cool, calm, and collected, Matic is the salve Roma's midfield desperately needed all last season.
- Gianluca Mancini: Pretty quiet night at work for Mancini, who managed one clearance, one blocked shot, and one tackle in 90 minutes.
- Nicola Zalewski: He completed 83% of his passes but was dribbled past twice and failed to make a mark in this match.
- Marash Kumbulla: Took only 14 touches in 28 minutes before leaving with a leg injury.
- Leonardo Spinazzola: 14 touches in 24 minutes, but with Zalewski's non-descript performance, he may start against Udinese this weekend.
- Stephan El Shaarawy: He's definitely taking to his super-sub role, but a stoppage-time leg injury marred his evening.
- Edoardo Bove: Eight touches in 10 minutes, 5-5 passing. He'll undoubtedly have busier days than this.
- Andrea Belotti: He came excruciatingly close to tearing down the house when he missed an 84th-minute semi-sitter, but it was great to finally see him out there.
That's it for now. We'll see you back in these spaces after Udinese.