During my days as a high school baseball player, I had a hitting instructor who, unsatisfied with typical sports cliches, felt the need to tweak one athletic axiom. Coach P was fond of saying, "Practice doesn't make perfect—perfect practice makes perfect." In other words, if you're going through the motions during training, how can you expect better results during the actual games?
Unfortunately for Coach P, this was one among many life lessons that fell on deaf adolescent ears, but I was reminded of that saying when glancing at the Serie A Femminile table. While Roma has had a few minor hiccups along the way, their 9-0-0 (W-D-L) record proves that Alessandro Spugna's side has achieved some measure of perfection through the first half of the season—and the numbers behind that start are jaw-dropping.
Through nine league matches, Roma is not only perfect, but they lead the league in goals scored, fewest goals conceded, and, naturally, goal differential, where their +28 is ten better than second-place Juventus. Toss in their 9-1 aggregate win over Vorskla Poltava in the Champions League qualifiers, their 2-2 draw against Munich, and last week's 3-0 win over Ajax, and those stats look even crazier: a 12-1-0 (W-D-L) record with +39 goal differential.
Considering all that, I thought looking under the hood and seeing what's been driving Roma's success might be interesting, so here are nine stats behind the club's perfect 9-0 league start.
As in the number of players to register either a goal or an assist through Roma's first nine league matches. From the peak, Manuela Giguliano (4G, 3A), to the bottom, Annamaria Serturini (1A), Roma is getting contributions from nearly every rotation player on the squad. With that kind of depth, it's no wonder they're rolling over the opposition every weekend.
Following the figure above, six of the club's 32 league goals have been scored by defenders. With center-backs Elena Linari (3), Oihane Valdezate (1), and full-back Lucia Di Guglielmo (2) joining the scoring party, Roma can seemingly count on goals from every outfield player.
As in the number of assists generated by Roma's vaunted attack, three more than second-place Juventus. It would be interesting to see what the "hockey assist" numbers are like, but those 20 assists point to a team that knows how to share the wealth, moving the ball with efficiency and purpose.
The total number of shots Roma has attempted through their first nine league matches—24 more than second-place Juventus. The Giallorossi's 76 shots on target also pace the league, while their goals/shot (0.16) and average shot distance (16.9) are the top marks in Serie A Femminile.
Peppering your opponent with a barrage of attempts is one thing, but Roma's defense has been equally impressive in limiting opponents' attempts. Through nine matches, the Giallorosse have only conceded 85 shots, trailing only Juventus' 78 shots allowed. However, no team in the league forces their opponents to shoot further away than Roma, whose average shot distance allowed is 19 yards—technically they trail Fiorentina by one-tenth of a yard, but that's not even four inches, so let's not split hairs.
As in the number of times Roma has trailed a league match this season. Yup, you read that right. Roma hasn't trailed for a single second through nine league matches. In fact, the only time Roma has trailed any match this season was against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, a 2-2 draw in which Roma actually conceded an own goal to aid the German's effort that night. Drill it down even further, and you'll find that Roma has only been level twice this season—for all of 49 minutes.
The number of times Roma has won by three goals or more. And three of those four matches included at least a five-goal margin of victory. There's winning, and there's dominance. Roma is dominant, in case that wasn't already apparent.
The number of goals Roma has scored after the 75th minute. Whether tied (not likely) or just scoring for fun, Spugna's side never relents, hunting for goals until the final whistle. In fact, if we drill that number down even further, we find that six of those seven goals have come in the 88th minute or later, and of those six, five came in the 90th minute or later.
It may go without saying, but Roma is making a mockery of their expected goal tally. With 32 league goals, the Giallorosse have outperformed the advanced analytics by 14. They may come back to earth in the second half, but given everything we've just discussed, goals won't be hard to find.
So, there you have it: Nine stats from Roma's perfect 9-0 league start, but here's a bonus figure...
As in Alessandro Spugna's winning record in all competitions since joining the club in the fall of 2021. Roma may want to hang onto him.
The Giallorosse are on international break at the moment, but the second half of the season commences on December 10th when Roma hosts AC Milan.