Going into February, the Across the Romaverse crew spent a few episodes discussing the opportunity that February provided the Giallorossi. On paper, at least, every game seemed winnable—certainly in the league—and even though Roma dropped two points against Lecce, their win over Verona means that the Giallorossi are a victory against Cremonese away from going undefeated in the league for this month, a feat that has propelled them to third in the table, level on points with Milan.
The win over Verona saw Roma play some scintillating football in the first half before ultimately reverting to type in the second half: setting up shop and riding out the result for the 1-0 win but make no mistake, this was a huge win for Roma.
Nothing better than to go into the new week with a Roma win under your belt, so let’s take a look at three things I noticed from Roma’s win over Verona.
#1: An Unlikely Hero
Don’t look now, but the hero against Verona now has the same amount of Serie A goals this season as a certain former Roma starlet...
In all seriousness, though, what a way for you to mark your first start. It wasn't too long ago that Jose Mourinho was essentially telling the media that Ola Solbakken needs to learn how to play football, and here we are discussing the Norwegian scoring the winning goal in a crucial match against Verona.
With Paulo Dybala, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Tammy Abraham unable to play the role of protagonist in this one, Roma needed someone to step up. And while you might not have pegged Solbakken to be that person when you saw the starting eleven, the youngster took his opportunity and ran with it. The key now will be to build on this performance.
Here’s to hoping Ola starts to light up the league like a certain Norwegian in Manchester has been lighting up the Premier League.
#2: So, About Those Depth Issues...
Last week’s entry in this series discussed the lack of depth at Roma’s disposal, especially compared to their top-four rivals, and here I am a week later with a little bit of egg on my face after the role players came through for Roma, Andrea Belotti and Ola Solbakken in particular.
Sure, it was one game, so the jury is still out on whether some of these role players have turned a corner, but there is talent on the bench. Now, that’s nothing we didn’t already know, but the end product up to this point had been completely nonexistent.
If Roma can start getting important contributions from its bench, in turn allowing Mourinho to make consistent rotations while the Giallorossi navigate multiple competitions? Stating the obvious here, but that would be a season-changing development.
#3: “At my Signal, Unleash Hell”
It was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but the cameras in the post-game coverage caught Jose Mourinho emerging from his post-match huddle with the squad with a vintage snarl on his face. You know the one, the look before “The Special One” X-gene activates.
Mourinho’s post-match comments revealed that he was pleased with the performance, hailing all of his players and even hitting out at the media and the fans in defense of his players for what Mourinho views as constant criticism thrown their way.
It sounds like that vintage Mourinho siege mentality is well on its way to the Olimpico for that crucial second-leg clash on Thursday, and as history shows, that may be exactly what Roma needs to overturn the result against the Austrian champions.
Well, that’s all from me. Roma took care of business against Verona, and the Giallorossi showed enough on the offensive end that you have to give them a shot to overturn the result at home against Salzburg, particularly after the way they dominated the first leg. Of course, it's always easier said than done, but I’ll back this team to get the job done at the Olimpico.