As Roma host Milan at the Stadio Olimpico for their third match of the season, the vibes around the club are... mixed, to say the least. On the one hand, the Giallorossi have been handed a Europa League group that promises to be relatively easy (knock on wood), and the signing of Romelu Lukaku has energized Romanisti the world over. On the other hand, Roma is winless in its first two matches of the season against relative minnows, and winless in painful ways: the gap between Roma’s expected goals and actual goals (both on offense and defense) shows that the squad certainly has kinks to work out before the tifosi can start dreaming about Champions League football or a Europa League victory.
Today’s match is the first true test of the season. In their first two matches of this new Serie A season, Milan have been an offensive juggernaut, effectively playing the role of Bizarro Roma. New signing Christian Pulisic has led the line of a squad that scored six while conceding one, and it will take a strong effort from Chris Smalling, Gianluca Mancini, and Diego Llorente for Roma to come out of this one with a win.
It will also take a drastically different level of performance from Rui Patricio, who has come under fire for his performances against Salernitana and Hellas Verona. It’s not a good sign for a starting goalkeeper if it only takes two matches for the fans to start floating the idea of promoting the untested 24-year-old behind you in the depth chart, but a performance today that is more in line with his good play in the 2021-2022 season would go a long way in quieting the chorus of complaints that even haunted Tiago Pinto while he was returning to Rome with Romelu Lukaku, the crown jewel of a largely successful summer mercato. Another missed opportunity from Patricio might force Pinto to look elsewhere for a new goalkeeper, or it might force José Mourinho to promote Mile Svilar.
As always, you can follow the match with us live here in the comments below or on Twitter @ChiesaDiTotti. Forza Roma!