Now, that's more like it! After three frustrating rounds of play that saw the Giallorossi manage one draw and two defeats, Roma flew out the gates this afternoon at the Stadio Olimpico. While they were down club captain Lorenzo Pellegrini, José Mourinho still trotted out a lineup that featured Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku up top, buttressed by Renato Sanches and Leandro Paredes in the midfield, while Evan Ndicka made his club debut in place of the injured Chris Smalling.
While the lineup was missing a couple of key pieces, it wasn't long before Roma had Empoli under their thumbs, forcing the visitors into a costly handball moments after the opening whistle. And when Paulo Dybala slotted a second-minute penalty kick past a diving Etrit Berisha, the rout was well and truly on.
Six minutes later, Sanches capped off a give-and-go with right-back Ramsus Kristensen, bursting into the box and beating Berisha with a well-struck header, sending the Stadio Olimpico into hysterics as Roma's lead increased to 2-0 after only eight minutes.
Playing the best football we've seen in this young season, Mourinho's midfield, propelled by Renato Sanches' relentless running and Paredes' measured movements, passed circles around the Empoli defense, stitching together some of the best football we've seen from Roma on this young season. Throw in Lukaku's hold-up play and Dybala's clever movements in the final third, and Roma finally played up to their potential.
Roma would tack on five additional goals before the final whistle blew, including a gem from Dybala, who made multiple defenders look foolish before tucking the ball in the far post in the 55th minute. Not to be outdone, Cristante and Lukaku joined the goal-scoring party before the curtains closed on a seven-nil beatdown—Cristante even added a back-heeled assist for good measure.
After three incredibly frustrating results, it's safe to say Roma exorcised their demons tonight, dominating Empoli from start to finish and scoring goals for fun.