It may be the shortest month of the year, but February was full of action, controversy and drama for AS Roma. After shaking off the January doldrums, the Giallorossi started off February like a house on fire before ending the month on a sour note—two frustrating and pitiful losses to Shakhtar Donetsk and AC Milan, but like any month, it was a bit of a mixed bag.
So, just in case you missed a few matches this month, we’ve got you covered.
Story of the Month: The Rise of Cengiz Ünder
While those in the know wouldn’t have called Ünder’s ascension a total shock, the extent to which he’s essentially become irreplaceable in Roma’s starting lineup so soon has perhaps been the storyline of the season, let alone the month. From August through the end of January, Ünder had played all of 505 league minutes, or less than Bruno Peres, and was more of an intriguing curiosity than a legitimate weapon. In that scattering of minutes, Ünder failed to score a single goal and managed only eight chances created. That’s not a judgement call, he was just a young kid on the end of a talented bench.
But this past month...this past month was his coming out party. In four league matches, Ünder tallied 383 minutes, scored five goals, contributed one assist and matched his previous eight chances created. Ünder’s rise was so meteoric that at one point during the month ESPNFC ranked him as the 8th best player in the world.
And with a goal during the weekend upset over Napoli, Ünder shows no signs of slowing down.
Fanpost of the Month: Roma and Serie A’s New TV Deal
Excellent look here from one of our readers about Roma’s potential windfall from Serie A’s new domestic TV deal. It’s one we expanded upon a few weeks later, talking about potential streaming options in the future. Great work from one of our more active readers there, and by all means, if you’ve got an extended opinion/take on something, please, please, please share it as a fanpost and we’ll promote it.
High Point of the Month: Roma’s 5-2 Thrashing of Lowly Benevento
Although the match began with the Witches scoring on a shot deflected off Manolas (how many times has that happened this year?), Roma would come back with ferocity, putting five goals passed Benevento and coming away with three much needed points. Finding beard growing-master, and possible neanderthal, Federico Fazio, Kolarov began Roma’s comeback with a surgical cross on a set piece.
However, this match was all about Ünder. Looking back on the highlight reel, the Turk was EVERYWHERE. First notching an assist to Dzeko with a blistering run and right-footed cross, Under would go on to score two goals himself, both gorgeous curlers, one near post, the other on the far post. Defrel would cap off the fifth goal with a well-taken penalty. While the game started off rocky, Roma were never in doubt, and thanks to Under’s heroics, the team was able to put away more than one goal for the first time in 11 matches across all competitions.
Low Point of the Month: Roma Falls to Milan at the Olimpico
Coming off a three-game winning streak in the league, but a shattering loss to Shakhtar Donetsk in UCL, Roma hosted a reinvigorated Milan side led by 2006 World Cup winner, Gennaro Gattuso. After putting in a more or less dominating first-half, outshooting Milan 10:1, Roma would go onto to do their best The Leftovers impression, disappearing from the game and leaving their fans to wonder what the hell just happened. Despite leading in almost every aspect of the game, possession, shots, pass percentage, and corners, Roma would fall behind on what counts: heart and determination. Statistics aside, the clear winner in this game went to the team with grinta, and Milan simply wanted the win more. The Roma midfield was particularly lost in this one, offering practically nothing in terms of attacking threat and urgency. Moreover, EDF’s substitutions were quizzical and perhaps even harmful to a potential comeback. Defensive lapses would allow Milan two goals and the three points. All in all, this was one to forget.
Goal of the Month: You Guessed It, Ünder
Ünder had a couple goal of the month candidates, including his bended effort against Benevento, his second strike of that match, but this one against Udinese takes the cake. I’ll pretty much repeat what I said in the review of this match—Ünder just hit this thing so fucking perfectly. The force and trajectory on this thing were absolutely perfect, had he hit it any harder, it may have veered off course and gone wide of the post, but his technique was spot on here, resulting in a rocket of a shot that was fast enough, precise enough and low enough to give the keeper virtually no chance of stopping it, and I’m not even sure he was in frame on that shot. Brilliant effort.
Out of Context CdT Tweet of the Month
Nick from New Girl took down Pellegrini in the box— Chiesa di Totti (@chiesaditotti) February 25, 2018
Hero of the Month: Alisson...Again
At this point, I think we’ve exhausted all superlatives in relation to Alisson Becker. While his clean sheet record took a few dings in February, Alisson was as pivotal as ever during the 28 days gone by. From the miraculous to the simply shrewd, Alisson did it all this month. I shudder to think where we’d be without him this season. So while Ünder grabbed most of the headlines this month, Alisson’s heroics continue to keep Roma punching above their weight class.
Goat of the Month: Bruno Peres
During the wee hours of Sunday, February 4th, after presumably a number of exotic cocktails or Birra Morettis, Bruno Peres decided to take his Lamborghini for a joyride. And what was the occasion, you ask? Certainly not a celebratory spin after Roma’s 1-0 win against Hellas Verona, for Mr. Peres played not a minute. No, Peres, perhaps wallowing in the inebriated nightmare of his current form, would crash his speedster with a blood alcohol level four times over the legal limit. Losing his license and what was left of his pride, Bruno would be dropped from the Benevento match and fined in the process.
Alisson Moment of the Month: Joga Bonito!
Are we sure we should limit him to keeper? Isn’t he the Shohei Otani of football?
Roma’s Top Five Rated Players (Per Squawka)
- Federico Fazio
- Cengiz Ünder
- Kostas Manolas
- Kevin Strootman/Edin Dzeko (tied)
Facts & Figures
- Roma earned 9 of a possible 15 points (all comps)
- 9 GF, 6 GA
- 57 chances created, 50% shot accuracy
So that’s all she wrote for Issue II of The Church Bulletin. If you have any comments or suggestions, by all means let us know!
What was the biggest storyline from February?
This poll is closed
Roma finally scored more than one goal!
The rise of Cengiz Ünder
Alisson’s Continued Amazingness
The unheralded play of Fazio and Manolas
Other (Do tell!)