Serie A Club of the Week – Roma

Roma - Lazio

Three teams won both of their fixtures this week, Juventus, Inter, Genoa and Roma, and none was more impressive than the Giallorossi, who bounced back after a rocky stretch, where they had failed to pick up a win for four consecutive Serie A games and were demolished by Real Madrid in Champions League.

Getting to face Frosinone is healthy for everybody at this point, but La Lupa smoked them. Cengiz Under broke the deadlock after just two minutes with a great central run capped off by a robust shot from distance that bended the goalie’s gloves. Javier Pastore doubled the score with his second backheel flick of the season, more gorgeous than the first one because it was from more far away and he precisely directed it. Then Stephan El Shaarawy tapped it home in the six-yard box after Under charged deep in the right side of the box and slid it centrally. Aleksandar Kolarov put the exclamation point with a thunderous strike near the end of the game.

The Derby della Capitale was a much bigger test and La Lupa thoroughly confirmed its improvements. Eusebio Di Francesco seems to have found the right formula with a scheme that features two holding midfielders, who more often than not will be Daniele De Rossi and Steven Nzonzi, and Javier Pastore in the hole, but also Bryan Cristante, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolò Zaniolo can play in that position, which makes the formation sustainable in the long run.

Roma not only defeated their cross-town rivals on Saturday, but pulled the strings for the entirety of the game and were unfazed by the equalizer. They had the opening goal just before half time, when Lorenzo Pellegrini cashed in on a mistake coming out of the goal by Thomas Strakosha and was quick to react, bundling it home with a backheel touch.

Kolarov put them back on top just four minutes after Ciro Immobile’s goal, hammering home a free kick from close range, beating the goalie on his side with a powerful shot. Federico Fazio put the game on ice late, redeeming himself after a blunder that had led to Lazio’s goal, with a header on a set piece. The only bad news for Di Francesco, who had started to be on the hot seat, is that Pastore suffered another calf injury.

The fantasy haul was obviously remarkable in the two previous fixtures: Kolarov amassed 13, Fazio nine, Under eight, Robin Olsen six, Pellegrini five, El Shaarawy four, then few defenders and midfielders garnered points thanks to the clean sheet on Wednesday.

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