Serie A Club of the Week – Roma


Just two teams were successful in both matches this week: Roma and Inter. The Beneamata did it by topping Napoli and Empoli with two 1-0 win, so the Giallorossi were certainly a little more impressive, despite conceding one late versus Sassuolo.

La Lupa so far have had all kinds of troubles, from chemistry and consistency problems to defensive leakiness, but at least they have solved the injury crisis, as Edin Dzeko, Stephan El Shaarawy, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Diego Perotti and Javier Pastore recovered from their ailments and three of them were able to get meaningful minutes. They should all be up and running after the break, giving Eusebio Di Francesco a vast array of weapons to choose from, considering that Cengiz Under, Nicolò Zaniolo, Justin Kluivert and even Patrik Schick have shown some flashes. The only worrisome situation concerns Daniele De Rossi, who is dealing with tricky knee cartilage issues.

It is fair to say that Schick has been a disappointment thus far in the Italian Capital, hampered by continuous physical issues, a difficult coexistence with Edin Dzeko and a complicated fit in the coach’s schemes. However, he can be useful in some match-ups and proved it against Sassuolo, where the opponents left some room to counter and he cashed it on it by winning a penalty almost right away and then gliding past the goalie on a one-on-one and poking it home.

Two other players shined in both games: Cengiz Under had one goal and two assists, while Bryan Cristante scored and set up one. On Wednesday, the Turk picked out Nicolò Zaniolo, then the teenager found his first Serie A goal with a terrific little lob after a pair of hesitation moves. Under also finished off Parma by potting one after a feed by Lorenzo Pellegrini destined to Edin Dzeko was deflected. The ex-Atalanta midfielder sprung Schick loose for the second goal in the midweek round and then broke the deadlock in Parma with a header on a corner kick. His improved play as pivot, a slight surprise since he was used as trequartista in Bergamo, has made up for De Rossi’s absence.

The only thing spoiling an immense fantasy haul was Khouma Babacar’s goal beating the offside trap and scoring in the stoppage time on Wednesday. Under garnered 10 total points, Cristante eight, Robin Olsen seven for the clean sheet in Parma, where he had a superb save on a point-blank attempt, most of the defenders had either five or four, like Zaniolo and Schick for their goals against the Neroverdi.

Roma will have a tough time catching Inter and confirming the third spot they earned last season, but after an underwhelming start, they are now two points behind the fourth-placed Lazio and they have the deepest squad among the teams vying for a Champions League spot.

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