That game was painful to watch. We are better than that. I think. I have a bunch of thoughts and ideas running through my mind after this game so instead of doing a good/bad/ugly I'm just going to spill my thoughts down here and see what happens.
So before I start a match review I usually go to whoscored.com and see their stats. I typically don't look at their Match Strengths/Weaknesses but I decided to do so today. What it said was: Team showed no significant strengths. I want to disagree with them. I really do. But looking back at the game I don't see anything particularly good about the team today.
Now, I'm not saying that we played absolutely awful. I would say we were sub-par, Typically sub-par isn't half bad. But sub-par against a high-flying Roma that wants to prove to the rest of Serie A that it deserves to be at the top of the table (and that just loves to beat us) is not acceptable. At all.
Let's talk about Roma really quick. First of all, I don't really watch the Premier League, but I read articles and talk to Premier League fans a lot. When I heard that Gervinho was going to Roma, I laughed. I thought they were wasting their money. Frankly I thought that Roma made a lot of poor choices in the transfer market. Boy was I wrong. Rudi Garcia has taken this side and made them into a counter-attacking monster. They might actually deserve their place in the standings. But there are still another 31 rounds in the league. And they're still douchbags (I just needed to get that in. I mean, 5 yellow cards and 1 red? Really???)
Now back to us. Campagnaro and Jonathan were unavailable today (slight injuries), so Mazzarri had to replace them with Rolando and Periera. It showed, way too much. Ranocchia needs a older, more experienced centerback next to him. It gives him confidence and he plays a lot better when he is not the one leading the backline. Today, that confidence was gone. He had some dangerous plays and had a whiffed clearance that culminated in the first goal. The faster Campagnaro gets back the better. And Periera...wow. I have been trying to defend him, to give him extra chances to prove himself. "Jonathan started so bad and got better," I used to say, "maybe Periera will improve just give him some time." I don't know if I can honestly say that anymore. He contributed nothing really positive to the side during his 45 minutes on the pitch. And the penalty, ugh. That was totally unnecessary of him. First of all, Gervinho was the only Roma player around the box. When Periera made the challenge he was running inside towards the byline, but there was NOBODY to pass to. The nearest person was Totti at least 5 yards outside the box but he was walking. There was nothing Gervinho could have done. Now in his defense, he could argue that there was no way for him to know that. Okay, but that leads into the second problem. We still had Gervinho covered. Cambiasso had came back from his missed tackle and was right behind Gervinho. Also, Ranocchia was less than a yard in front of him tracking Gervinho's run. The slide tackle was pure stupidity. (Ok rant over...)
Overall, I would say everybody had a relatively crappy game. Guarin, JJ, Alvarez, and maybe Kovacic were decent, but that's about it. Roma was better than us in attack and defense. We had 18 shots, 3 on target while they had 9 shots, 5 on target. Watching the game and reading those stats tells me two things. First, their offense was clinical. They had a limited amount of opportunities, mostly on the counter, but made the most out of them. Their third goal was a perfect example of this. The other thing I got from that is that we had some offensive issues. Most of our shots were from outside the box, and they were off target. Of the 5 shots that we had in the box, 4 were blocked. The Roma defenders made life difficult for us. (Also, I don't know if anyone else noticed, but Alvarez was really obvious when he shot. I'll have to keep my eyes on that next match to see if that is usual for him).
This game could have ended a lot differently. Guarin had an rocket of a shot that hit the post after Totti opened the scoring. Rano had a goal ruled out. Icardi had a chance that he couldn't capitalize on. We had a lot of corners and free-kicks that we should have done a lot better on. But I don't think we deserved a win today. Mazzarri realized how badly we were playing and tried to make a few changes to motivate the players and maybe get a goal, but by the last substitution I think he was just rolling the dice and hoping for the best. He was not a happy man at the final whistle. We should have done better.
Team showed no significant strengths. I keep coming back to that. We weren't absolutely awful, but we were disappointing. Are we Scudetto challengers? I'm not sure. When the team is clicking, we are a force to be reckoned with. Days like today...they can't happen again. We started the season looking at CL places, and that's what I am going to keep my eyes on. I think we are better than this. I hope we are better than this. There are 31 more chances to find out.
Here is a link to some of Mazzari's Post-Match comments