Roma was coming off a midweek loss to Atalanta in which they performed well below their expectations. Roma looked to get back on the right track yesterday with three massive points away at leche. They were one of the three teams that were promoted to the top-flight of Italian football this season and has had a moderately good start. Roma and Lecce last played seven years ago. It was a match that almost felt like a must-win was all the teams fighting for Europe having picked up the three points this weekend. It was more evenly matched than I think anyone really projected at the start of the match. A win against bottom table teams has been something Roma has really struggled with over the last half-decade. This match was going to appear more difficult than suggested on paper. Lecce gave Roma a real challenge in the opening 45 minutes. They did really well coming forward and creating opportunities as well as playing great defensively against Roma who had the better team and the better player. Roma was finding it difficult to grab the momentum and confidence in the game. It would it take a little while for them to grow into the match. It was a very productive start of the game for Lecce. The Roman defense and Paul Lopez had to deal with some certain challenges in as they came at Roma rather than trying to defend for a point. It was a goalless first half that gave Roma a significant amount of trouble. In the second half, it was a completely different Roma team. Paulo Fonseca had his team ready and prepared as very shortly in the opening parts of the second half they showed their superiority and were gaining momentum as the match went on. Roma grabbed control as they were dominating the second half from the very start. They came out with more aggressiveness more fluidity with their passes and got themselves into good positions very frequently. It didn’t take very long for Roma to put their stamp on the game as Edin Dzeko scored for the fourth time in five games. It was an excellent display of communication and team chemistry as Justin kluivert took the ball in their danger area before laying it off to Miki who sent it inside to edin Dzeko who put his head through the cross into the back of the net to give Roma the 1-0 lead. Roma continued to put themselves in a position to increase their advantage. They were given a penalty with about 10 minutes ago but surprisingly Kolarov was denied from the spot as the Lecce goalkeeper made it fantastic save denying the Serbian. It was a tough final minute as Roma defensively played incredibly strong holding off a late charge from Lecce earning themselves a massive three points away from home. Roma struggled with games like these in the past after a performance of character and toughness it shows that Roma is building in the right direction.
Lorenzo Pellegrini Injury
It was a great result there’s no denying that but this match it came at a cost. I have said for a long time that Lorenzo Pellegrini is the most valuable player on Roma the team functions at a higher level when he is playing. Last season when he was injured Roma went into one of their worst stretches of the season. This team has struggled to operate without him in Midfield Roma have a much better team now but nonetheless, it still is problematic when he isn’t there. In the second half of yesterday’s game, Lorenzo Pellegrini had to leave with an injury in his toe. He is scheduled for surgery Tuesday morning as the Roma midfielder is going to do whatever it takes to get back as quickly as possible. The severity of the injury as of this point does not appear that he will be gone for the majority of the Season as it will just take a few weeks for him to heal. He will miss between 4 and 5 games. It could have been a lot worse given the circumstances however this is something that Roma is going to have to try to deal with. There are some pretty big games over the next few weeks and Roma needs to try to pick up as many points as they possibly can both in the Europa League and in the league. The absence of Pellegrini is going to make things rather difficult and only time will tell how the Midfield will about without him. This is a big loss as he was having a terrific season not everything is lost this team is capable of taking up big points but with this injury, it’s going to make things slightly more difficult the good news is it doesn’t seem to be severe and he will be back in about a month. It could have been a lot worse so Roma can breathe again
Roma Clean Sheet
There was a lot of positives and negatives to take from Roma’s recent Victory this weekend but something in particular stuck out to me. Roma’s problem this season has been defensive. This has been a problem the last two seasons and continues to be a concern. However this weekend Roma secured their first clean sheet of the Season against a Lecce side despite their qualities had opportunities to break in this game. The defense has issues but they certainly have been improved since the start of the Season. Roma offensively is going to score a ton of goals where they finish in the league this season will entirely depend on what they can do defensively. They can’t concede the number of goals they have at the volume they had over the last few seasons this has to be a much-improved area. We saw a perfect defensive display on Sunday Paul Lopez is an incredibly important player for this team and is a top-class goalkeeper however when Roma are struggling to defend there is very little he can do about it. On Sunday he had a great game and they protected the backline very well. The back four together as a unit played the game they needed to play to earn the three points. It was a performance out of necessity and desire. Collectively they performed exceptionally well. Chris Smalling was absolutely breathtaking one of the best defensive performances we have seen this season. He was almost perfect now it looks like a steal for Roma. The loan deal cost Roma next to nothing and it seems they’re getting a good return. I expect him to continue to get game time because the way he assesses the game this weekend he was special. He also has proven to be a factor on set-pieces this will also prove very valuable. Defensively Roma had a little bit more Rhythm than they had previously it’s not a perfect science and it still needs major improvements but besides that, we’re starting to see the development of consistency in that area. This is something that Roma is going to be a work-in-progress for the entire season but we saw some positive light. The progression they showed defensively give this team that encouragement.
Roma’s Second Half Adjustments
Over the last few games, it’s kind of has been a slow start to Roma. In a lot of situations, their offensive prowess doesn’t really ignite until the second half. Obviously, Roma has an attacking minded coach and team in the style and systems that he projects his team to gives Roma the opportunity to break almost on any occasion. Despite that for some reason, they have struggled at the beginning of games over the last few matches something that obviously means to improve however everything that happened in yesterday’s game comes down to the adjustments that Fonseca made within his team. He made four changes ahead of this game and at times it looks like it didn’t work but then somehow he ignited that in them as they started performing much better in the second half. It was slow momentum in the first half they had a few chances but nothing concrete or dangerous. I think it all comes down to what was said in the locker room. I don’t believe it’s a tactical thing I think it’s a mentality thing he ignited his philosophy in their game and in a second half they looked like a completely different team. In the first half, Roma struggled to get that momentum going and couldn’t really sustain control of the match. In the second half, they came out firing. Maybe not to the extent of a full-blown attack but they were the better team from the first kick. Roma comes out right away edin Dzeko scores the goal to give Roma the lead and they continue to attack and attack getting other opportunities as well. Roma could have scored several more goals and probably should have scored a chance at the very end of the game. Clinical finishing and decision-making still need a bit of work but overall the adjustments that were made to this team going into the second half won them the game. It was night and day in comparison adjustments is a reason they secured all three points on Sunday.
Lecce’s Productive Performance
Lecce is a team that was just promoted from Serie B last season, in fact, they’re coming off back-to-back promotions. In fairness, they have done a pretty good job since the start of the season. I think most people think this team is going to be relegated and so far they prove people wrong. It is early in the season but none the less you have to admire some of the ways they battled and got some big points in crucial situations. I’ve also lost a lot of big games as well but in a relegation battle, it seemed like this it’s about the points you do get and getting some of those points against some of the other teams they’re going to be competing against for safety that was crucially important. The perception was by most people that Roma was going to run through this team and take them to the cleaners. With the attacking football that Roma does play that seems very plausible. That was the polar opposite of how the game went let they showed some promise and hade some opportunities to score some goals. Not only that they limited a very lethal and mouthwatering attack with the style of football that Roma plays they have the possibility and the capabilities to break whenever they want. With speed and athleticism in their team, it makes it really difficult to defend they ended up losing a narrow 1-0 victory. It wasn’t until the second half that Roma made those adjustments that changed the game. Unfortunately, Lecce doesn’t have the player or Personnel to make those changes in those situations. They are at a disadvantage in that respect. You have to give him some credit because they made one of the best attacking teams in Italy struggle. Roma eventually got their attack going and won the game but this is a match that Lecce can learn something. They didn’t get the points but the way they play will give them some momentum when they face challenges like this again I was blown away by their performance even though they lost they showed true character and ability. I’m not sure this team gets relegated this season they have enough quality in the squad to score enough goals to keep them there and defensively I think they did well enough it’s early in the season but based on what I saw yesterday it certainly appears that this team is making progress.
Defensive Encouragement from Lecce
To starve off relegation and stay alive in Italian football there were a few components that are necessary for accomplishing that. It capable goal scorer who can get you at least 15 goals and a defense capable of maintaining points against some big teams. Lecce highlighted at least one of those things yesterday with the way they played. Defensively they did a really good job trying to maintain their backline and make things as difficult as they possibly could on Roma. They didn’t park the bus they played in an attacking approach but they didn’t fall apart when Roma broke. Roma had some really good opportunities in the back half of the first half and the entire second half when the Romans came forward the defense of stayed there shaped didn’t collapse and stayed firm. There weren’t any issues with the way they played defense yesterday and that is really important. They couldn’t get the goal and win the game but they caused Roma to struggle to a certain respect. A lot of relegation teams in situations like this are afraid to break and if they’re broken on their defense collapses Lecce’s responsibility and importance on the defense was blatantly clear in that game yesterday. Their backline was the most impressive thing about their performance. Roma has some really great players in their team and even though they eventually broke through in the second half with the adjustments they made it still was a pretty solid performance. Roma is a team capable of scoring multiple goals a game they just got the one goal. Roma could have added several more on top of that but the defense did such a good job of eliminating some potential goal opportunities. They even saved a penalty which shows the character of this team defensively. It was an immensely strong defensive performance.