Despite a less-than-stellar recent run of form for AS Roma, this is not a sign of things to come in the Italian capital. The Rome-based club had hit their stride right out of the gates in the 2013-14 season, winning a perfect 10 out of their first 10 games.
This great start was slightly marred by two-consecutive draws to opponents currently at the bottom-half of the league, Torino FC and US Sassuolo, respectively. While they lacked their usual defensive competency in these last two matches, Roma still have the best chance of finishing atop the table this season, and here is why.
Roma have been fantastic in attack this season. Currently, they are tied for second in goals scored with 26, while 10 of those have come from set pieces; the highest amount for any club so far in Italy. Their 17 assists are only bested by Inter Milan with 18. Roma’s total passing accuracy is tied for second best at 85 percent, while the 54 percent possession they boast is good enough to see them tied for third place. The accuracy with which Roma can move the ball up field is only overshadowed by the deftness that they possess to finish the move with a chance on goal. While Roma’s offense has been impressive this season, it is not what has made them such a force to be reckoned with.
Roma have been a defensive revolution in the Serie A this year. They win the ball with regularity and maintain league bests in take-ons and duels won, with 58 percent and 57 percent, respectively. Roma does all this while committing the fourth lowest amount of fouls in the league, amounting to 35 cards in total. The Roman side ranks fifth highest in both interceptions and blocked passes, while having a very low amount of clearances. This might seem negative, but it is truly a testament to their ability to close down opponents and force mistakes. Last but not least, the two most impressive statistics this Roma side boasts is that they have only conceded three goals in 12 games, and best of all, that of only five defensive errors, none have led to goals. This is quite remarkable as the Serie A is home to many top-quality attackers, including former Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.
The best way for this side to improve is in their tackling, as it is only 67 percent successful; six teams have above 70 percent. Other than that, maintaining consistency is key for a successful title run.
Roma will continue to miss their captain Francesco Totti due to a hamstring injury, possibly until their home match against ACF Fiorentina in early December.
The last two games were merely a hiccup in Roma’s near-impeccable start to the season. Roma dominates the league in many areas including the most important indicator of all, the table, and there is no indication anything will change. Their schedule hasn’t been easy, as Roma have already beat third-place SSC Napoli 2-0 and fourth-place Inter 3-0. Other than their captain, there are no serious injury concerns and they even turned the impotent Gervinho back into a footballer. All signs point north for Roma and i lupi will look to bounce back against Cagliari at home on Nov. 25.