Roma vs Udinesse Talking Points #1930

Eliot Ben-Ner
7 min readNov 29, 2023

Roma From 18th to 5th

Roma had an incredibly difficult start to the season. It was historically bad. Roma hadn’t started the season this poorly since 1996 with just one point from the opening three games. Those three matches were against Salernitana, Verona and Milan. Outside of Milan, the other two teams Roma should have beaten handedly but ended up with a nightmare of a start. Eventually, Roma started to slowly pick up some points. Primarily after Lukaku arrived. However, some brutal performances would follow. The loss to Genoa was humiliating. As Roma continue to display bad form. A few things changed since the match at Genoa that regalvanized the season. Bove after getting very few minutes was brought into this starting lineup almost permanently. This was one of the things Mourinho was being criticized for as Bove is a rising star and one of the club’s most important assets. Jose’s future was being discussed in the media despite the additions, things were going poorly. However Roma flip to switch. In addition to Bove, Evan Ndicka became a regular in defence with Chris Smalling’s heath concerns and Sardar Azmoun Finally being used as an asset off the bench. Different types of adjustments were made and it worked. Since that match, Roma have only lost once, at least in the league. It did take a miraculous comeback against leche and a stoppage time winner against Monza. However, since that moment Roma have been on a tear. The Inter Milan performance can be excused considering they are the best team in the league with the best player. Nevertheless, other than that they’ve been really sharp. Sunday night they were even more impressive. Probably the best display we’ve seen this season. The injuries have held Roma back at some points. However, they’re slowly returning to the team which will give Roma more confidence on this run other currently on. Roma found themselves in 18th place at the start. They are now in fifth within reaching distance of fourth. If somehow Roma can pull this off and qualify for the champions league. It very well could be Jose Mourinho departing masterpiece.

Dybala back to his best

Dybala has been for a long time has been One of the best playmakers in Italian football. He was the biggest acquisition Roma have had since the 2000s when he arrived last season as a free agent. An individual that has won nearly everything. He was critical to so many of those Juventus sides that dominated Italian football for so long. Last season he carried Roma to the Europa League final and had them on the verge of Champions League before injuries occurred. 18 goals 11 Assists in all competitions last season. He’s the one Roma could always rely on to make the difference. Roma got off to a slow start as I mentioned before, a very difficult beginning to the season. Dybala wasn’t the sharpest in the early portion of the season. He then suffered injuries as Roma had to rely on others to pick up the slack. Fortunately they were able to do so. Lukaku’s goal scoring touch in front of goal has helped them. Dybala return from injury in the derby had some flashes but hadn’t quite exploded as of yet. He had that terrific performance earlier in the season vs Empoli. Then he had to miss some time. On Sunday night he showed to everyone that he is back to his best. He was incredibly influential on the results. Obviously with the winning goal. He also supplied the free kick that Mancini got his head on the end of. A goal in an assist showed massive play making abilities as he took everyone on. Often won free kicks all over the pitch as he was utterly a nuisance for Udinesse as they couldn’t bring him down. It was one of Roma’s best performances of the season individually. He was very much a part of that. With him back fully healthy along with Lorenzo Pellegrini back from injury in addition Roma find themselves in a very impressive position as they see themselves climbing the table. All the way up to 5th right now. Roma still has a few absentees that need to return to health. Most notably, Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham. Roma don’t seem to be that far off of the likes of Milan and Napoli. Getting into the Champions League from the position they started would be truly sensational. Although others have played a role in that. Dybala was a match winner Sunday. It was very difficult for anyone to stop him from doing what he wanted. Not to mention combination and chemistry. He is built with Lukaku has been in match made in heaven. The reason being Lukaku is a goal scorer that is what he is. That is what he does. Outside of that he doesn’t necessarily bring a lot of value to the runs and the playmaking department. Although on occasion he can contribute in that department. Dybala being back takes the pressure off of Lukaku slightly as Dybala can simplify things for everyone. It’s not just the relationship he’s built with Lukaku but the other attackers that come off the bench such as El Shaarawy and Sardar Azmoun who both contributed to the goals Sunday. Roma have their crowning jewel back and in good form. Ready to show Roma is a side, but all of a sudden appears to be much more dangerous than previously anticipated.

Never in Doubt

Even though It took Roma until the very end of the match to take maximum points. It’s still was probably the best performance we had seen from Roma this season. Especially in the second half with the two late goals scored. The ball movement on both goals reminded us of total football. Dybala’s winner went through five or six Roma players before ending up on the end of his left foot into the back of the net. Unfortunately, the opposition got back into it with a beautiful goal. However. Roma continued to soak up the pressure and got there in the end. Typically speaking a game that forces Roma to score late to take maximum points would not be described as an elite performance. However, Sunday night certainly was. It was never truly in doubt. At some point it was going to happen. Outside of the one goal they conceded, the defense wasn’t under pressure and really Patricio rarely needed to react to it. They were running circles around them. Dominated possession dominated the run to play. Moved the ball through the midfield to the attack very effectively. It was a really compound and effective performance on all levels. Although there’s no question that bove should have started the match, there’s very little negativity to take from the performance. It was as close to perfect as one can get. We have not seen Roma play this way very often this season. However, over the last 2 months while they climb the table, we’ve seen some strong displays. But Sunday night was perhaps the best we’ve seen from them. Roma also recently have shown to have quality depth off the bench that can come forth and change the outcome. El Shaarawy & Sardar Azmoun came off the bench in the victory against Monza and were the reason that Roma managed to win in the final minutes. That was perhaps a while ago, but ever since then they’ve been getting more and more opportunities to make an impact and that’s exactly what they did last night. With El Shaarawy scoring another great goal with everyone involved. Across the top from the fence into Lukaku bove and then El Shaarawy Roma was moving the ball so well and so intelligently in the second half and just looks like a force to be reckoned with. Roma will have some difficult obstacles in the coming weeks of course, but based on their performance on Sunday, it should have a incredibly encouraging outlook on Roma. Continued aim to climb the table. Napoli have not been that impressive this season. They said only three points in front of Roma. If Roma can continue this run and get points on a regular basis, they could find them themselves in a Champions League picture that they probably have no business being in considering how poorly they started the season. Everything seems to be clicking at the moment as they are on quite a impressive run. That will only do wonderful things for Roma going forward. Especially when the likes of Tammy Abraham return. Who could be an even bigger asset to the attack that already has Lukaku and Dybala. We also saw the return of Pellegrini on Sunday night as he did well in his not to mention the toughness shown by Mancini and It was the perfect performance coming out of international break and now Roma have all the resources and capabilities to keep pushing it forward.

--

--