Are you not entertained? From the very start, the Rome derby thrilled. Here’s what we learned from a truly swashbuckling spectacle.
In many ways, the Rome derby is the modern day equivalent of a gladiator fight at the Colosseum. Fans from both sides want blood; they demand a level of passion and commitment from the players that is superhuman. They want their players to grind and fight, but above all they want a victory.
Unfortunately, both sides can’t leave with a win, and Roma came away victors on Saturday. Here are three key takeaways from the match.
Pellegrini is a real talent
For regular viewers of Serie A, the name Lorenzo Pellegrini will probably be quite familiar, but few Roma fans would have expected what they got from him today.
Pellegrini came in for Javier Pastore midway through the first half, after Pastore walked off injured, and boy did he have an impact.
It’s a bit of a cliche to say one player really changed the momentum of the game, but from his ingenious finish to give Roma the lead, to his ability to drive his team up the field whenever he got the chance, Pellegrini won the hearts of every Roma fan with his performance.
For Eusebio Di Francesco, Pellegrini’s performance will pose a really good sort of headache. Roma made some good signings over the summer and have real strength in depth, but after losing key figures in midfield, Di Francesco will have wanted new leaders to step forth.
Pellegrini has done just that with his performance today and will be a real player over the next few years.
Lazio should take heart from this performance
While the result was disappointing, Simone Inzaghi will take heart from what he saw on the pitch from his side.
Lazio have started the season well, and will continue to approach matches on the front foot. The open, end-to-end match led to a disappointing defeat, but Lazio’s setup, and the manner in which they pulled off his instructions will have pleased Inzaghi.
Lazio are a counter-punching side, and this style may not always win big games, but their commitment to their identity and style of play is something many mid-table teams in the Premier League can learn from. Lazio pushed for a Champions League spot last year, and just about failed to make it there.
This year is all about rebuilding the momentum that saw them play free-flowing, goalscoring soccer. While the result may not have gone their way, Lazio should and will take many positives from the match.
Roma finally building important momentum
Di Francesco was under a lot of pressure after Roma’s poor start. That was probably unfair given he helped his side to the Champions League semifinals last year, and had Roma playing some scintillating soccer.
But many Roma fans felt that too many changes were happening too soon after losing key figures like Radja Nainggolan, Kevin Strootman and Allison, the impact of which was being seen on the pitch. Despite looking good going forward, Roma have been terrible defensively, which has led to some dreadful performances in big games.
But Roma have won two games on the spin now with almost two entirely different lineups. With players like Justin Kluivert still waiting on the sidelines, there are many things Roma fans can look forward to over the next few months.
For Di Francesco, however, it’s this very important moment that he’ll be reveling in.