Learning from Roma's first loss of the season

Posted by Julian De Martinis

Roma's first loss of the season can be a humbling learning experience, a chance for Rudi Garcia and his team to regroup and figure out what went wrong and to regain some of the fire that maybe has been missing in recent weeks. It can be many things, because a result like the 3-0 defeat to Juventus is so noteworthy that it deserves some reflection and should demand a response from the club on the pitch.

It does not have to be merely the end of the unbeaten run; it could be the beginning of a new stretch for Roma, a chance to reassert themselves. Things could all go pear-shaped, too, of course, but that sounds more like old Roma than this mentally strong side that Garcia has built.

Three reflections on a 3-0 loss

1. Daniele De Rossi's red negated a quietly decent game. As a defensive midfielder who shields the back four and drops in with the centre-backs as needed -- and not just any defensive midfielder, but one who can be incredibly effective when at the top of his game -- De Rossi will often earn some of the blame when the side lose. On Sunday, he earned that and much scorn for a terrible tackle on Giorgio Chiellini, for which he got sent off after the side were already down by two goals. Yet De Rossi was having a very good game in the middle of the park, completing both clearances he attempted inside the box and winning two out of three headed duels (losing the one he attempted on Fernando Llorente, who is 10 centimetres taller than he). He even managed to unsuccessfully get involved in the box twice, shooting off target and sending in a cross that no one could meet (Squawka). He completed 97 percent of the 72 passes he attempted and has now completed more passes than any other player in Serie A this season; it will surprise few to learn that the two that went astray were long balls sent toward the box.

2. No goals, but not for lack of effort. The player who took the most shots during the game? The injured Miralem Pjanic, with four. Adem Ljajic was tied for second with at least three Juventus players with his two attempts as well, and Roma had just one shot fewer on target than Juventus did during the 90 minutes (WhoScored). The difference between the two is where the shots were placed: All three of Juventus' goals came from shots that ended up in a corner of the net. Of Roma's four shots, one was right down the middle, and the other three were slightly skewed to one side, but still all too easy for Gianluigi Buffon to reach.

3. Juventus executed their plan perfectly. While it was odd to see Antonio Conte's men happy to concede so much space against Roma, they defended deep and compact, looking to cause harm on the counter. They took the lead through such a quick break before making the most of two set pieces after catching Roma scrambling back to defend. The headline of both Gazzetta dello Sport and Tuttosport on Monday morning read: "Too strong," with pictures of Juventus celebrating after scoring. Despite the good effort put in by Roma, Walter Sabatini concurred with the newspapers. "In the first half we played with great personality," he said after the match. "Then we conceded and we weren't attentive. Juventus are the strongest team in Italy. We needed to be more cunning."a


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