Daniele De Rossi the best of Roma's bunch with 6/10 showing in loss at Bologna
Roma continued their plunge into crisis after slumping to an embarrassing 2-0 defeat at Bologna, a team who came into the weekend having not scored once in their opening four Serie A matches. Federico Mattiello and Federico Santander twisted the knife into coach Eusebio Di Francesco, who is under increasing pressure after a four-match run without a win in all competitions that has seen the Giallorossi concede nine goals against modest opposition.
Di Francesco's side have the air of a side at the end of a run. Bologna looked threatening every time they attacked, while Roma lack imagination going forward and are so leaky when the opposition get the ball that they look fragile whenever they commit players forward. It's a shocking state of affairs for a team just five games into the new season, but Di Francesco will be in serious risk of losing his job if displays don't improve.
As soon as Mattiello whipped home his fine opener in the 36th minute, Roma never looked likely to bag the three points. Before then, the best chances the away side had created from open play both fell to a wasteful Justin Kluivert -- given his first Roma start on the wing -- who saw one volley well saved by an alert Lukasz Skorupski before being charged down by the Bologna stopper as he bore down on goal. Federico Fazio provided more goal threat than anaemic Edin Dzeko, three times forcing saves from Skorupski with headers that were however aimed straight at the Pole.
The best opportunity of all fell to Lorenzo Pellegrini, who had another mediocre day at the office and compounded his own poor start to the season by smashing over with an open goal at his mercy just before half-time. That was Roma's last proper opportunity before Santander closed matters on the hour mark with a neat finish at the end of a rapid counter-attack, and while they kept pushing afterwards, they wore the heavy air of a team that knows the game is up.
Kluivert showed flashes of inspiration before vanishing along with the rest of his team, and Roma continue to threaten from set pieces. That's it.
Once again Roma were sluggish in attack and susceptible to quick counters. Bologna needed just two passes to cut through their opponents for their second goal, while the overall impression is of a team out of ideas and lacking the big personalities to drag them through a drop in form.
3 -- What is his game plan, and how does he explain it to the team in the week? The 4-3-3 formation that he has persisted with since day one is just not working. Midfield and attack do not link up, Dzeko lollops around wondering when the ball might get to him and crucially the defence -- so often the strong point last season -- is all at sea. The like-for-like changes he made after Santander doubled the hosts' lead made no difference. The result is that fans are now calling for his head.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Robin Olsen, 5 -- Came flapping out fruitlessly ahead of the opener, and got weak wrists to the winner.
DF Alessandro Florenzi, 5 -- Not exactly his worst day at the office, but if he doesn't provide attacking threat he is pointless.
DF Kostas Manolas, 6 -- Not at fault for either goal. Must be wondering what on earth is happening around him.
DF Federico Fazio, 5 -- Unlucky not to score at least once, but seemed agitated all game and was subbed to avoid him being sent off.
DF Ivan Marcano, 4 -- Bettered first by Mattiello, then by Orji Okwonkwo. Not good at all.
MF Lorenzo Pellegrini, 5 -- Missed an open goal with the match still in the balance, and did little else of note.
MF Daniele De Rossi, 6 -- Played Kluivert's two chances with fine long passes, but in general dawdled on the ball for too long.
MF Bryan Cristante, 4 -- Lucky not to be sent off for two very similar tactical fouls, the first of which he was booked for.
FW Justin Kluivert, 5 -- Wasted two good opportunities to score in the first half, then disappeared down a wormhole created by his own dribbles.
FW Edin Dzeko, 4 -- Completely disconnected from play, and not involved in the few good attacking moves Roma did manage to build.
FW Diego Perotti, 4 -- Had one decent shot saved, but apart from that offered little.
MF Javier Pastore, 4 -- Was he even out on the pitch?
FW Cengiz Under, 5 -- Did nothing to swing the match in his side's favour after replacing Kluivert.
DF Aleksandar Kolarov, 5 -- An improvement on Marcano but that isn't saying much.