Roma – Match Report vs Juventus 27/09/20

In the Stadio Olimpico, Roma and Juventus played out a close 2-2 draw in front of a small crowd of returning fans. Roma deployed their usual 3-4-3 while Juventus used a 4-4-2 without the ball but switched to a 3-5-2 once in possession. Here, Danilo tucked into a right centre back position whereas Cuadrado pushed further up down the left wing. For much of the first half the game was a cagey affair with Juventus enjoying most of the ball. Things livened up once Roma began to find more space on the counter and they took the lead with a well taken Veretout penalty.

Roma utilised a narrow defensive shape and held Juventus off well. Despite this, the Old Lady found an equaliser through a Ronaldo penalty, somewhat harshly awarded against Pellegrini for hanball. Roma continued to be patient, looking to catch Juventus on the counter and did so minutes before half time to retake the lead. A Rabiot red card forced Juventus to switch to a 4-4-1 and swung the game further in Roma’s favour. However, Roma failed to kill the game, allowing Ronaldo to head Juventus level before the game petered out in a series of fouls as Pirlo’s men seemed content with a draw.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Roger Ibanez

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 23/11/1998
  • Current Club: Roma (L)
  • Career: PRS, Sergipe (L), Fluminense, Atalanta, Roma (L)
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Ibanez operated as the central centre back in Roma’s back three today. Defensively, he faced a fairly daunting task against the legendary Ronaldo and a well traveled Morata. However, Ibanez rose to the challenge and was the best performer in Roma’s backline. Playing as the middle centre back he showed good awareness of when to press up and be aggressive and when to drop back to cover his teammates. When pushing up, he was strong and generally got the better of Morata, who he kept quiet all game. He timed these tackles well, managing to disposes the opponents from behind with minimal fuss. In all, he completed the most tackles with three.

Although not being an excessively tall centre back at 6’2 he is a strong player who uses his physical advantages to good effect. In duels, he was able to out-muscle attackers and use his body to shepherd them away from the ball. Aerially, there was little to note today as Juventus rarely played direct to the strikers. Furthermore, he is a very mobile defender who posses great pace. He kept pace with both Douglas Costa and Ronaldo, standing them up well and forcing them backwards. Also, on the rare occasion Morata managed to spin off Ibanez, his pace allowed him to recover to prevent Morata from having clear a 1v1.

On the ball, Ibanez displayed both skill and confidence. He made the second most passes for Roma with a good accuracy of 90% with some of his passes being struck with an excellent low drilled technique. He generally received ball as the deepest player and sprayed his passes out wide, while also providing a safe option for his fellow centre backs if required. Generally, his passes were forward and progressive, either into the wide areas or into the midfield.

He demonstrated some good drives forward throughout the game and pushed up as Roma sought to take advantage of the extra man. He looked both comfortable and effective in these areas and produced the best performance of the back three today.

Rating – A2

Ibanez’s whoscored.com touchmap demonstrates how advanced he was, at times, and shows how he pushed up but also covered well for his side.

Marash Kumbulla

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Albanian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: 08/02/2000
  • Current Club: Roma, on a loan-to-buy deal
  • Career: Hellas Verona, Roma
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Summer signing Marash Kumbulla made his full Roma debut, starting as the left centre back in Roma’s back three. Defensively, he was sound against Juventus’ star studded lineup. He positioned himself well in the left channel in order to cut out any big switches by Juventus, while he did consistently well to clear any crosses from the left. Aerially, he had little to do today as Juventus looked to play their way through Roma.

Being 6’3 he is a fairly imposing defender but could do with filling out a little if he really wants to dominate physically. He is strong, but at times was overly aggressive in duels. As a result, he gave away needless fouls due to excessive use of his arms or poorly timed reckless challenges. Although not as quick as Ibanez, Kumbulla does have decent pace which was on show when Ronaldo and co ran at him. He managed to keep pace while also successfully jockeying his man. He maintained a good body position and strong focus on the ball to force them backwards or onto their weaker side.

On the ball he was average today with his passes being hit with good technique and found their target 87% of the time. However, none of his passes were particularly adventurous and he tended to keep them short and simple. Moreover, he is heavily reliant on his right foot and so being on the left side limited his effectiveness in possession.

Generally, he looked to pass inside to a midfielder or down the line. But, as he was committed to using his right foot, these passes down the line either went out of play or left the receiver in a tough position on the touchline. This issue is partly a positional and not an individual one but it does highlight Kumbulla’s reliance on his right and how less comfortable on the left he is. Overall, Kumbulla had a solid game, he is not the finished article yet but at only 20 has plenty of time improve and iron out any issues.

Rating – B1

Lorenzo Pellegrini

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Italian
  • Age: 24
  • Date of Birth: 19/06/1996
  • Current Club: Roma
  • Career: Roma, Sassuolo, Roma
  • Position: Centre Midfielde
  • Secondary Positions: Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Pellegrini featured for 70 minutes today, playing in central midfield alongside Veretout. He was busy throughout, working hard for his side but did not have a great deal of impact on the overall game. On the ball he has tight control and showed some neat touches. He takes the ball well on the turn so was able to change the direction of play, while his confidence on both feet makes him more versatile. He compliments his neat touch with sound dribbling where he maintains a good upright body position, which allows him to stay in control of the ball. Pellegrini is also an asset as a set piece taker, which he demonstrated with a couple of dangerous whipped corners.

He has decent pace and so got around the pitch well for Roma. At times he was picking the ball up from the centre backs. Whereas in other moments he was making runs into the box, although he never got the ball here. His passes had good technique but there were no real exceptional or risky passes. He preferred to keep it short and safe retaining possession for his side. This was effective and useful against a top side in Juventus but it would have been good to see him really test his passing ability with some more threatening balls. Although, he was likely given a more conservative role today in order to facilitate the creative talents of Mkhitaryan and Pedro. It would be interesting to see if Pellegrini could play effectively in a more advance role, should one of the aforementioned be absent.

Physically, he is a tall player at 6’1 but, with a fairly slight build, is not the strongest. Aerially, his height gives him an advantage but his ability in the air was never really tested today. It would be unfair to say he is afraid of a tackle but he is inconsistent in duels. Sometimes he was too soft in the challenge and lacked the necessary conviction in order to win possession. Consequently, he is not someone you could rely on to win the ball in midfield and instead is more comfortable with the ball at his feet. In his 70 minutes he worked hard for Roma and put in steady performance against Italy’s top side.

Rating – B1

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