Serie A has started for giallorossi on Sunday when they meet away Torino winning 1-0 gratefull to Edin Dzeko effort on 89 minute of the game thanks to a shot with his left foot.
After a hot summer, mercato was closed with the departure of Allison and Naingollan but with hot prospect Justin Kluivert, playmaker Javier Pastore, Cristanto, Gk Olsen and World Cup winner N’Zonzi in the team. It looked like Roma is not strong as last year squad when they reached Champions League semi-final as chemistry.
Roma hybrid 4-1-2-3
As you can see in the photo,Di Francesco started with new signind Goalkeeper, pretty solid wiht the foot but with little problems in handling, on the flanks with two attacking fullbacks ready to create superiority under possesion play, Manolas and Fazio two strong CB, with medium speed, but complementary CB in my opinion, one is hardworking one is intelligent and good sense of anticipation and positioning. In midfield De Rossi as anchor man, too slow and less techical ability, one box-to-box midfielder in Strootman, the tireless dutch helping both in defence and attack and a advanced playmaker in Pastore with zero defensive ability, only dropping to cover his zone. In attack mixing Under speed with dribbling and finishing of El Shaarawy. Dzeko, target man(zone 14), a poacher who can finish from difficult positions and also very experienced and a good strenght, heading etc.
All in all, a very complex system build by Di Francesco, with different patterns of play especially offensive on short build up being a 2-3-2-3 on incision phase.
After on Zone 2 and Zone 3 becoming a 3-1-4-2 and respectively a 3-2-3-2. As you see from numbers, the shape changes, the balance defensively is assured by dropping of De Rossi and the fluidity and superiority offensive is assured by fullbacks runs and halway space movement of El Shaarawy and deep sprints/diagonal running of Under and Kluivert second half(see the assist).
Offensive – combining experience with speed of attackers. The mentality of the team is normal, but they have a full focus on positive football, creating triangles, having fluidity in passing and organization. The most important patterns seems to be fullbacks work and target man role Dzeko. Also almost all the ball search Pastore who should be Roma no 10 in a no 8 position.
Defensive, they look like two blocks of 5, combining a high pressing with a medium block, looking strong and fast on the right side. The pressure they do is in a hybrid 4-3-3 system, medium block, Dzeko staying near anchor man of opponent (no 6), conceding space to opponent and trying to build strong density central and being a narrow team – compact team horizontal and vertical. Also, blocking short build-up of Mazzari in a 4-1-2-3 with 3 attackers positioned ultra ofenssive, man marking no3, no5 and no 6 of Torino.
Transition is a key in italian football. Roma didnt show a fast positive transition and making some individual errors on negative transition giving Toro opportunity to go fast(see Rincon shot).
Modern football and big defensive density force coaches to put players in unfamiliar position to create chaos
Minute 60, still 0-0, Di Franesco puts out El Shaarawy and bring in Cristane(classical playmaker in – winger out). With two classical playmakers, one anchor man and one box to box player in a 3 midfield. He moves wide Pastore in a “false winger” position asking to him to enter a lot in a central position to receive acting like a halfway space playmaker or a target man winger, keeping Dzeko much more close to Torino box. The movement didn’t create something special and in the 75 minute he drops out Pastore for Schick, a dynamic forward on his opposite foot playing an inside forward role. Same position – two different type of players. The complexity of football again is expressed by a cultured italian tactician.
As a conclusion is still early to predict the impact will have new signings and how far this team will go in Champions, but the departure of Nainngolan is gives me the signal that in the locker room the boss is Di Francesco and this is all that matters in modern football. Maybe much more improtant than tactics and numbers.