Roma Ratings: Spinazzola the standout in Verona draw

The new season began in difficult circumstances for Roma on Saturday night, as they were held to a 0-0 draw away at Verona.

Having to play without a striker – as Edin Dzeko stayed on the bench, so as not to put his transfer to Juventus at risk – Roma struggled to find a breakthrough, although there were some promising moments in the first half.

Verona had their fair share of big chances, though, meaning a draw was the fair result.

But which players impressed, and who left something to be desired? Here’s how Giallorossi Yorkshire rated the players.

  

Antonio Mirante – 6

The biggest selection dilemma for Paulo Fonseca before the game was who to select in goal. Pau Lopez has not lived up to expectations since his big money move last summer, but Mirante has only just returned to training after recovering from Covid-19.

It was a wise choice to opt for Mirante, who gives more confidence to his defence. And while the Lopez situation is a problem that needs addressing, his deputy did well when filling in.

Apart from a few poor passes out of the box, Mirante was comfortable. The veteran keeper made a few decent saves and deserved his clean sheet.

Gianluca Mancini – 7

The better member of Roma’s back three, although none of them had their best games, Mancini was confident in his individual battles.

The Italian centre-back showed his usual bravery and commitment, and read the play relatively well.

However, Verona did get plenty of chances, meaning there is work to do for the defensive unit as a whole.

Bryan Cristante – 6

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Slotting into the middle of defence due to a lack of other options, it took Cristante some time to get up to speed. He struggled in his early duels.

However, he grew into the game, playing some decent passes out from the back and eventually becoming more solid defensively.

The Italian ended the game with the captain’s armband on, which, although a positive moment for him personally, is a sign that Roma need more leaders.

Roger Ibanez – 6

A player whose gametime is expected to increase in his first full season at the club, Ibanez continued in a similar vein to how he played after his club debut after the lockdown.

The Brazilian defender played on the left of the back three, and although he made a couple of poorly timed challenges, they were nothing too serious.

Overall, he defended well, showing his usual strength and decent ability on the ball. Like all those around him, though, this won’t be the performance he is remembered for.

Rick Karsdorp – 6

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After being given a vote of confidence by Fonseca in the run up to the game, Karsdorp came in at right wing-back for his first Roma appearance since May 2019.

The Dutchman looked a little bit rusty physically, but that’s perfectly normal. In possession, he didn’t make too many mistakes, and looked to get forward on plenty of occasions.

He couldn’t last the full game, but it was important for him to get that gametime under his belt.

Amadou Diawara – 5

Diawara was one of the players who most struggled to get back up to speed after lockdown last season, and the same happened again in his first game of the new season.

The Guinean midfielder couldn’t quite find his usual rhythm, perhaps best summed up by his wayward shot early on.

Diawara remains a very good player when he gets into his stride, though, so will be looking to build on from this towards better things.

Jordan Veretout – 7

Roma’s driving force in midfield, Veretout picked up from where he left off, making plenty of surging runs forward as has become the norm for him.

The Frenchman appeared quicker across the ground than he has before, both with the ball and without it when covering the space defensively.

He also stepped up to take a free kick in the post-Kolarov era, although his effort wasn’t as strong as he is capable of – but in open play, he was promising.

Leonardo Spinazzola – 7

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Roma’s best player on the night. Leonardo Spinazzola was a joy to watch at times, as he looked to cause havoc from the left flank.

Cutting inside with mazy dribbles at several opportunities, he also had a couple of shots – and came closer to scoring than anyone else with a sweetly struck volley that hit the bar.

Spinazzola showed early signs that he can thrive as the main left wing-back this season.

Lorenzo Pellegrini – 6

The man wearing the captain’s armband in Dzeko’s absence, and the one who will inherit it permanently when the Bosnian leaves, Pellegrini brought some energy to the pitch.

He enjoyed some good link-up play in the final third, and had Roma’s closest shot on target when his curling effort was parried away.

However, he was withdrawn later on as a challenging night came towards a close.

Pedro – 7

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Making his debut for the club, Pedro was eager to make an impression. He started the game in lively fashion, looking to get on the ball and buzzing around the pitch.

As the game wore on, his impact faded slightly, and at times it seemed he was trying a bit too hard.

However, it was a promising first performance in a Roma shirt for the Spaniard.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 5

Mkhitaryan was one of Roma’s best sources of goals last season, but it was a tough night for him up front.

The Armenian has played as a false nine in pre-season, but this was a different challenge, and although there were some good moments of link-up play, it wasn’t a night to remember.

His work rate could not be questioned, though.

Subs:

Davide Santon – By the time Santon came on, most of Roma’s attacks were coming down the opposite flank to his.

Justin Kluivert – Having only just returned to training this week, Kluivert was keen to get involved in his brief cameo, showing some positive runs.

Gonzalo Villar – Perhaps the one player Fonseca could have brought on earlier to try and change the game.

Coach:

Paulo Fonseca – His options were limited, so Fonseca did not have much to work with. However, as mentioned above, he could have introduced Villar earlier. Other than that, there was not much more to do; but he will be disappointed to not get off to a winning start in front of the new owners.

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