Yeah, this one hurt. Getting knocked off the top of the table at home while apparently dominating the match is not the best way to go, but at least Paulo Sousa can tell himself that his game plan worked and it was just the finishing that let Fiorentina down against AS Roma. Let's see if the stats bear that theory out. The numbers, as always, are from WhoScored.
|Possession||Passes (short/long)||Passing success||Crosses/attempted||Dribbles/attempted||Shots (on target)||Shots inside/outside area||Tackles/attempted||Interceptions||Aerial duels won attempted||Fouls||Yellow/red cards||Corners||Offsides|
|Fiorentina||71%||685 (593/66)||88%||3/24||12/28||21 (4)||6/15||15/21||19||9/22||9||2/0||8||5|
|Roma||29%||281 (206/65)||65%||2/10||6/19||6 (4)||3/3||24/36||22||13/22||17||6/1||1||0|
|Short passes/attempted||Long passes/attempted||Crosses/attempted||Dribbles/attempted||Shots (on target)||Shots inside/outside area||Touches||Possession lost||Tackles/attempted||Interceptions||Successful aerial battles||Fouls committed/suffered||Yellow/red cards||Offsides||Saves||Goals||Assists||Minutes|
Paulo Sousa will be frustrated with this one. Fiorentina seemed surprised when Roma came out and pressed as hard as they did in the opening minutes, repeatedly coughing up the ball in compromising places. The team's failure to get back following a corner could also be chalked up to his account. Otherwise, though, the team was fairly good. Sousa probably has good reason to be upset with the officiating in this one, but Roma only had three chances, compared to at least twice as many for Fiorentina. Hard to blame the coach when the in-form striker suddenly can't finish to save his life. In Sousa's defense, even with all the attacking substitutions he made, his team kept complete control of the game, and the players fought for a goal until the very end.
Quick thoughts: When the center backs fire that many long passes, long shots, and long crosses, the rest of the attack clearly isn't functioning well. The best way to take Borja Valero out of a game is to play very physically against him early and hope the ref lets it go; Borja gets frustrated and off his rhythm, which slows down the rest of the team. Josip Iličić spent too much time too far away from the box; while his game is based around shooting from distance, his desire to drop back and help the buildup play didn't help against a team already bunkered back and left Nikola Kalinic isolated up top. This is the first game in which Kalinic took a shot from outside the area, which ends one of my favorite streaks. Fiorentina's set pieces have been quite bad recently; the inability to generate chances off the corners and free kicks the team has won is sort of mind boggling, especially with Gonzalo as a target.
Also, I'd like to add that Orsato had, I think, a pretty bad game, allowing a lot of overly physical play occasionally descend into recklessness. Roma certainly earned their points with a ruthlessly opportunistic attack and a determined defense, though, so I'd rather not take anything away from their performance. Anyways, it's a quick turnaround and a visit to Uncle Luca Toni and Hellas Verona on Wednesday. Forza Viola.