Nobody has come closer to ending Lazio’s unbeaten run than Roma did on Sunday.
The Giallorossi were the dominant side from start to finish in the Derby della Capitale, and the full-time statistics put that domination on public display: 16 shots to 3 and 67% possession in the ‘home’ side’s favour.
But what use is control if it can’t be transformed into points?
The game was eerily similar to the first meeting between the sides this season, but in reverse. Back in September, Lazio hit the woodwork four times and were much the better side, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw after failing to take their chances.
This time, the concern for Roma wasn’t only that they couldn’t take their chances, but that they didn’t even test Thomas Strakosha all that much.
The Albanian had to make a couple of good stops on Dzeko efforts in the second half, and was relieved to see his post rattle after a bending Lorenzo Pellegrini effort.
But other than that Paulo Fonseca’s side struggled to find the target and were denied by some heroic blocks from Francesco Acerbi and Stefan Radu along the way.
You expect more after 90 minutes of attacking football than having one goal to show for it, especially if it only arrived courtesy of a terrible individual error.
Roma’s blunt edge in attack is going to cost them this season if things don’t change.
Edin Dzeko can still do a job but the weight of the world is on his shoulders, with Nikola Kalinic not proving to be a worthy back-up.
After the Bosnian on nine goals, set piece expert Aleksander Kolarov is the Lupi’s next highest scorer on five. Nicolo Zaniolo comes next with four, but the youngster has been ruled out for the rest of the season with injury.
It’s the likes of the injury prone Diego Perotti and the frustratingly inconsistent Justin Kluivert and Cengiz Under who need to find some end product to aid their team’s cause.
The Turk was a bundle of energy on Sunday and gave Senad Lulic a torrid afternoon on the right wing, and it is high time that he starts to prove that he can become the player many still hope he can be.
If not, this weekend’s frustration at failing to earn a result they feel they deserve may become a common theme.
One point gained for Lazio
The wheels haven’t come off, but there’s no doubting that Lazio’s meek performance in one of their biggest games of the season will be of big concern to Simone Inzaghi.
They made just five touches in Roma’s box during the entire match. It was the first time since the 2016/17 season that the Biancocelesti have made fewer than 10 in a Serie A game.
There is a general consensus that the team looks tired, that their relentless fixture calendar and threadbare squad options have caught up with them.
But there is plenty of good news. Firstly, they are out of all the cup competitions and only have the league to focus on now, which means there will be more time available for much-needed rest and recuperation at a point of the season that has tripped them up before.
Secondly, they still have a game in hand to come at home to Hellas Verona. If they win that, they’ll leapfrog Inter into second place and restore a 10-point lead over Roma.
But first thing’s first: they all need a good night’s sleep and a long, hard look at what went wrong.