“We definitely need to score more,” declared James Pallotta as he held a press conference in Rome on June 16, 2015, referring to the Giallorossi’s stuttering goal return in the 2014-15 season. He had a point – despite finishing in second place overall, Roma scored a modest 54 goals all season, making them just the eighth highest scoring team in the league.
Fast forward a few months and it’s all change in Rome. More top-quality attacking talent was brought in over the summer, with Edin Džeko, Mohamed Salah and Iago Falque breathing new life into the Roma forward line. The result? Rudi Garcia’s side sit atop the Serie A scoring charts with 17 goals and an average goals-per-game return of 2.42.
The Giallorossi’s top scorers in the league are Gervinho, Miralem Pjanic and Salah with three goals apiece, while the Ivorian wide man is also Roma’s leading marksman overall with four goals, his strike against BATE Borisov in the Champions League bolstering his Serie A haul.
One similarity with past seasons is the sheer number of different players to have found the net for the Giallorossi this season. “I don’t just want a 25-goals-a-season striker, I want 12 different players to find the net,” was how Rudi Garcia summed it up back on January 5 of this year. Roma have now signed a proven out-and-out striker in Džeko, but Garcia will be pleased to note that the Giallorossi have already had ten different league scorers so far this season: Alessandro Florenzi (1), Miralem Pjanic (3), Edin Dzeko (1), Iago Falque (1), Juan Manuel Iturbe (1), Francesco Totti (1), Mohamed Salah (3), Kostas Manolas (1), Gervinho (3) and Lucas Digne (1).
Sassuolo are Roma’s closest challengers on this count, with six different Neroverdi players finding the net in Serie A 2015-16. Taking into account the Champions League as well, Vasilis Torosidis’ strike against BATE Borisov takes the Giallorossi’s tally of scorers up to 11 for the season.
Moreover, a quick look at the Lega Calcio website will tell you that Roma have had more shots than any other team in Serie A this season with 105, 61 of those on target.
Things are looking good for Rudi Garcia’s side up front, then, but there is certainly work to do at the back, with Roma conceding nine goals in their first seven matches of the season. “In defense we need to rediscover the solidity of past seasons,” warned the coach. Given the improvement in front of goal, there’s every reason to suggest they will.