Without Francesco Totti and without Maicon, sent off after 66 minutes, Roma still made it out with their perfect start to the season intact and improved, picking up a 1-0 win over Udinese through a late Michael Bradly goal, making everyone wonder when exactly will this team finally be stopped, and who can exactly do it.
One of the concerns for Roma must have been their depth being exposed at some point this season. Without Totti and Gervinho, Roma played with Marco Borriello and Adem Ljajic in their front three, without getting too much out of them, as the speed and precision brought by the Totti and Gervinho combination was sorely missing. Having Maicon sent off in the second half certainly didn’t help their struggles.
But if there’s one part of this machine that’s been playing exceptionally well through the first two months of the season has been the midfield. Miralem Pjanic finally fulfilling all of his wonderkid potential we’ve been hearing about for years, while Kevin Strootman, someone Manchester United were intending to sign at some point during the summer, has been one of the best players in the Serie A this season, picking up the assist for the winning goal.
Michael Bradley isn’t going to be a star or a consistent starter for Roma if they plan to succeed. But he’s a good enough player to be a game changer off the bench, with his strength and speed being what Roma needed in a match like this, especially coming on for Borriello, who it’s hard to understand what he’s still doing playing for a top team in this league.