Assessing the 2021/22 Serie A title contenders

NAPLES, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 11: Kalidou Koulibaly and Giovanni Di Lorenzo of SSC Napoli and Manuel Locatelli of Juventus FC in action during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Juventus at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on September 11, 2021 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
NAPLES, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 11: Kalidou Koulibaly and Giovanni Di Lorenzo of SSC Napoli and Manuel Locatelli of Juventus FC in action during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Juventus at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on September 11, 2021 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images) /
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The Mourinho bunch – AS Roma

Jose Mourinho looks at home in Serie A. (Photo by Silvia Lore/Getty Images)
Jose Mourinho looks at home in Serie A. (Photo by Silvia Lore/Getty Images) /

League position after Matchday 7: 4th (15pts)

Top scorers: Jordan Veretout & Lorenzo Pellegrini (4 goals)

Early star: Tammy Abraham

Key man in title charge: Lorenzo Pellegrini

Jose Mourinho’s Giallorossi flew out of the gates before they fell to a shock 3-2 defeat away at Hellas Verona on Matchday 4. The loss tempered Roma’s honeymoon period under their legendary coach, and they suffered defeat in the Derby della Capitale a week later.

Nevertheless, the early signs suggest Roma will be much improved from last season, in which their porous defence undermined Paulo Fonseca’s exuberant attacking style. Mourinho’s side have conceded eight from seven to start the season, with their xGA of 1.14 ranking fifth-best in Serie A.

They’re certainly more sturdy, with Mourinho’s use of a 4-2-3-1 paying dividends. The demanding boss has got the best out of his captain, Lorenzo Pellegrini, who has five goal contributions in six league appearances, while Tammy Abraham has embraced his move to the Eternal City.

Mourinho is at home in Italy, and there’s hope this will be his most prosperous managerial reign since he left Chelsea for the second time in 2015. However, Roma must improve on the road if they’re to sustain a title charge. Their record at the Olimpico, meanwhile, is incredible.