All eyes at the Olimpico were again on the Giallorossi’s front three of Tammy Abraham, Nicolo Zaniolo and Paulo Dybala, but it was English centre-back Chris Smalling who got the game’s only goal, heading in from close range in the second half.
Roma struggled to break Cremonese down
Roma had been frustrated by their visitors despite dominating the possession and shots statistics from the off. The best chance of the first half, and probably of the 2022/23 Serie A season so far, fell to Abraham beneath the crossbar. Somehow, though, the English no.9 didn’t convert as Emanuele Valeri did remarkably well to turn it away from the ex-Chelsea man.
Cyriel Dessers had chances for Cremonese but just wasn’t able to find a way to beat Rui Patricio while keeping any of his efforts on target.
The goal came from a rather unlikely source in Smalling, with the defender heading emphatically past Ionut Radu, who had enjoyed a decent performance until being beaten by the former Manchester United defender.
Zaniolo injured again for Roma
Jose Mourinho would have found himself biting his nails in tense frustration on the sidelines on Monday as he watched on with his Roma side struggling to find a way to open the scoring against the minnows from Lombardia.
His mood won’t have been improved when he saw Zaniolo go down with yet another injury right on the stroke of half time. The Italian ended up being stretchered off with what looked to be a dislocated shoulder after going down under a challenge from Cremonese defender Luka Lochoshvili.
Zaniolo getting injured was the last thing that Mourinho and Roma needed, particularly after Georginio Wijnaldum fell injured over the weekend and given Zaniolo’s own injury record.
Roma had warmed up wearing shirts in honour of Wijnaldum.