Three takeaways from Cagliari 1-4 AS Roma: Lukaku back to his best, Dybala injured again

AS Roma made it two positive performances in a week as they put four past a sorry Cagliari side on Sunday. Romelu Lukaku bagged another two goals, but Paulo Dybala is injured again.


AS Roma produced a dominant showing on Serie A Matchday 8 as they stormed to a 4-1 victory against Cagliari, the second game in a week where they have netted four goals. 

Jose Mourinho’s side looked at their best, even after going through such a congested fixture list that has seen them play three times in October already. Houssem Aouar scored his second Roma goal before Romelu Lukaku got his first of the evening less than a minute later.

The second half echoed the first, goals from Andrea Belotti and a second from Lukaku wrapped up the fixture for the Giallorossi. Nahitan Nandez scored a late penalty, but the game was already far beyond the hosts. 

Romelu Lukaku looks back to his best

Romelu Lukaku shoots for AS Roma. [@ASRomaEN]

After the summer that Lukaku underwent, partnering up with Mourinho once again was going to go one way, and one way only. The Portuguese manager has managed to put the smile back on the face of the Belgian striker. 

His performance on Sunday showed just how complete of a striker he is. What makes things even more impressive is that he had to work with two different strike partners throughout the game. He showed his expertise and value in the way he changed his game to suit his partner. 

His two goals were exceptional in their own way. Both demonstrated his intelligence as he awaited the perfect moment to lose his marker, whilst he remained onside before connecting with Rick Karsdorp’s cross to open his account. His second, a one-two, before perfectly curling the ball into the far left corner. 

The 30-year-old has started this season superbly, scoring five times in six appearances – his best-ever start to a Serie A campaign. Whilst the €8 million loan fee may have seemed somewhat expensive for Roma in the summer, they are getting their value from Lukaku

Dybala injured once again – Are AS Roma in trouble?

Houssem Aouar and Leonardo Spinazzola celebrate for AS Roma. [@ASRomaEN]

Since joining the Giallorossi in the 2022 summer transfer window, Paulo Dybala has shown on many occasions why he is such a revered player. However, there has been one consistent worry – injuries. The Argentine missed 20 games for the club in the past year, and it seems he will spend more time on the sidelines. 

The second striker didn’t do much during his time on the pitch against Cagliari. Nonetheless, his importance to Roma cannot be understated. With four goals in this Serie A campaign, he is an indisposable figure for the club and his absence will be felt.

When asked about Dybala’s injury after the game against Cagliari, Jose Mourinho admitted: “[I’m] not optimistic. I always trust the players a lot. When he’s not optimistic, I’m not optimistic.” 

Whilst his replacement, Andrea Belotti, scored and played well, he isn’t Dybala. As such, Mourinho will have to adjust his set-up to lessen the effect of his loss.

Cagliari in big, big danger

There’s no other way of saying this. Cagliari are set for a very long season. Alongside Salernitana, the Rossoblu are the only side without a Serie A win this season.

Whilst it was unlikely that they would beat Roma, there was a chance to prove to themselves and their fans that there was some inspiration in the squad. To concede four and only score once against a side that has the fourth most goals conceded this season is worrying.

Ultimately, not only do they lack the overall quality, but there isn’t enough, if any, individual quality that looks as though it could drag them away from the foot of the table at this stage.


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