Soccer: Perfect Roma show strength in depth
Leaders beat Udinese 1-0 away despite being in 10 men28 October, 17:05
But perhaps even more importantly for the Roman side's hopes of winning the title, Rudi Garcia's men also showed they have the character and strength of depth to go all the way.
Roma prevailed despite being without their inspirational captain Francesco Totti and another forward who has made a big contribution to their stunning start, Ivorian forward Gervinho.
If that were not enough, they also had to play much of the second half in 10 men after right back Maicon was sent off for two bookings.
But Frenchman Garcia again showed himself to be a shrewd tactician, and made several changes to his side, bringing on, among others, American midfielder Michael Bradley, who sealed the points for the leaders with a crisp strike from outside the box in the 82nd minute.
"This win was our best yet," said Garcia.
"We played with our heads and our hearts, which is what we've been doing since the beginning of the season. "To win with 10 men at the Stadio Friuli, where Udinese hadn't lost in over a year, is very important for our future. "And at the end of the season it's certainly going to count".
Around 1,000 euphoric Roma fans went to the city's airport to greet the team after the win.
It is a sharp contrast from skepticism that surrounded the club when Garcia, the club's third-choice option, was appointed to the bench in the close season after Roma missed out on qualifying for European competition last term and lost to city rivals Lazio in the Italian Cup final.
He has managed to revitalise players such as Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi, who was frequently criticised by former coach Zdenek Zeman last season, and Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic, who Zeman often left on the bench.
Garcia has also been helped by some shrewd signings, above all, Gervinho, Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman and Italian goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis. Roma's run equals the nine consecutive wins Juventus notched at the start of the 2005-06 season under Fabio Capello. The Turin side won the scudetto that season but were subsequently stripped of it and the 2004-05 title and demoted for their involvement in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.
Roma remain five points clear of Napoli and champions Juventus, who secured 2-0 home wins over Torino and Genoa respectively at the weekend. The team also received good news Monday, when tests suggested Totti is recovering faster than expected from a hamstring injury and may be able to come back after next month's break in Serie A action for internationals.
Inter Milan are fourth in Serie A with 18 points, nine fewer than Roma, after beating Hellas Verona 4-2.
AC Milan are 10th and trail Roma by 16 points after they lost 3-2 at Parma.
Italy striker Mario Balotelli was substituted for the first time since he joined Milan, early in the second half, following a poor, bad-tempered display.