Every single game someone goes down, and it's been like this since the preseason, when Rosella was 5th on the depth chart in central defense just behind Bruno Conti, in there for his aerial prowess. Sporting not all that different, with only one injury to speak of, but it was a biggie in Il Capitano. Luckily enough it took him all of a few hours to recover adequately enough to begin training again yesterday, though lightly. So, no Spring of '06 recurrence. Good enough news for me, and it's now being said he may be ready for the Milan game (and probably in time for The Derby). Wait and see, but it's positive news early. So, a little run down of the injuries:
Perrotta: Only doing physical therapy, and still in doubt for the Milan game with his ankle injury. What's more though, is the fact that this guy is getting injured at least twice a month nowadays. He's been making Chivu look like Johnny "The Picture Of Health" Reliable so far this year. I've said it before, you've got to start wondering how high that odometer really is. He certainly has more miles on his body than most 30 year olds (he's like an NFL running back), and Father Time may come knocking a little bit early.
Taddei: Resumed training today, and should be ready for the Milan game, but he's been out so long it's hard to believe TGIP will feel comfortable using him for many minutes, even though the team could clearly use his presence.
Espo: Also resumed training with Rodrigo, but his injury came at a time when he was just beginning to earn some pitch time, and actually had looked very promising and had us all having illogical flashbacks of 2004. He might be training , but it's doubtful he'll see any meaningful minutes until Lazio at the very least (so watch for him to make the starting XI on Sunday).
King Alberto: Still out, and the best hope is that he returns in time for the game in Lisbon on November 7th. And even that is probably unlikely. How we miss thee.
Andreolli: I'd like to introduce you all to Gilberto Martinez v 2.0 (except this one's good). Still out, still no clue why.
So, with injuries and subsequent progress staying relatively status quo, I'll take a stab at the formation on Sunday:
Cassetti, Mexes, Juan, Tonetto;
Cicinho, Giuly, Mancini;
And to be an equal opportunity guesser, here's my guess for Milan:
(See that right there? A tree that's thin and with little substance at the top. Ha!)
Before I mention the complete unfeasibility of this "rumor", I'm going to get your hopes up, from Diego:
“However I hope to have the opportunity to play in Italy one day where the football is very famous. I follow all the Serie A teams and I particularly like Roma because they play some exciting football. They are one of the best teams in Europe."
First of all, it's not happening, at least anytime soon. Diego may love Italy and Roma, but Werder has to love Roma too. So, unless Diego pulls a What's-His-Nuts, his price would be sky high, whenever he goes up for sale (I've got 1.5 years), and Roma would have the rest of G14 (or G78, whatever it is by then) to fend off to get their hands on yet another Brazilian. Not to mention spending a minimum of €25m. (If Ribery is worth €25m at 24 years old, Diego is worth at least the same at 22.)
Anyways, nothing concrete, no rumors and much of it is just praise. But we can all dream, can't we?
* - And he isn't exactly being too secretive with his desire to move to Serie A in season while still with his current club, is he? That I don't like one bit, especially when he is by no means at a small club.
It's Totally True, Even Though I Made It Up
This is one of those rumors that hasn't started yet, but will, only because it makes so much sense and both teams would be idiotic not to do it (that's you, Rosella). A swap with The Cheaters for Tiago, with Roma handing over David Pizarro, in what would surely require a couple million more on Roma's end. As soon as Tiago started not-so-subtly mentioning that he wanted out, the rumor started doing the cha cha in my mind, because it's so perfect. Not to mention the fact that Juve has wanted Little David since the minute he stepped off the plane in Udine, and reportedly have lined him up as a target once again in the winter window.
In Tiago you have one of the most complete midfielders in Europe, someone who can do all the little things while more than adequately being a playmaker and defend like a defensive mid. In other words: he's perfect. In fact, he's probably a better passer than David when it comes to accuracy and, you know, passing to your own teammates. And I don't think we need to rehash the whole Pizarro thing right now. (again)
Unfortunately, Tiago is actually on Juve's payroll, though I'm sure you could fool a few people into thinking otherwise, and it remains to be seen how much they'd like to do a deal with a rival in the post-Moggi era, even if it meant getting a long desired target in return. If, and it's a big if, Juventus decide they could potentially send Tiago to Roma, then this becomes a deal the hierarchy has to consider and make a strong attempt at, and TGIP would need to put his man crush aside. I still think he goes to Spain, though.
Roma Gets To Sit At The Big Kids Table
This happened a few days ago, but I failed to mention it, because we had better things going on than joining Europe's calcio fraternity. But Roma will be reportedly joining up Gamma Gamma 14 in the near future, and also joining will be Werder Bremen, Sevilla and, uhhh, Monaco? (Oh, finances, right.) All is nice and well, and though I'm sure they have swell keggers, I'm not sure G14 has done anything yet besides bitch and moan about everything (so it's like having a girlfriend) and sue Sepp Blatter. Whatever. It's always nice to hobnob it with the elitists and be an original participant in the eventual formation of a SuperduperLeague, where the best play the best and craptastic teams like Lazio don't get a share of the money (because you know that's what it's all about); but outside of that, this is an appearance move and little else - at least until G14 actually accomplishes something. Which will only be after the Michel Platini's UEFA presidency is six feet deep. And then we can all throw a real kegger.
News, Notes & Wrapping Up The Week's Nonsense
I) No soup for you. In case you missed it, all away fans have been banned for the match at the San Siro. Something tells me if both teams put out the type of finishing performances that they've usually been throwing out this year, the fans will be thanking the FIGC on Monday.
* - Odds are looking good that Milan threw out their once in a blue moon goal scoring bonanza yesterday against Shakhtar, which should mean they'd have difficulty scoring with the town bicycle on Sunday (we'll call her "Bordeaux Marriott"). I think we can feel safe Gila will go back to calcio impotency.
II) Our favorite Brazilian RB, now know as Il Gatto con gli stivali (puss n boots), is reportedly unhappy with life in Rome, and may be looking at an exit in January, if reports are to be believed. Nothing concrete, but it isn't too hard to fathom that being a whopping third on the depth chart is going down all that well with Cicinho (9 games, but only one start and much of this due to injuries). Considering he left Madrid for some significant playing time, it's understandable that he may be just a little bit pissed. However, he won't move before the summer, if he does anytime soon.
III) For any of those who have been dreaming of Ezequiel Lavezzi since he ran Argentinian circles around Roma's defense, here's music to your ears: Roma turned down the opportunity to sign Lavezzi last spring, because "they wanted the Brazilian", meaning Cicinho. Which is code for "we fucked up bad and we're trying to save face", because:
i) Lavezzi and Cicinho play vastly different positions, unless they envisioned EL in the back (I highly doubt that).
ii) This was well before any opf the Cicinho stuff started, and when it was unclear if Cicinho would be leaving.
iii) €6m is going to be roughly the same amount they pay for Lulu Gulu after the CL bonuses, so it wasn't about money.
Anyway, we'll let this slide, because it's quite obvious that the real reason they turned down Lavezzi was because Bruno was terrified of his girlfriend, and who can blame him.
IV) The inimitable think tank that is channel 4 has dropped this wondrous little nugget of supreme knowledge on us for the Milan game, informing us of the player to 'Keep An Eye On':
No shit, huh. Now, if only they could tell me how many quarters are in a basketball game...
V) Just a bit of ease going into the weekend: Milan's record at home is a stellar 0-3-1, scoring 3 goals while giving up 4. If there was anytime to play at the San Giuseppe Meazza Siro Berlusconi, it's now.
VI) In other game news, Marek Jankulovski is out a couple months, and will probably be replaced by Kahka Kaladze at LB. In other words, Milan is replacing a LB I wasn't all that worried about with a LB I'm even less worried about. Good stuff all around.
And in directly related news, the average age of Milan's back four is still 72.