For the love of God, is there a doctor in the house? Yeah, we knew some of the big guns would still be left on the shelf, but this is getting downright absurd. Players in Rome are dropping like flies and there is absolutely nothing anybody can do about it. This was going to be a tough game away from home without fan support to begin with, now it becomes a nightmare as The Grand Imperial Poobah gets ready to send out the junior varsity once again. 16 outfield players called up, no backup central defenders (minus OMR), two recently coming off injuries who shouldn't be playing in the first place and 3 goalies. Shit, meet fan.
Is anybody who could possibly make a pseudo-clean tackle available to fly to Genoa this weekend? We'll foot the bill.
Il Capitano is out. Simone Perrotta is now out. King Alberto ain't ready just yet. Philippe Mexes will be hanging back in Rome. Taddei is probably going to be out longer than expected. Marco Andreolli has been relegated to chef duties at Trigoria while he recovers from his mild case of HIV, or something. While both Juan & Doni didn't arrive in Rome today until about noon. With the game in Genoa, it looks like Juan will unfortunately necessarily start fresh off jet llag and Doni will be sat in favor of Gianluca Curci. (Excited about the latter, seriously, I love watching this kid grow up.) Oh, and Matteo Ferrari, Philou's replacement, isn't 100%. How loverly.
* - You know, they could really use Andreolli right now. What the hell is up with this kid? Supposed to be ready by Lazio.
As far as Simone goes, he has picked up another muscle injury. How many injuries is this now? 76? Integral cog in the system, but maybe they should just sit him for a month and let his body get back to 112%. Anyway, I'm not all that unhappy. My 9 year old cousin beat me in FIFA yesterday with the New England Revolution after Simone pulled a Roberto Baggio '94 on PKs and Doni mysteriously never dove for the PKs. I just felt like there was bad juju all over this game. Now they're both likely out and it's all good juju baby. (Well, aside from the other 12 members of the team which are hurt and/or dead.)
So, you know the drill...time to bust out the junior varsity for the Serie B newcomers and pray there aren't any more injuries.
1. Inter 25pts (+15)*
2. Fiorentina 23pts (+11)
3. Roma 22pts (+9)*
4. Juve 22pts (+11)
5. Udinese 22pts (+1)
12. Genoa 14pts (-5)
* - 11 games played as opposed to everyone else's 12.
After starting off the year with 3 wins, 3 draws and only 1 loss to the Rossoneri's better half, Genoa has started dropping points, and fast. But it's a little misleading, because 2 of those losses came against Vujentus and Argentina (the last to Reggina - good signs), and the two draws against Palermo and Fiorentina (both at home). What that says to me is that a full-strength Roma should take at least a point. Roma is not full-strength. They're at like one-third strength. Mamma mia.
Roma:ANTUNES Gabriel, BARUSSO Ahmed, BRIGHI Matteo, CASSETTI Marco, CURCI Gianluca, CICINHO, DE ROSSI Daniele, ESPOSITO Mauro, FERRARI Matteo, GIULY Ludovic, JUAN, MANCINI Alessandro, MARANGON Alexander, PANUCCI Christian, PIT Adrian, PIZARRO David, TONETTO Max, VUCINIC Mirko, ZOTTI Carlo
Genoa: Portieri: 83 Rubinho, 73 Scarpi. Difensori: 4 Bega, 3 Bovo, 25 De Rosa, 23 Ghinassi, 24 Konko, 16 Lucarelli, 34 Masiello. Centrocampisti: 5 Coppola, 8 Danilo, 29 Fabiano, 28 Juric, 77 Milanetto, 19 Paro, 7 Rossi. Attaccanti: 22 Borriello, 21 Di Vaio, 9 Figueroa, 11 Leon, 14 Sculli.
Panucci, Juan, Ferrari, Tonetto;
Giuly, Brighi, Mancini;
Picking my ideal Roma XI right now...3 are in this squad (I still can't figure out RB). Yeesh.
Also, DP and Matteo may be switching places with Little David becoming the trequartista. Oh boy.
Konko, Bovo, Lucarelli;
M.Rossi, Paro, Juric, Fabiano;
Leon, Borriello, Sculli.
Rambo v Matteo Ferrari: This matchup frightens me, it really does. Leon could dribble through a Cambodian minefield and can burn past the majority of defenders in Serie A. What does Matteo have trouble with? Exactly that, and we're not even counting this season's less than stellar form. Not only that, there's no clue as to how healthy he is at the moment.
Normally I'd offer up a hefty bounty to anyone at the game who runs out onto the field and tackles Rambo as soon as he starts dribbling towards the center of the pitch, but away fans are banned. All that's left is to pray the rosary. Twice.
The Holy Trinity v Space: You know what game this reminds me of? Fiorentina. Totti, Simone and Aquilani were out - or started out, at least. The front line of Mirko, Lulu Gulu and Mancini great in space together, and going up against the 3 man back line will get them beaucoup chances at it again, especially with Alessandro Lucarelli, who likes to moonlight as an attacker. Old Boy Bovo is a very good youngster, but he's far from world class at this point and can be exposed by superior attacking talent, which Roma has. Keeping the ball quick, crisp and on the floor while targets off the ball making explosive runs from just beyond the area and maneuvering into space in the box (hello, Mirko) will expose this back line and give Roma its best chances during the game - and a trademark of this trio.
Vucinic v Vucigol: The guy can find all the space he wants, still gotta finish. Finish finish finish finish finish finish finish finish finish finish finish. Finish. Cool?
Keeping The Ball Out Of Genoa's Final Third v Everybody:
The way I see it, the game will depend on whether or not fatigue was one of the main culprits in Tuscany and Portugal. If it was, then a refreshed Roma team could provide one of those trademark stellar performances full of beautiful passing, sexy play and slacked jaws. If not, then they're in big trouble.
Genoa will play an open game, creating space for their forwards who need it giving them plenty of attacking options, but also exposing themselves for a counter attack. As we know, this can create one of Roma's greatest strengths. Outside of that, nothing will be known whether or not the real Roma will show up.
I'll just say this: There will probably be some goals scored on both ends, and it will probably be an entertaining game to watch. If a rested Roma shows up ready to play a full 90 then they should be in very good shape, regardless of injuries. We just pray that they take a result and that nobody dies or gets injured during the course of the game. Or else I may be on the first plane to Kiev to get ready for the tie next week. (You don't want that.)
Luckily enough, a certain Inter fan had these thoughts on the game (after I was done bitching about the injuries):
Whatever, this is just when they'll pull out that season-defining, short-handed victory and start some sort of annoying run to the top. Mark my words.
And for that we pray.
Goals: Leon (22), Vucinic (37), DDR (56), Borriello (70), Mancini (73)
When: 1600 CET, 12 EST
Where: Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa
Forecast: 14°C with a 50/50 chance of rain. Slick pitch. Ooh.
USTV: FSC 10p