Genoa 2 - Roma 4
Back when The Grand Imperial Poobah was busy doubling up on scarves in the Roman technical box, there was a rule: if Roma played lights out in the first fifteen, get out your binky; however, if Roma played poorly in the first fifteen, everything was going to be alright.
Everything changes. Everything stays the same.
The Roma which showed up - or didn't, rather - for the first fifteen plus was a shell of a shell of a carcass left on a remote river bank somewhere in a Wes Craven flick. Nothing was working, least of all the midfield, and the defense was being scattered as result. The best player on the pitch being paid by Roma was Marco Borriello by some great distance. Then it slowly began clicking as things slowly began assuming other space.
The biggest key to the game was this: Daniele De Rossi began shifting Tachtsidis out of the middle and demanding his spot. Tangentially, yes there is a reason Taxi plays, and yes it is partially (perhaps largely) that there is no other option for Zeman's wont and no Pjanic is not a regista as Zeman desires and yes the next person who suggests sitting Bradley deep is going to be Homicide 12'd by me and yes we will discuss this at length soonish and yes a new form of Pictionary may be invented in the process. In short: Pana plays for a reason. That reason is not ideal, but it is. Fin.
Anywhom, Daniele began doing the one thing which got him benched against Atalanta: defying Old Smokey. He was not making the runs demanded, but rather smushing Pana out of the picture, which then created the triangles ZZ wants, which then created the forward, longitudinal attacking mechanism ZZ wants, which then created the goals ZZ wants, which then created the three points ZZ wants. Perhaps Zeman is a far better coach than De Rossi will ever be, but Daniele's a coach's son, and The Bearded One knows a thing or two about this game from the vantage point of the pitch. His shift to a more central role turned the game and Roma right side up again. The inclusion of Pjanic displayed how dominant this midfield can eventually be - and how much better Tachtsidis plays alongside Miralem as he assumes some of the responsibilities - when everything is clicking. The midfield is going to be this side's bread and butter. Daniele's the knife.
There is a fluid dynamic required of this side to achieve Zemanlandia. Last evening, it was on display. When it will show again, no one knows, but one thing is certain: it will arrive with increasing frequency. Just enjoy the ride.
- If you put people in the box under a working Zeman side, someone will score goals. If you put a good box player in the box under Zeman, he will score even more goals.
Pablo says hello.
- Nobody talk about Lamela or Piris. Just shush up, because nothing of note is happening to their respective developments. Nothing. Zip. (This may make Ivan the Bizarro Angel? Does that then make him a minion of Satan?)
- Nicholas Burdisso has lost his starting spot. I don't know to whom exactly - Castan is probably the No. 1 at this point, but he'll be second to Marquinhos shortly if he is - but that central partnership is officially all-samba now. Or at least it should be.
- Marquinhos will play in El Clasico one day. I don't know on which side exactly, but he will. These are the performances of a child who's now played nine top flight matches in his career. Not even the sky can hold him.
- Someone needs to make a cartoon in which Balzaretti is following Totti around like a little dog, because you'll notice his runs almost always come within five yards of Francesco - of course he's right to do so, but when your left back is making runs through the spine of the box...
- Simone Perrotta 2006-08 under Zeman. Think about it and try to contain your excitement. (Can't, can you?)
- Not much of a history or statistics or records person. Totti notched third on the all-time Serie A goals list - solo now.
He's a fucking all-time phenomenon. Who needs numbers to prove that?