ROME, ITALY - OCTOBER 29: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (C) of AC Milan scores his team's second goal during the Serie A match between AS Roma and AC Milan at Stadio Olimpico on October 29, 2011 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
Milan v Roma
Until two weeks ago, had you whispered the news of a Roma potentially without four of its five centerbacks, the cork from the bubbly could be found lodged deep in the ceiling. Alas, progress has been made in the face of tasting one's own medicine, and perspective is needed.
I remember a day when Juan succumbed to himself within thirty of a Champions League knockout and Julio Baptista basked the Olimpico in silence as he strode bench to half. When John Arne Riise played ninety minutes of the most inspired centerback Rome had seen since several weeks earlier when Juan was functional. When Souleymane Diamoutene wore the shirt, and he didn't purchase it in the club shop. When Simone Loria...
Gabriel Heinze is likely to play, but unlikely to do so at full fitness. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on the other side. He scores goals. When looking past his ebullient and fuzzy personality, he plays for Milan, calcio's most prolific and profitable, and will do so at the San Siro, their lair. This is bad. [Wong-Baker pain scale applies here.] Miralem Pjanic and Francesco Totti will also show up looking deep in the bowels of the SS for Cafu's Juice or what have you, coming off knocks, injuries and/or the positively starching fatigue which results from combating Italy's male infertility epidemic sans science. Any of the three names which will magically acquire maroonish tint after the publishing of this post may not make it past the bench or stands. This would be filed under far less than ideal, much like the circumstances: top of the table away.
Simply put: one point is a bonus, three is a Soderbergh film.
The AS Roma matchday promise/spirits preparedness checklist:
- DDR in
the lineup, injury or traffic permittingcentral midfield: Maybe.
- Match at home: No.
- Luis against a fresh face: No.
Rosi, Kjaer, Heinze, Taddei
Gago, DDR, Pjanic
This one should be rather straightforward, or so you'd think. Any lineup which omits Borini for Bojan will need be accompanied by a note from a mental health professional.