The problem is the problems have all been the same since September: predictable, easily countered tactics, woeful defending, poor discipline, baffling lineups and the general stubbornness. This is Italy, this is not Spain. Barring a large financial outlay, admittedly likely, the ease with which others counteract Roma will only increase.
Nothing's changed; in the absence of expected - nay, demanded - progression, the status quo equates to regression.
- The problems with Roma neither start nor end with Luis Enrique, but rather engulf the entire club on several levels. Pablo Osvaldo, Daniele De Rossi and Erik Lamela will all miss the Napoli fixture for misdeeds off the ball. In this new Rome this is not the exception, but the rule. The team's ill discipline across the board is unacceptable, if likely representative of their frustrations in expectations, desires, gone unmet. See 2008-09's card count - particularly those of the reddish tint - in comparison, as I suspect the two will look rather similar.
- For all his faults, Luis at least stands up and takes accountability. No one will fault him as a man. That's to be commended, as the league is littered with those who love to deflect.
- A hint from the team which crushed Roma on the weekend: winning is important, but so too is not losing. Within the context of such a fustercluck for the Euro spots, perhaps going for the win was prudent (I haven't eyed out the maths of the table yet), but fourteen losses is simply staggering. What if just a few, such as today, were draws?
- For those wanting the dirty details: the last time Roma lost 14 or more in a season was 04-05, when they lost 15 and suffered 47 coaching changes.
- Luis' halftime subs were excellent - the problems being:
a. That's how the midfield should have begun. Part of me wonders if (thinks, believes, nigh knows, etc.) this was an attempt to rotate Gago out with the upcoming schedule, and seeing Fiorentina at home, after Juve on the weekend, the time to do so. It's a likely consideration - it backfired, however. The difference between halves one and two was vivid.
b. Marquinho should have been playing at LB since January. (Which is exactly why I, and most others if I'm not mistaken, thought he was borrowed.)
- The Tallo sub. A teen's Serie A debut for a centerback in a tie game against a fully capable top flight side which just won at the San Siro? These are the type of mistakes, the manifestations of a rigidly imprudent philosophy, which compound over the course of a season to see draws turn to losses, losses turn Champions League hopes to Europa League dreams, and tactical sheets to pink slips.
Bold strokes are for dire situations or teams with the requisite base to withstand the subsequent structural weakening. It could be argued that with so many teams in the hunt, bold strokes are required on the basis of the odds alone. However, with a relatively easy schedule to close the season, Napoli notwithstanding, and the largely poor form of the others involved, one point could prove more valuable than the possibility of three.
- Palermo, Genoa, Novara, Udinese. These are the games of "promise" for Roma in the past three months. Has anyone taken a gander at their respective placements in the table? Or in the case of Udinese, the streak of form?
These are hardly impressive victories in hindsight, and shine the light on a gilded Roma; one which glitters tarnished, and in this, one of the weakest Serie A seasons in years.