NAPLES, ITALY - DECEMBER 18: Daniele De Rossi of Roma and Marek Hamsik of Napoli in action during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and AS Roma at Stadio San Paolo on December 18, 2011 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Roma v Napoli
I had some thoughts. They've now largely gone.
Roma will be missing a lot of things today, prime among them a magic portal to July. Daniele De Rossi, Pablo Osvaldo, Erik Lamela, Maarten Stekelenburg, Dr. Who and Doc Brown are all missing from the equation. Which means the equation looks like it was drawn up by someone with a severe learning disability, and I'm fairly sure what is supposed to be a variable is actually a moo-cow. (Fabio Simplicio, etc, etc.)
There is still a mathematical possibility of third place, perhaps even a logical one if you consider that Serie A places 3-6 are happily stumbling through their respective seasons as disjointedly as Roma. Hell, Udinese might actually be a junkie at this point. And if Lazio does in fact end up in third, it would be akin the kid who spends life in a helmet turning from class clueless to first on the math quiz out of nowhere. Something's fuzzy and an investigation might be required.
All it really takes is one of those teams getting its @#$% together for the next four fixtures. The chances it's Roma, considering the slow spiral into mediocrity they've enjoyed of recent, wouldn't seem fantastic, but this team's ceiling is certain high enough that the possibility does remain. After all, their one winning streak - five games - did begin with the Napoli fixture in December. The question, however, isn't whether they can achieve Champions League football, but whether they should. Perhaps first learning to jog a 5k is smarter than setting out to be competitive in a marathon.
Thus the silver lining:
Does it even matter anymore? Much like last season, the eye is cast firmly to the summertime and Big Tommy throwing money at quality footballers like it's a Vegas pole dance. The Europa League is certainly an objective for some, but as shown by a certain striped team at the top this year, sometimes it's better to spend the midweek taking naps, taking care of one's children, fathering more, and resting weary bones rather than enjoying the opportunity to torpedo Italy's UEFA coefficient.
VALDES J. Angel
Taddei, Kjaer, Heinze, Marquinho
Simplicio, Gago, Pjanic
Totti, Borini, Bojan
What the hell happens in the event of an injury to one of the central defenders?