HARRISON, NJ - JULY 27: Panagiotis Tachtsidis #77 of AS Roma is escorted off the field after receiving a red card for fighting during the game against El Salvador during the game at Red Bull Arena on July 27, 2012 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)
A perfect 6/6. Zemanlandia won all its preseason friendlies, be it at Chicago (USA), South Tyrol (aka Alto Adige) or Vienna (Austria). In a way, Roma is conquering the world. At this rate, I would even bet Roma wins friendlies against the Army of Mordor or the Galactic Empire of Darth Vader himself.
Although the friendly against El Salvador looked a bit like the battlefield of Middle-Earth while I wouldn’t be shocked if Zeman showed up at Trigoria tomorrow and says to Totti: ‘Francesco…. I’m your father’. Followed by a big ‘NOOOOOOOOO’ by Bruno Conti in a Stormtrooper costume while Sabatini cuddles with Lamela and Lucca while whispering ‘my preciousssss’.
Right, enough about possible links between Roma and Hollywood blockbusters. Our preseason does read like a dream scenario up to now. Not quite the caliber of a Lord of the Rings or Star Wars but definitely a Beverly Hills Cop or Bad Boys. You know, explosions and popcorn galore but give it a week and the initial excitement has dropped a little. That’s mostly because we haven’t faced stiff competition yet. Liverpool was big name but their team on paper was rather lame. The rest? Meh. I think Siena or Parma away are far more dangerous than Lube-in or Rapid Vienna. But as Zeman said: we’re only halfway. Serie A starts in one month. Fitness isn’t optimal yet, same for the team chemistry. Imagine what Zdenek can do with this team and an addition or two at the back given another month. No need to worry, they’ll be ready for Catania. Or better yet, will Catania be ready for Zemanlandia?
You will call me… commander
Right. Why is it that I always have that punch line in my mind when I see Destro’s name? I’m not that big of a GI Joe fan. Actually, I’m no fan at all. I just think the name Destro has quite an intimidating tune to it. Unlike Bradley which (with all due respect) makes me think of an obese American living in Springfield.
Destro’s deal is official now. If Roma opt to buy him outright next season, he could cost us more (!) than Osvaldo while we also give half of Piscitella and Verre’s contracts away. A total of 19M (thanks to various sources). Piscitella goes to Genoa, Verre to Siena. Once again, Sabatini keeps everybody happy. Why hasn’t this man become head of the UN yet?
I hope both youngsters do return one day. But until then, let’s enjoy Destro’s goals shall we?
Full fixtures list of the new season has been released last week. If you need a reminder, here you go. First up is Catania at home while we already visit Inter the second week.
We face most of the big teams away at first: Inter, Juve, Napoli and Lazio (if you can call it an away game anyway), which gives us an slight advantage in the second half of the season. If you look at the schedule, the last twelve games or so are doable apart from Milan-Roma and the derby. Until they rape us 5-0 at the Friuli or Art. Franchi stadium, both Udinese and Fiorentina don’t scare me anymore.
All in all, a good, balanced schedule. Apart from maybe Milan-Napoli, never two tough opponents after each other. Then again, when is a fixture tough? Who knows Pescara put up a bigger fight than say Juve or Genoa? Although I won’t mind starting the season with a fresh 4-1 or 5-3 against Catania to make the Stadio Olimpico explode and Inter immediately crap their pants.
We will have to face them all eventually. Or better said: they all have to face Zeman eventually. Because the man is one angry looking mofo.
Fun fact of the day
AS Roma the only club of Serie A 2012-2013 with both a foreign president AND coach (DiBenedetto and Zeman). Apart from Lazio and their coach Petkovic, all others have Italians in both positions. Yes, even Inter. Corrupt-free? That’s another question sir.
· Torosidis and Balzaretti. Make it happen Saba. Torosidis has been a regular for Greece and Olympiacos for years now while he can occupy both left and right flank. At the age of 27, he’s entering his prime and after winning a sh*tload of trophies in Greece, he’s ready for a new challenge. Roma can give him that challenge. Meanwhile, Balzaretti impressed me during the Euros. He isn’t the most graceful LB in the game but he works and loves to attack. He kinda reminds me of Tonetto, who also joined Roma after his 30’s. He will immediately fit in Zeman’s 4-3-3 while he can act as a mentor for Dodò too.
· Shevchenko retired. At the age of 35 (born on September 29, 1976). He is two days younger than His Holiness Francesco. Stuff to think about as a Giallorosso. We’d better enjoy every damn inch Francesco runs on the field this season.
· Panagiotis Tachtsidis should be in The Expendables 3, kicking Stallone’s ass. Period.
To end, a small question to my beloved readers: When I was visiting the Olimpico, I saw a big golden statue on a hill not far from the stadium. Can anybody tell me more about it pretty please(yes I’m too lazy to look it up myself)? Something tells me it’s neither Simone Loria nor Ahmed Hossam Mido up there.
Thanks for reading, till next week!
"We work really hard with Zeman. I’d never experienced anything like it before, but I am sure it will pay off. Roma will improve on last year’s results." – Erik Lamela, 2012.