When was the last time Roma played well in "weather"? When was the last time Roma got really lucky on a ball near the net? Two birds got knocked down with one giant snowball in Lombardia. The snow dusted the ground and the more technical team came out victorious, doing so on the back of a pass that wound up in the back of the net.
This ain't your late-January 2013 Roma.
The ponderous approach which began the day through less-than-ideal weather, a phenomenon which then escalated quickly into "They should stop the match and just play real life Candyland." At that point it becomes all about survival, just like any day Totti steps on the pitch in conditions which touch "chilly," because he's in gear ready to trek the Himalayas with O2 canisters on call. This meant the game was, from my perspective anyway, largely unwatchable. Even the relatively "high def" Russian Sopcast streams were playing Where's Waldo? with the one brightly colored thing on the pitch. The second half was likely as difficult for the players as it was for the spectators.
And on that note: wearing all-white strips for a snow storm? Genius. Natural camo. Of course it was bad for my healthy as I found myself all to often wondering why the @#$% Marko Livaja was being marked by snowflakes in the box when he was actually being double-teamed. (Serious - that happened a few times.)
In good news, it's unlikely this will happen again. In better news, Roma buckled down, dispensed with any type of style, and just set about winning the match. This is what made Claudio Ranieri so special in the wake of Spalletti, and what could be the ticket going forward for the long-term with Roma. Win first, then begin to discuss style.
It's been awhile, eh?
- That was absolutely a pass by Torosidis (designed for Lamela at the far post) and anyone who says otherwise is getting an internet wedgie. It was excellently constructed and a good idea, but poorly executed.
Not complaining on the latter.
- One problem was solved today:
After twelve-plus months of watching Marquinho put the ball just outside the frame, he finally put one on target...with his left. Why hasn't he been lined up on the right, eh? (He had a fairly decent match otherwise, I think.)
- There are moments when you think, "This is it. Maarten Stekelenburg could finally fill the hole in net and eliminate a massive problem for the club." And then he just stops...moving.
Dude. Make a save on any shot inside the box. Or at least try.
- Ivan Piris' performances as a centerback highlight one thing: don't fire your coach on February 2nd. A little bit of foresight goes a long way.
- There are definitely concerns beyond Piris once teams begin to figure out the Roma defense, especially against teams with pacier forwards, since the Roma CBs are easily pulled apart or smushed together at current. Marquinhos had, under Zeman, come to find a knack for sort of sneaking 5-10 yards ahead of his partner in anticipation, while allowing the fullback to fall into the far post or thereabouts. Right now, they work well in unison when outside the...forgive me..."danger zone" but are still finding their legs in their own third.
- Despite the win, clubs either kept up (Catania) or haven't yet played (Udinese, Fiorentina, Lazio) and so the table is a bit fuzzy. It's fine to table-watch in February-March, but for this club right now...well, it's advised against.
There are just too many clubs ahead or in the hunt for hope to do anything but disappoint.
- Sitting here watching the replay attempting to figure out what the hell's going on. This is awful. Between the white shirts and lack of a ball due to conditions and poor stream quality...
How's your week going? And how are the kids?