Totti Tuesday: ‘Testicles, Transformers & FIFA‘

Dino Panato

I hate black and white stripes. Not only do they remind me of Juventus, zebras (pretty useless animals if you’d ask me) or jail uniforms, it’s the summum of laziness: ‘oh well just put two of the most used and common colors into one kit, separated by stripes’. Yeah that will put fear into our enemies’ eyes for sure you fake Donatella Versace. Why not use romantic, happy and bright colors like perhaps, giallo e rosso?

Enough fashion talk already, this is and remains a football blog. But if those ugly striped kits are worn by none other than Mr X-mas Antonio Di Natale, sh*t just got real for Roma fans. Let’s take a quick look at his career stats since 2007 in Serie A shall we?


2007–08: 36 games, 17 goals
2008–09 22 games, 12 goals
2009–10: 35 games, 29 goals
2010–11: 36 games, 28 goals
2011–12: 36 games, 23 goals
2012–13: 25 games, 15 goals


Putting it mildly: I’d give my left testicle for Di Natale at Roma (who needs two of them anyway?). No worries. Piris, Burdisso and a just recovered Castan will take care of him and Muriel in a three-men-defence. FYI that was sarcasm.

Udinese U-turn


Before the Udine game, Roma was the second most in-form team of Serie A with 9 out of 12 points. Only Samp had a better streak with 10 points. Winning streaks are always nice, not only for climbing up the table but also morale. Morale under Andreazzoli has never been a problem, the squad seems content even though most of them start on the bench. The thing that concerned me was Udine’s home form: only one loss to the other zebra squad (Juve) while teams like Fiorentina, Inter and Milan left the Stadio Friuli with zero points. Tactically, it was an interesting match because both teams play a 3-4-2-1 system. Perrotta started in midfield so I guess my 2006 flashbacks of last week weren’t fake after all. With those formations, the midfield at Udine is gonna get as tight as Megax Fox’ jeans in Transformers 1 & 2 (that blond chick in 3 is quite nice too though, I’m not that demanding). The omission of Osvaldo and an extra midfielder (Florenzi) means Zeman’s YOLO is now completely out of the window, together with his cigarettes and playing minutes for Tachtsidis.


Honestly, I would haved signed for a draw before kick-off. But the Osvaldo miss made me rethink, this Udine was beatable on Saturday. So in a way, these are two points lost instead of one point gained. All about perspective. Shame because it was another opportunity to catch up seeing results in Lazio and Inter went our way. But hey, as long as players keep telling us CL is still possible, it IS possible no? All about psychology and brainf*cking. And holding on to your pillow.


Just my two cents: the duel of the alphabet (AA contra ZZ) is one of fun against results. Obviously, if we’re looking at results, AA at the moment is doing a good job. Results are what they are, no rocket science. I don’t know about you guys but I feel the fun factor downgrading a bit. Sometimes, I’m more interested in the outcome of our adversaries’ matches (Lazio-Fiorentina, Milan-Inter, Napoli-Juventus) than Roma’s. It’s like AA is just telling them to do their job, keep ‘em happy and live like it’s 1969 but without a real system, mutual goal or cohesion. Just try to give a f*ck out there. While we fans are used to so much more and got spoiled the last years with Spalletti and Ranieri in 2010…


One could say Roma is slowly becoming a midtable team since 2011 with a surprise package every now and then (Milan & Juve at home) but I beg to differ because the quality is there. It’s a rather personal thing: if you love results, than you’ll probably survive the era of Andreazzoli and his safer approach. If you’re a romantic and see the big picture, then you feel something is wrong with Roma, losing a bit of its identity. Strange isn’t it? Unbeaten in four games, wining three of them and still I can find a way to whine about it.


No doubt Andreazzoli will stay until June (and rightfully so) but the management better start looking at candidates for the job in 2013-2014. They can’t afford a third misfit. It’s like in American baseball, surely the owners will know: three strikes and you’re out. I hope this is correct seeing I’m European and don’t understand a schnitzel about either rugby or baseball.


*Lazio’s bad momentum in Serie A may be funny for us Giallorossi but less amusing when you look at it Coppa-style: if Lazio doesn’t finish in a European spot come May, we HAVE to win the Coppa final to reach EL. If Lazio end top 5, a draw in Inter (and thus qualifying for the final) is already enough to guarantee EL next season, even if we lose it 5-0 (God forbid). Well, if we eliminate Inter from the Coppa Italia in April, we might as well go on and win the damn thing right?

My bitchslap of the week


Andreazzoli. Got his subs wrong. Never, EVER, take off Totti so early in the game. It’s bad juju. Now, go and make me a sandwich Aurelio! Riise’s hungry.

Fun Fact of the week


Roma have fumbled 20 points from leading situations this season, more than anyone else. (courtesy of football-italia.net)


Award Aftermath


The wine award: Perrotta. He just keeps getting better and better. At the age of 35 (36 in September) he’s one of the big question marks in Summer amid the whole rejuvenation process but if there’s one man of the old guard they need to keep besides Totti, it’s Simone. And SexyFace, this team needs a good laugh every now and then.


The Sorrentino/Daniele Conti award: Muriel. Becomes the next in a long line of rather average Serie A players who excell against Roma. Seriously, it’s like they are bulls and Roma players have a big red dot painted on their foreheads. Stop it voodoo dolls! (that said, Torosidis and Stek both didn’t look solid during Muriel’s goal either)


The enigma award: Osvaldo. Something’s wrong with him and there are simply no remedies. He looks lost, misses sitters (tell me something I don’t know) and now that he got benched by AA, news is breaking out he’ll be sold in Summer. Ironically, among all the criticism, Osvaldo’s goal ratio (11 goals in 21 games) is still pretty decent, even good. But it could have been so much more. Destro can’t come back soon enough. Honorable mention: De Rossi. With an in-form De Rossi, this Roma would be top 5 easily.

Notes


• Roma offered Marquinhos a renewed contract, tying him to the club until 2018, his salaray will gradually rise to 2.5-2.7m a year in 2018. While this doesn’t make Marcos untouchable (few can resists the opportunity to play at Barca, Real or Chelsea unless they have a bond with the club ala Daniele or Totti), it does mean that IF he leaves, someone needs to cough up a lot of cash. Either way, the contract renewal is a must as it gives more certainty to both the player and Roma.
There are other contracts waiting to be evaluated like Pjanic, Stek (both 2015) and Guberti but there’s still plenty of time. The ones of Piris, Perrotta, Goicoechea and Lobont are almost over (June 2013) but none of them is really considerd a priority. Burdisso, Bertagnioli and Taddei(all 2014) will probably see out their contracts or leave for peanuts this Summer.

• I just wanted to share this with you guys but EA has bloody done it again! I’m playing FIFA 13 with Roma, in my second year as a manager. Castan doesn’t want to renew his contract and is eager to join a big club (even though he’s not exactly Puyol or Maldini ingame) while Goicoefuckinchea wants a salary rise and I’m still stuck with Bojan because no one wants him. I had to sell Osvaldo to Genoa to buy Destro’s contract, Bradley is better than Totti, Balzaretti can actually cross, Curci still sucks and I just lost 0-2 to Zürich in the Europa League. Just to inform you things could have been much worse under me than under Sabatini and co. Now excuse me while I try to stay away from Trigoria as far as possible.

• In other news: Palermo’s president Zamparini has completely lost the plot. He and Berlusconi should team up and start a band called The Incredible Idiots, The Talented Twats or The Relentless Retards.

Putting Parma in my pocket


Hmmmm this one’s easier… I think. What’s easy and what’s hard for a team like Roma nowadays? I long for a good old trashing, 5, 6 or even 7-0. However, I feel Parma won’t be that game just yet. The Gialloblu won 4-1 last weekend with Amauri scoring a hat trick. Guess who’ll be winning the Sorrentino award next week ey?


Let’s hope Parma will be the game where we really kickstart our season and try to reach CL places! (getting tired of it yet?). Whatever, just give me a win and be done with it. The only games that really count for me from now on are Lazio and Inter. Or games where Romagnoli and Marquinhos play, damn I already miss those kids. As always, thanks for reading and until next week!

“Totti is simply a champion and, like all champions, he has unlimited resources. He may have lost a bit of pace, but he makes up for that with technique. I was the first to use him in a more advanced attacking role because I realised that his success rate was very high every time he shot at goal. For me, he can still play on for a couple more years.” – Fabio Capello, 2013.

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