If you want to discuss Pablo Osvaldo's future in Rome, you're going to have to look elsewhere because the present is far too confusing a time for such analysis. Jetting off to London for the derby? Hat trick? Still jeered by fans? Loved by teammates? This is not a day to envy the jobs of sirs Baldini and Sabatini, that much we know. The romantics in the crowd will claim he was proving his desire to be in Rome, while the cynics will flame a man playing for his next contract in London or Firenze, and perhaps the realists will note that competition can do wonders and the arrival ofMattia Destro sparked an upturn in Pablo's game. It's one of them. Or maybe something else. Yeah, it's something. It's definitely something.
So, umm...thanks for the goals. We'll see how things turn out the rest of the year and reassess then. At the very least, the bump in transfer value is nice.
The man worth championing, really, is Bogdan Lobont. Having watched not one but two men assume the throne which should rightfully be his throughout the season, he waited quietly in the shadows, sitting on his moment to pounce - and pounce the mancat did. Do you really think it to be coincidence Roma reigned victorious over a four-nil scoreline whilst he cast the shadow between the sticks? Absolutely not. Should he start the remaining matches? Without a doubt. The freedom allowed by the knowledge that a proper keeper sits in net is priceless. His spirit does more for Roma's prospects than a thousand superstar signings.
No, but really. He should play. Did you see that thing he did on that shot? Twas utterly extraordinary. I think they call it'moving' or something.
Who knows - maybe that will catch on.
Despite the goals and obvious press Pablo will now get (of the positive variety finally), the Man of the Match was, for me, Alessandro Florenzi. Quietly, he's been having perhaps the most consistent 2013 of anyone on the side not named Totti, which is achievement enough in itself given his age. It's one thing to be "everywhere", as they say. Torosidis is often everywhere. Dodo is sometimes everywhere. Michael Bradley spent 2012 being everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. Florenzi, by contrast, is often in the right places all the time. His football IQ is high, not unlike Miralem Pjanic, and it shows in his performances. Today was simply a more dynamic example of more of the same. But it wasn't just another day: Florenzi wasn't supposed to play. It was merely a tummy ache - scientific term - but he was sick and supposedly out. And as any guy will tell you....pain? Bring it on. That's nothin'. Nausea, sickness, et cetera? Fuck that I'm out. I want my mommy and I quit life. Tell my suits I love them.
Nearer the end of the match, he had his hands on his knees, staring at the ground, looking like we were about to get a YouTube clip of Alessandro's pregame meal finding freedom. The same thing happened after every run. There's no doubt he was under the weather and far from 100%, yet he was everywhere. Against Siena. At home. All he had to say was that he wasn't fully fit and Aurelio would've replaced him in an instant. They should win this match. They should be able to win it without Florenzi, surely.
This is the character of the same guy we've been presented in the media since he returned to Roma; a guy who lived with his parents while playing for Roma, drove an old car, quietly going about his job with a pittance of a contract (for a while), and never wanting more. Everything they say about him off the pitch is embodied in the player we're offered on it. And better than that, he's good. He's becoming very, very good. And his movement, crashing the space, pulling defenders, darting not central but at an angle to create space for Osvaldo - it's the little things - went a long way.
The spirit of Spalletti's Roma lives on not in Aurelio, but in Alessandro. Early days, but we've long wondered whatSimone Perrotta's footballing mind and legs would look like with some real semblance of talent.
I give you....
- Mauro Goicoechea's buyout clause is less than I had in my pocket after a night out in college and it's still not getting picked up now.
- If Erik Lamela would at least pretend like he has to try that'd be fantastic. "Oh let me use absolutely perfect technique on this shot while it's only four centimeters off the ground so that it rolls into the net instead of ballooning high like everyone else would on the volley."
- Took until the second half or so to realize that was Nico Burdisso back there.
This is a good thing.
- It's been roughly 135 minutes, but along with the performances of youngsters Destro, Lamela and Florenzi of late, the excitement that Federico Balzaretti's career might be off life support is really titillating. There was a moment there where it seemed like the DNR papers were already filled out. Or maybe I was just hoping.
- Florenzi is becoming so good at it there is a genuine curiosity as to how much tutelage he's getting from Perrotta in training. There is no reason, unless he wants to see out his career playing 3000 minutes, Simone Perrotta should not have a contract in Rome next year in some capacity. The guy has coach written all over him.
- This is the type of match in which Michael Bradley should thrive, and he did - always more so when Daniele's not on the pitch. The comparison in the beginning was Matteo Brighi, and though he'll likely never carry a team on his back the way Matteo did in 08-09, he can carve a niche for some years. He's a good squad member, especially against middle-of-the-pack teams and lower and frankly, that's what Roma needs more of while the kids are growing. It's just that if/when Roma does actually become a CL team, "Hey Michael, Sampdoria wants you on loan. Errr...so thanks. Bye."
- This was just Siena, but...
None of the discussed choices look so much better than giving Aurelio a chance for another year at this point. These are his first months as a coach, after all. Who knows what a summer could do.
The new old Roma versus the new Roma. And no, Champions League is not a prayer, so stop that right now. But you are allowed to tuck yourself in with dreams of Fiorentina salivating over Pablo while resigning themselves to the fact that they will lose Stevan Jovetic sooner rather than later and so why the hell not oh dear this is going to be a long week.