Totti Tuesday: ‘Braces, pacemakers & gentlemen‘

Claudio Villa

The last one. Well ok that’s not entirely true. The last-one-except-that-particular-derby-game-aka-WW III. Old (AA) and possibly new (Mazzari) clashed on Sunday evening. There was nothing at stake at the Olimpico for both teams, Napoli had CL qualification in the bag while Roma just… you know… kinda sorta ‘existed’ in Serie A, doing nothing in particular for ten months. 6th or 7th were the only possible outcomes for the Giallorossi.

People at the stadium expected a thrilling game nonetheless between two of the most entertaining sides of Serie A (Wow that sounds rather contradictory now isn’t it? So Roma). 4-3 or 3-5? Cavani hattrick or Goicoechea scoring a header? Bradley shutting down Napoli’s midfield or Osvaldo scoring an ugly goal? Sabatini to quit smoking or Taddei to start a modelling chippendale career at Berlu's bunga bunga parties? Flip a coin sir.

This game was about one man only though: Walter Mazzari. He reportedly was close to Inter on Saturday while Roma acted like that less attractive but still fairly cute blond girl with braces at the prom lurking around the corner, promising an even bigger BJ than your current date… Or something like that. Nevermind, I had a bad youth ok? Banners at the Olimpico read ‘Welcome to Roma’. Did they convince Walter or not? We’ll soon find out.

Meeting Mazzari’s men in a meaningless match


Roma missed Totti, Balzaretti, Daniele, Stekelenburg and ‘Hos against Napoli. That are five as good as certain starters for the team. ‘Hos and Totti will be sorely missed although Balzaretti had a nice run in May too. Daniele? Go on boy, nothing to see here. Stekelenburg? Better learn some English words from the dictionary like movement and self-esteem. Ow and try not to act conspicuous in the streets of Londen, people might mix you up with Chris Martin from Coldplay.


Now we’re talking about ‘cold play’… AS Roma! Brianf*cking people ever since 1927 and counting. This time, a home defeat against midtable team Chievo was followed by a prestigious 0-0 draw in Milan (which stays a good result), playing with confidence for a big part of the game only to be denied a goal by Abbiati and Mexes. The Giallorossi could see Napoli as a small ‘partitella’, with Lazio in their backminds. Aurelio released a pretty young team on Sunday evening, the average age was around 24 years (Lobont not inclu). Don’t worry, I heard they all got permission from their parents to play.


Andreazzoli was mostly spot on with his 4-2-3-1. Dodo/Marquinho combo on the left, Pjanic in the hole, Destro up front, Torosidis RB, Lobont in goal. Sad diagnosis: only one Italian in the starting lineup. It’s true both Totti and DDR were absent and Florenzi, Balzaretti and Osvaldo usually start as well but I hope the suits do look at some Italian prospects this Summer.

Sunday was one of Roma’s best display’s in 2013 (I know that ain’t saying much but bear with me). Maybe because they felt no pressure or because they were simply happy the season ended. Or maybe the team just needed some less Daniele and more Taxi in midfield. Or maybe the players thought they were already playing Lazio due to Napoli’s blue shirts. Anyhow, both sides needed some time to switch into gear but at the end of the first half Roma was the most dangerous side, Destro hitting the post after a sneaky Marquinho shot. The Giallorossi started furiously after the break which resulted in two goals. Marquinho scored a screamer with his RIGHT (!!!!!!) and Destro beat former Roma target Rolando and Napoli-keeper Rosati in the box with his left.


Mazzari’s Napoli is known to be quick and dangerous on the counter with types like Cavani, Maggio and Hamsik but Burdisso and co neutralised the threat well. Cavani’s goal was simply an unlucky clearance by Lobont. It could have easily been 3-1 after that (Lamela, Florenzi, Destro…). Roma traditionally performs better against teams who come out to play while they inexplicably fail against teams who are known to park the bus /tank/Boeing/Titanic/Snorlax in front of their goal. Fix that and we’re looking at CL places.


IMO it was a good overall display from the entire team: defense, midfield and attack. Which goes to show the 4-2-3-1 is still loved and admired around Rome. It was by far the best possible formation to field this season, not the 4-3-3 nor the 3-4-2-1. Sometimes, old lovers are the best… Well except if they’re 80+ of course. No need for pacemakers and cardiologists to work overtime.


So Roma go out with a bang, defeating no2 at home. AND they leapfrog Lazio in the standings. AA deserved it for all his work. He has his limits and may not be the perfect trainer for Roma for ‘13-‘14 but he did a fine damn job after Zeman with the resources he had at his disposal. Love him or hate him, Rome is not the easiest of environments so kudos to Aurelio for accepting the job back in February.

Awards


The Samuel award: Burdisso. I know he has a big contract but it would be very wise to keep Nico one more season. Even if Saba buys a CB this Summer (hi Toby), can you think of a better third choice CB in Serie A than Nico?


The JSB award
: Lobont. See Burdisso. Even if Saba buys a GK in Summer (hi Rafael), can you think of a better second or third choice GK in Serie A than Bogdan? Five games, two goals conceded and a clearly more confident defense at ease in front of him.


The Doni award: Marquinho. Oooh Singular, you so silly. But I forgive your mistake/brainfart for shooting with your right foot this time.


The Osvaldo award
: Destro. Typical striker’s goal in Napoli’s box. And he missed a huge chance as well. The look of Osvaldo on Roma’s bench said it all really: Mattia’s here to stay while Ozzy’s becoming paranoid (See that little Black Sabbath pun? God I love myself).

Notes


• Just when I thought the Coppa game couldn’t get anymore epic… This happens. I have a feeling Roma and Lazio won’t be ‘gentlemen’ on Saturday tough.

• Okaka will turn 24 this Summer. Wow, suddenly I feel old. Anyone here in Church who remembers his debut in Europe as a 16-year-old against Aris back in 2005? Panucci scored twice then. Ugh I miss Christian. And Cufre. And Mancini. And Ferrari. No, not you Kuffour.

• When visiting the official site, you’ll notice a pop-up window with a countdown number. I expect it to be two things: The imminent signing and long-awaited comeback of Simone Loria for ‘13-’14 & the unveiling of the new stadium: Stadio Luigi Sartor.

• If we do end up with Max Allegri, I want this to become Roma’s official anthem after we score at the Olimpico. F*ckin classic.

Fiery final fight for entering Europe’s elite


Enough has been said already. I hope to welcome you next week with a nice little silver star on my chest (ten Coppe). Let the Derby della Capitale commence. Bring it on, goats of Sparta!


Ps: Hide the children.

“Have Roma already found my successor? Have you forgotten that there is already a Coach here with full power to do his job? I get bored repeating the same things all the time. I’ve already said that I’d confirm myself in the job. Maybe I’ll change it up for you: I’d definitely fire myself, as I am incompetent!” – Aurelio Andreazzoli, 2013

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