Totti Tuesday: The empty hands

Paolo Bruno

I fear I might be putting on a broken record at our crowded Church. Seventh Roma win on the trot, Gervinho goal, Taddei love, strong midfield.. . I’m almost running out of positive things to say here. And yet, I will try to fill my weekly post and not sound repetitive. Admittedly, there are worse things to be concerned about no?

Grass

Roma are the most in-form team in Serie A right now. No one will deny, well maybe only Lazio fans but they are too busy grazing in the grass and fighting for a top five spot anyway. Fifth consecutive win with a two-goal-difference. Week after week, Roma just keeps on collecting records. The last one is perhaps the biggest: Roma’s 24 wins this season up to now is its personal best since Serie A welcomed twenty teams (2004-2005). It would be such a big shame a season like 2013-2014 will end without a prize. Hopefully, this year will be remembered for ages in Rome as Rudi’s first and the turn-around Roma fans have been waiting all this time.

2013-2014 is slowly but steadily jumping over 2009-2010 and 2007-2008 as one of Roma’s finest seasons since the Scudetto. The Giallorossoi’s point total of those seasons were 80 and 82 respectively. A number they are on course to smash with a huge Hulk-like power. 79 points with five games left to play, I foresee at least three wins (Milan, Catania and Genoa). Alas, all those stats and praise right now still leaves Roma empty-handed. For now…

Defending Rodrigo Defendi

There’s at least one big consolation prize: automatic CL-qualification and the accompanied prestige, money and fame. 99% certain and achieved on Saturday after a relatively easy win against Atalanta. Don’t like him, never did. Is it because of German Denis? The narrowly avoided defeat back in December (Strootman drew level in minute 90)? Their boring play? Their colors (ugh, blue)?The fact that they are a team from the northern region? I’m glad Roma at least defeated them once under Garcia. Kinda like almost every other team in Serie A apart from Milan and Juve. But both those teams still have to visit the Olimpico in a surely hostile atmosphere.

Roma won with a decimated squad. No Florenzi, Pjanic, Strootman and Italy’s most in-form striker Destro. But with a Taddei and De Rossi on fire and a 100% Brazilian defense. There were times people would already go on a binge-drinking crusade when mentioning ‘Brazilians’ and ‘defense’ in the same sentence (thanks Doni, Cicinho and Rodrigo Defendi). Rudi manages to keep the Brazilians in check and even perform on the big stage. Castan and Dodo have improved a lot, Maicon seems back to his old level and Toloi looks a solid third/fourth option at CB for now. Toloi has five games left to earn his place for next season with Benatia injured and Romagnoli transformed into a LB, Roma can only benefit from Toloi's situation. Actually, Roma benefits from everyone’s situation as they all seem happy with their current role in Rome.

Risks and rules

Ljajic would be an exception to the rule here but after Saturday’s performance, don’t bank on him leaving just yet. Fiorentina’s a special game for a lot of players out there, on both the purple and the red camp. Montella will sure as hell use Aquilani and Pizarro to heat up things next Saturday. Will Rudi risk it to deprive Adem of a four-star-perfomance against his former colleagues? It's not like there are many valuable alternatives out there. Adem's past (Fiorentina) will decide his future..

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