The guy just cannot stop scoring goals. 6 goals, 7 games and propelling Roma to another 3 points minus Il Capitano in the span of a week. If you had told before the season started that Totti would miss two games and that Roma would take 6 points in the Champons League and at the San Siro I would've called you a lunatic. But alas, what a difference a season - and health - makes. Mirko Vucinic has become a true #9. Not looking pretty for a full 90, but getting the job done and taking the result that needs to be taken.
Aside from Mirko was the unbelievably stellar performance from Cicinho on the attack both for continually pressuring the Milan back four and Dida, and also for the assist on the goal. What's more impressive, though, is that Cicinho was running to one time a cross when he looked up, held back, waited for Vuci to get into position and then put a perfect laser onto his noggin, making sure Mirko was the only person getting to that ball, and it was up to him to decide the fate of the ball. There should be little reason for any unrest from Cicinho, as he has proven himself worthy of a starting XI spot often.
However, those two offensive performances aside my MOTM was Juan. Just farkin' unbelievable how great some of his tackling was, and he appeared to be taking men off the ball almost at will. Not to mention how he and his comrades completely took Kaka out of the game and rendered much of Milan's attack moot (although they really need to work on crosses into the box, eventually those headers are going to start going in).
Along with Juve's loss and Inter's lackluster draw with Palermo (Inter? Lackluster? Ya don't say...), this means Roma has thrown themselves back into the race just 3 behind the Argies, with only one game remaining before the Serie A schedule gets exceptionally easy compared to the run of calcio hell they've just endured. Just one more. And then Roma will be playing the likes of Cagliari, Catania and Livorno while Inter still has Napoli, Fiorentina, Juve and Milan to worry about. Suddenly the skies have opened up and the sun appears to be shining directly on Rome - and damn well it should be.
* - Genoa might be playing well, but let's not kid ourselves here, they're not all that wonderful. Remind me I said that after the Fiorentina game, because I'm either going to look very right or like a complete ass. I hope to look like the latter - for Roma's sake.
1. Inter 6-0-3 21pts (+12)
2. Roma 5-1-3 18pts (+8)
3. Juve 5-2-2 17pts (+8)
4. Viola 4-0-4 16pts (+9)
5. Udinese 4-2-3 15pts (-1)
6. Napoli 4-3-2 14pts (+6)
12. Milan 2-3-4 10pts (+4)
13. Lazio 2-3-4 10pts (-3)
Obviously if Lazio was any other team this upcoming game would look quite tasty and delicious, but a derby is a derby is a derby. Who the hell knows what's going to happen. But this is a quality start and it will only be so long before Inter starts getting steamrolled by some mediocre opponents because they're just not that good. Their play is so ugly it's disgusting.
Anyway, I think we're about to see the Carletto job watch. In case you missed it, Silvio had a guest in the stands on Sunday. A guest by the name of Don Fabio. Hmmm....
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Kaladze, Maldini (33' st Favalli); Gattuso (29' st Serginho), Pirlo, Ambrosini; Kakà, Seedorf; Gilardino.
A disposizione: Kalac, Bonera, Brocchi, Gourcuff, F. Inzaghi. All. Ancelotti
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Doni; Cicinho (39' st Panucci), Mexes, Juan, Cassetti; De Rossi, Pizarro; Mancini (31' st Giuly), Perrotta (13' st Brighi), Tonetto; Vucinic.
A disposizione: Curci, Ferrari, Barusso, Esposito. All.: Spalletti
ARBITRO: Rosetti di Torino
GUARDALINEE: Griselli e Calcagno
QUARTO UOMO: Damato
MARCATORI: al 27' st Vucinic
NOTE: ammoniti al 12' Ambrosini per scorrettezze, al 38' Vucinic, al 40' Nesta, al 7' st Gattuso, al 22' st Mexes, al 37' st Favalli, al 42' st De Rossi e al 44' st Seedorf per gioco falloso, al 40' st Panucci per perdita di tempo. Espulso al 35' st Ambrosini per doppia ammonizione. Al 35' st De Rossi fallisce un calcio di rigore.
1' We're off, as am I for a couple, the woman got in a fight with the ceiling fan and the ceiling fan kicked her ass.
5' Nesta plays the ball off Mancini's arm, otherwise Mancini was off to the races.
6' Early in games Roma is tending to give too much space in the middle before compacting as the game goes. Something to watch out for against quick-hitting sides (See: CL).
10' Roma working well to the flanks. Welcome to the not-so-super-secret Serie A gameplan against Milan. Now pass it on to their next opponent.
12' The Brazilian Connection of Mancini and Cicinho play very well off each other. All that flair on one flank, I don't know if I can contain myself. Check that, I can.
Ambro hugs David for a yellow, must've thought he was a stuffed animal.
14' Somebody forgot to inform Cicinho he plays for Roma now. His boots are light blue. Change that before Wednesday.
16' Kaka shoots to the left and misses a goal by about a foot. See, this is why you don't give space to him in the center of the pitch. Also, if you're tall, get dressed away from the ceiling fan. Write that down.
18' Cicinho could land a helicopter with the amount of space they're giving him on the right. Of course they can't close him down because he'll just blow past them. I heart Brazilian fullbacks.
19' Cicinho is taking shots like whoa. Or a lot of shots. I still don't know what "like whoa" means, but I've been using it since 1997.
22' Great shot by DDR and Dida saces. Dida is like a Catholic hooker today. Getting tested often.
24' Vucigol keeps trying to beat the D, somebody forgot to inform him he's not in Kansas anymore. Or Portugal. Nesta and Maldini is as good as it gets.
25' Juan owns Milan. Just owns them right now.
26' Vucigol misses a sitter, though I can't tell if he was taken down from behind or not.
30' Aside from the first few minutes, this half has been Roma and all Roma, though Milan has been defending well in the center of the pitch (duh). Welcome to Roma's home away from home: The San Meazza.
Roma is getting chance after chance after chance, but Dida is playing relatively well (meaning he's not letting in any howlers and he hasn't feigned death yet). A goal at this point looks inevitable. (I wrote that down during the game, I really did. Honest.)
33' Another amazing challenge by Juan. I heart Brazilian defenders.
37' Vuci gets a yellow for a standard tackle from a striker.
39' Vuci consistently thisclose to breaking away from Nesta. Unfortunately, never does. Most of Europe knows how he feels.
43' Philou gets into the 6 yarder late but takes the ball out. I hope Domenech was watching, but I suspect he's at home watching his wife with another guy.
44' I think Simone has gone to the locker room early, like around the 10th minute. Wait, he's still here.
49' Cafu needs to walk away. Just walk away.
51' Nice move by Ivan The Silent Kitten (at least today), but his shot is right at Alexander. I heart Brazilian keepers.
The theme of the second half is "everybody go to ground". Pirlo tackles Cicinho from behind, earns a yellow.
53' Mancini sends a corner towards the third moon of Jupiter, Oddo looking proud in the stands.
56' David runs directly into Pirlo's ass, wins a free kick. You can add that onto his "pros" list.
Very sloppy all of a sudden. The ball is also in the air more. Coincidence? Probably not. Ball. Ground.
58' Not sure Vuci has touched the ball yet this half.
60-70' Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Mexes yellow. Blah.
72' Veni. Vidi. Vucigol.
In Mirko We Trust. 1-0.
75' Mancini off, Lulu gone. The Oompa Loompa right flank returns.
80' Ambro gets red for a tug in the box, PK won by Daniele.
83' All yellows, all the time. The ref is handing them out like party favors at this point.
84' Old Man River for Cicinho. Panucci immediately gets a yellow. Atta boy. He felt out of place without one. I want one too.
87' Milan is playing a kazillion times more effective with 10 men, and without Ambro. I hope The Don Doni is watching.
90' Hmmm...5 mins added on. Welcome to the San Siro.
93' Gulu misses the clincher. We need The Closer, Francesco, back as soon as possible.
95' Game. Set. Vucigol.
Doni: Pretty composed and positioned himself very well much of the time, making saves look easy, even though Gila had two headers thisclose to going in. Good Doni arrived, and it was greatly appreciated. 7.5
Cicinho: Stellar performance on the attack. Defensively he still gives a little too much space, which could be a result of spending so much time up near the box. If he could close down just a little better much of the issues with crosses into the box would be rendered moot. Still, a great game and I'd take that whole performance out of him 8 days a week. 7.5
Mexes: Good work from Philou, and probably saved a goal with his slide tackle in the 6 yard box. However, he needs to work on his aerial abilities, as he was beaten twice by Gila on what could've been deciding goals. 7
Juan: I can't rave enough about him. I really can't. 8
Cassetti: Strange start on the left, and it appears Cicinho has earned his time at RB now, so Marco will be looking elsewhere on the pitch for work some days. More involved as the game progressed and was effective both attacking and defending. A solid game. 7
DDR: Penalty aside, typically fantastic game from Daniele. To the point where I began thinking he'd be a great central defender. Great holding up the ball and doling out passes, although I though he missed a couple potential through balls to Mirko which would have left him space in front of Dida - but that's just nit-picking. He honored the armband well. 7.5
* - On PKs, everyone needs to stop with the bottom right placement and spoons and just run up and blast the fucking ball into the back of the net.
Pizarro: Alright, just alright. Didn't do much outside of kick the ball out wide or dump off passes, and only a few of his passes wound up at the foot of a red& black jersey, which is an improvement. Not bad overall, but not good either. 7
Max: He has acclimated so well to LB I always forget he spent much of his career on the wing. His crosses often leave something to be desired, but he did well in keeping possession and waiting for the Clusterfuck to form and play the ball well off his help, but wasn't overly useful. Similar to David: Decent. 7
Perrotta: He clearly was not ready to return. N/A
Mancini: A bajillion times more effective out wide with Cicinho, but still spent much of the day in his barcalounger in the center of the pitch. He provides the odd moment of flair, but that's not enough anymore. Get his head on straight, and until he does that, start someone else (I suspect we'll see Mirko at LW on Wednesday). 6
Mirko: It wasn't always pretty, it wasn't always highly effective, but he did what he was supposed to do and he scored yet another goal for another 3 points (while being marked by Nesta, no less). That's all you can ask from your goal poachers. 7.5
Brighi: I don't know if it was the position or just coincidence, but neither he nor Simone really made their presence greatly known throughout the game. 6.5
Lulu Gulu: A few effective moments, and I was relatively surprised he was brought on instead of Panucci with Cicinho pushing further up (maybe it had something to do with that press conference this week). Almost put the game away, and his speed kept Milan from forgetting he was on the pitch. That is very big, especially when the opposition only has 10 men to work with. 7
Panucci: He was like the basketball center who is brought in simply to absorb fouls. Brought on, got a card for time wasting in less than a minute. That, my friends, is effective use of your pitch time. N/A
Ref: Completely lost the game in the second half. Anyway, Ambro was thisclose to getting his second yellow for insulting the ref's mother the entire second half. -6
Philou & J-Smooth v Alberto Gilardino: So close, but almost only counts in horseshoes. Winner: J-Smooth & Philou
Kaka v Dear Christ Help Us All: Contained for much of the game and really only had a few spots where his impact was scary. A standing ovation to the entire team for keeping him in check and reminding everyone who the real Golden Ball winner should be. Winner: Dear Christ Helped Us All
Milan v Roma’s Love Of Milan: Last 6 games, 4-1-1. I say they move Giallorossi home games to the San Siro. Winner: Roma's Love of Milan
Mancini v Oddo (Or Cafu): Oddo was in the stands, Mancini might as well have been. Anyways, Roma did a good job of exposing the left flank, and I think it's time for Cafu to start gracefully backing himself out of the game. Enthusiasm can only do it for so long. Winner: Roma's Left Hand Flank
Roma v Set Pieces: Roma did a great job of not allowing many chances on goal for Pirlo and Kaka, and defended effectively in their rare set pieces. A great improvement on the last few games. Winner: Roma
MOTM: Juan. Making Chivu look like Sally Swiss Cheese. I'm going to go ahead and say one of the top 3 signings in Europe for both price and performance from last summer.
From the preview post:
Therefore, Roma goes into this game needing to play as one helluva cohesive unit, and use the strength of the system and a few individual plays here or there.
Check and check. Without Totti, Roma needs to be able to play for the victory as a team, and when Il Capitano returns they can start thinking about scoring 7 goals a game. Perfect gameplan by me. Also...
Now onto the bastards...