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Welcome Back To Rome Redux: Il Capitano Returns

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tottiblog460.jpgRoma v Udinese

I didn't exect to be doing this right now, but hey, no complaints: Francesco Totti is back thanks to the majestic powers of the Super Secret Boot, aka the Reebok Pumps with studs (or Diadora, whatever). I have to say I'm a little surprised, but not completely shocked. This will likely prove to be one of the biggest games of the campaign, he is the captain, this is his team, and he puts Roma above all else. Thus, he returns.

Now, just because he's on the squad list doesn't mean he'll necessarily start or even play. And if he does, it almost definitely won't be a full 90. As has been established, contusions, medically speaking, suck ass, and can be more cumbersome than injuries with more structural damage. The first time he takes a knock upside the ankle, boot or no boot, I'm sure it won't feel like butterflies and cupcakes. So there's no way that TGIP plays him if he's risking further damage and an even more extended spell in the stands. Nor does it mean Vucigol will necessarily spend much or most of the game on the sidelines.

"L'ho detto già altra volte: Totti può giocare con Vucinic".

Oh baby. (He says they can play together.)

Of course this changes the whole game, and only the return of Francesco could make me do another whole preview (well amend a preview).


Squads

Roma: ANTUNES Gabriel, BARUSSO Ahmed, BRIGHI Matteo, CASSETTI Marco, CURCI Gianluca, CICINHO, DE ROSSI Daniele, ESPOSITO Mauro, FERRARI Matteo, GIULY Ludovic, JUAN, MANCINI Alessandro, MARANGON Alexander, MEXES Philou, PANUCCI Christian, PIT Adrian, PIZARRO David, FRANCESCO MOTHER@#$%ING TOTTI, TONETTO Max, VUCINIC Mirko, ZOTTI Carlo.

Udinese:
Portieri - Chimenti, Handanovic, Saulo; Difensori - Coda, Dossena, Ferronetti, Lukovic, Mesto, Zapata, Zapotocny; Centrocampisti - Boudianski, D'Agostino, Eremenko, Inler, Pinzi, Sivok; Attaccanti - Asamoah, Di Natale, Floro Flores, Paolucci, Pepe, Quagliarella.

* - Zapata is in. I'd prefer he stayed out, but we'll see if he plays.

Injuries

With Philou, Il Capitano and Taddei back, it's now only Simone Perrotta and King Alberto out - and both I suspect will be for at least a couple more games. Oh yeah, and Marco Andreolli is still dead. R.I.P. (I refuse to call him this year's Gilberto Martinez. GM wasn't worth 7m at 20 years old and likened to Alesssandro Nesta. At least not outside of Bananaland.)

Probable XIs


Rome:

Doni;
Panucci, Mexes, Juan, Tonetto;
DDR, Pizarro;
Taddei, Giuly, Mancini;
Totti.

Yup, I've got him starting.

Udinese:

Handanovic;
Coda, Zapata, Lukovic;
Mesto, Inler, D’Agostino, Dossena;
Pepe, Quagliarella, Di Natale.

I think Zapata plays...bastard.

Key Matchups

Totti v Totti: As if it wasn't already obvious. Can he play and play effectively?

Totti's Game

When Totti is hurt, tired, or less than 100%, he tends to play more of a "hover" game. Meaning he probably isn't going to emulate Simone by running like a madman all over the pitch, but probably stay a little further upfield, not drift so far back as often and accept the ball more as a playmaker than as a striker. And then, you know the drill: Hold the ball up, because as we know nobody can take the ball off an even 50% Totti, and wait for those vaunted overlaps and runs from the back, spraying out passes and creating as he's done once or twice in his career. Basically, be Andrea Pirlo from up top. Not that he won't score a goal or anything.

You can still get at the other preview, which mostly still fits, here.


Predictions


Score:
3-1 Roma
Goals: Mancini (17), Totti (28) D'Agostino (47), Mancini (59)
MOTM: Mancini
Mancini "Give-A-Shit-Factor": 8.5
Totti Sub: 67th



FORZA ROMA