This is depressing, again. Francesco Totti will not be making the trip to Torino, and this whole medical situation running throughout the club is approaching shambles more and more each and every day. Nobody can get healthy, stay healthy, or just be healthy. The fact that Roma is still in the scudetto race is a testament to how good they really are, as the squad may be two deep, but it's not Inter two deep, with a payroll which could purchase a couple planets. So back to The Mirko Vucinic Show we go.
It's not all bad news on the injury front, though. Returning for this game are Marco Cassetti and Simone Perrotta. Both will be welcomed additions if you ask anyone but Cicinho. It'll be tough to justify giving either a start, but a late substitution is very probable/possible. I mean, they are making the trip, which wouldn't be the case unless they were truly ready (we assume).
Torino did well to stay up last year, barely beating the drop in the final weeks of the season despite having a lineup which was less Serie A Football Club and more Golden Girls. So they got a little bit younger over the summer by signing Eugenio Corini, David Di Michele and Alvaro Recoba. Right. All over 30. And Eugenio has a shadow on the field all the time which we can only assume is the Grim Reaper waiting for him to fall, break his hip, get deep wound sepsis and die.
Then there's that guy: Alessandro Rosina. You may have heard of him here before. Not just because he's good at Torino, but because we all seem to have 24/7 lucid dreams where he is rumbling down the field at the other Olimpico in red & yellow doing nice things. Making the knees of defenders buckle like a Barry Zito curveball (circa 2003). I don't think there's any question TGIP will be at least subconsciously aware of what he is doing on the field. I'm just hoping it's a personal audition, and that we hear a lot of veiled "Rosina is a fantastic talent that any team would be lucky to have", "Rosina could play on any team in Serie A because he is so versatile", and "I want to have Rosina's babies" from TGIP in the press conference afterwards.
The other of my dream purchases is also on this team in the form of Marco Motta. For some reason I just believe this kid has Roma written all over him. But that's way down the line, and we'll see if he even gets a run out onto the pitch.
1. Inter 37 (25)
2. Roma 32 (13)
3. Juventus 29 (17)
4. Udinese 28 (1)*
13. Torino 15 (-5)
Torino's point standings doesn't nearly do its season justice: 9 draws. NINE. In 15 games. 60% of their games wind up as they started, even. With two wins and 4 losses to go along with those sister kissings.
* - Dropped today's game to Catania. Woof.
Eh, this is one time where multiple Ds are really not a good sight (I apologize but I had to).
Roma: Antunes, Barusso, Julio Sergio, Brighi, Cassetti, Cicinho, De Rossi, Esposito, Ferrari, Giuly, Juan, Mancini, Doni, Mexes, Panucci, Perrotta, Pit, Pizarro, Tonetto, Vucinic
Torino: Portieri: Fontana, Sereni. Difensori: Comotto, Dellafiore, Di Loreto, Lanna, Motta, Natali. Centrocampisti: Barone, Bottone, Corini, Rosina, Vailatti, Zanetti. Attaccanti: Bjelanovic, Di Michele, Malonga, Recoba, Ventola.
Curci, Aquilani, Andreolli, Totti. There is a filthy amount of talent in that list. Fiddlesticks.
Also, Taddei will be watching from his couch because of too many yellows.
Panucci, Mexes, Juan, Tonetto;
Cicinho, Giuly, Mancini;
The way I see it, one of these days Cicinho has to realize that being more accepting towards a winger role will increase his playing time dramatically. Maybe this will be one of those days, because it would be nice having an extra body who can run down Rosinaldo. Could see a surprising start from Perrotta and Giuly out wide. Or maybe Tonetto at wing if Cassetti is all healed up. Basically, I can pick a line up for this team about as well as I can figure out women. It's all the same. Every time I think I'm getting somewhere, and form a decent theory, something happens making me realize I know close to nothing on a good day, jack shit on a bad one.
Comotto, Natali, Di Loreto, Dellafiore;
Grella, Barone, Corini, Rosina;
Ventola, Di Michele.
A lot of possibilities here. Recoba is a viable option out wide or up top, and it's nice to see that he can't even get off the bench in Torino, and not the striped bench. What a fucking waste of talent. Could see Zanetti in midfield, potentially Grella, maybe even Motta if Torino wants to lock down that flank (wouldn't that be wonderful if Max and Motta got starts on the wing - one flank, 4 fullbacks....dreamy).
Alessandro Rosina v Self-Explanatory: He's kind of in a sophomore slump, but he is still hugely dangerous and a one man machine who can create wondrous things from complete squadoosh, with a Perrotta-esque engine that just makes him that much more lethal. Should be a fun and tiring day for everybody who plays behind the ball.
Vucinic v Put Your Goddamn Finishing Booties On: Every few games, he'll look like sex on a pitch, scoring a goal or two and making everybody realize why he's called the "New Ibra" or new whomever (pick em). Then he'll go a couple games during the grace period and look like his shoes have barnacle-like protrusions on them which send the balls every which way but into the goal. Well this is that every fourth game or so, and they could damn well use a little bit of Vucigol.
Complacency v The Sneaky Sneaky: The attack is decent enough that it warrants some attention, Rosina warrants a dog leash and an electric collar, Recoba, if he starts/plays, still has a lot of talent and can do some things every 6 years; all of which is a lot of attention for an attack-minded team like Roma. The worry is you focus a little too much on other things and what you don't expect happens. Like Corini threads an unexpected ball, Barone plays like a World Champ and makes a couple runs towards net (but has teammates who will send him the ball, unlike a certain Inzaghi), Commotto starts sneaking in behind Rosina or whoever he's covering on the right. Torino is a decent, solid team which usually plays intelligently; and anybody can pull off smoke and mirrors when you're concentrated on something else.
Cicinho v Torino Offguard: In the same token, I'd like to see the build up from the back toned down a little bit, reel em in then unleash the hounds when Torino starts getting a false sense of confidence. This is why I'd like to see a little more Cicinho on the field - especially as RW - as I think he'd work nicely with the Holy Sans Totti Trinity of Mancini, Giuly, and Vucinic. Either way, I'd just like to see him get a shot here, somewhere on the field, because every time he steps on the field he is so dynamic he just appears as though he can be the difference maker, the one we saw in Milan. Give the old boy a run, Spal.
Roma v 2nd Half Roma: From the Livorno recap.:
The utterly baffling 2nd half record of AS Roma. Try and explain this one to me: Since the derby on Halloween, they have scored 17 goals. A whole three have come in the second half. That’s 17%. All year? 39 goals, 12 goals after the break. (30%)
If this trend continues, they'll need to get ahead early, hopefully by a couple goals, and ride it out. Let's hope they break the pattern.
Don't know what to expect, don't know what to predict. Torino can't be feeling good about that last game and they'll probably play not to lose/get embarrassed at home rather than press for the three points - which in short means look for the draw (shocking, I know). Maybe it was a wake up call and they'll be out to prove that they aren't a team which is going to get shellacked by all the big boys. They did well in holding Juventus until the 90th minute a few months ago, held Milan to a scoreless draw at home and I think they'll play safe, compress, as Livorno did, and try to win another point off of a formidable opponent. This time I don't think it will work. Roma for the win.
Score: 3-1 Roma
Goals: Vucinic (14), DDR (27), Rosina (60), Cicinho (71)
Mancini "Give-A-Shit-Factor": 8
When: 1500 CET, 0900 EST
Where: The Other Stadio Olimpico, Torino
Forecast: 2°C, sunny. Chilly, but better conditions than in Tuscany.