(ICYMI = In case you missed it, which is mostly what this is.)
Oh Glory Be Glory Be, Alberto Aquilani Returns
It seems like it's been eternity, but it was "only" October 2nd when King Alberto went down in Chanmester. 14 weeks later here we are and the boy has begun training again, with a potential look towards the game on Wednesday against Torino. Might be a little soon, they'll undoubtedly be putting down the kid gloves in favor of the infant variety in this case, but it's very feasible he sees a little late game cameo if he's truly ready. And it can't come soon enough. This team needs him desperately; or more specifically, Daniele De Rossi needs him desperately. They does alright with David, usually, but it's on a whole 'nother planet with Alberto in there.
Still, if recent times are any sort of barometer, we won't be seeing him until after the break, when Roma meets up with Atalanta on January 13th (that's going to be a painful 3 weeks here, let's hope for some absolutely asinine transfer rumors). There is little reason to risk him for either a Coppa match or a home game against Sampdoria unless he's reeeeeally ready. But yes, watching #8 run out onto the pitch, whenever it may be, will be a site for sore eyes.
In case you missed the story last Friday, the place where Alberto was rehabbing, a sports facility in Cesenatico, was closed down because they had a guy who got his medical certificate from kinko's. I did the write up for the homepage (which can be read here), but in terms of Roma this could be a good thing. Maybe they'll finally send him somewhere which can get him completely healthy and keep him from getting bed sores on the trainer's table.
Simone Takes Exception To Mirko's Non-Call
There is just a 3 second clip in the beginning of this video, but I don't think you need any more to understand how Simone felt about that no-call on the foul against Mirko in the box. He was PISSED. Being restrained and all. I love this type of fire and passion. It's too bad they had to wait until the tunnel after the game...
(Hit mute now, trust me)
No Antonio For Roma
Antonio had a meltdown of epic proportions and is out for the game against Roma this weekend, the game which he called "the biggest of his life". You don't suppose he was taking this as sort of an audition for Rosella & Co., do you? Of course she doesn't feel that way, but he may have seen it as such. You know, being insane and all.
And for the record, I don't advocate bringing Antonio back. I'll always advocate his talent, but Antonio the football player is a far shout from Antonio the person. He needs to prove he is capable of mental stability before he should even be entertained as a potential returnee. Altogether, I just feel bad for the guy. After the shenanigans of the last 2 months (walking off the pitch, getting into a shouting match with Renzo Uliviei, now this), it looks to be more than just needing to grow up. (Also, more Tony in the preview of the homepage's 10 Things We Learned About Serie A for tomorrow.)
Ricci, who isn't even a Roma fan, pretty much hit the nail on the head with some of Roma's issues in the Torino game recap (he usually does the same with the Azzurri, as well). And I thought they should be given the spotlight:
1) Although the team is much better with Totti, I believe if everyone else is healthy, the team could still push for a scudetto.
2) If Pizzaro has a great game defensively, he fits into the system. Most of the time he doesn’t. Although with the 4-2-3-1 you don’t need two Gattuso type players, having some defensive skills is a must,especially since the 4 up front are super attacking-minded. De Rossi is the hardest working man in calcio. If he has a bad game, Roma will have a bad game - as evident against Torino. He’s an unbelievable player but his responsibilities on the field are enormous. Pizzaro is not a trequartista and will never be. Pair him with someone like Mascherano/Gattuso/Ambro and he will be a great player. Having De Rossi play like Gattuso is not smart, and it’s just wasting the potential/talent of DDR.
3) The system is too rigid. Spaletti tries to make up for the defensive lackings of Pizzaro by playing Panucci at RB and not Cicinho so the defense doesn’t get exposed. Like someone said before, he’s over analyzing. He needs to pick the best 11 and leave it at that. Giuly was awful yesterday, should have been off at halftime, but Spaletti left him on because Panucci is somewhat defensive and he wanted attacking on that flank. It’s not like Panucci is fucking Maldini, he gets beat a lot just like Cicinho. Cicinho in the lineup changes the entire system and I would put my house on it that Roma score yesterday with Cicinho in. I’d rather have Cicinho on that right flank than Giuly at this point. Cicinho is such an accurate crosser, passer and has a fucking cannon. Giuly should be someone to come on late and run at tired legs, but Spaletti reversed their roles.
I love when Roma play that dynamic, attacking, one touch calcio and Spal. needs to realize that he’s overanalyzing.
I'll just add that part of Panucci is to make up for Giuly, as well, but the overall point about Pizarro and his effect on the team is dead on. I said this in an email last night, which was pretty much the same thing:
“David Pizarro is the other guy killing this team. He’s completely eliminating DDR’s offensive talents because he has to babysit DP all the time. I can’t remember the last time I saw Daniele in the box when it wasn’t a dead ball situation. It’s sad really, and he’s a Spalletti guy. I made bold statements about Aquilani in the summer, but I never could have seen him being completely indispensable right now.”
I've backed off, but no matter how well he plays, I can't help feeling like he limits this team.
* - Rumors, later.