As a player, when you have a rough game or an undesired result, usually your first wish is to get a chance at retribution. Being afforded the opportunity to exact a little bit of revenge. As a fan, you cannot wait to forget about it, move on, watch the next opponent. Well guess what. Roma gets to play the exact same team in the exact same stadium on the exact same pitch. Wonderful. Let's hope they upgrade from shit to ass for this game.
The game will be much different, with a huge amount of turnover in at least one of the rosters. This one's all about the children. While all injured/kinda injured fellers have been left out (including King Alberto), we may get to see the debut of a few of Roma's youngest studs: Daniel Unal, Claudio Della Penna and Joao Marangon, better known as Doni's little brother. Exciting times, because we may just get a glimpse of the future.
As far as the game goes, it's the beginning of Roma's title defense and that's about that. As sweet as the victory at the end of the last year was (and I'm not sure which was sweeter, the actual trophy or just bitching Inter all over the Stadio Olimpico for a day), the views on this year's edition are very different. Quite frankly, this is a whole nother team with higher expectations, and while a repeat would be butterflies and cupcakes, Roma has bigger fish to fry. Namely, making an assault on Europe and climbing back into the scudetto race.
So, while a win against Torino in this leg/round would be wonderful, I won't be all that upset if they lose. Mainly because of all the injuries this team has sustained over the course of the last however many months. I'm not sure Roma can withstand three competitions worth of fixtures with whatever asshole is up in the heavens poking a set of Giallorossi voodoo dolls with a bunch of samurai swords. They get tired as it is with TGIP's Anti-Rafa Movement, add in the injuries and they'll have no choice but to walk the Primavera out onto the pitch with this roster by March if it keeps up. While Roma now has depth, they are certainly not deep, and there is massive chasm between the two definitions.
All that said, I hope Roma slashes their way through the next four opponents in the tournament like Lizzy Borden at a family Christmas party. (I just won't cry if they don't.)
BERTAGNOLI J. Sergio
DE ROSSI Daniele
DELLA PENNA Claudio
MARANGON Joao Paulo (Prenderà il numero 39)
UNAL Daniel (Prenderà il numero 38)
Torino: Portieri: Fontana, Sereni. Difensori: Comotto, Dellafiore, Di Loreto, Lanna, Natali. Centrocampisti: Barone, Bottone, Grella, Lazetic, Vailatti, Zanetti. Attaccanti: Bjelanovic, Di Michele, Malonga, Oguro, Recoba, Stellone, Ventola.
Santa Claus has a better chance of impregnating Rudolph than I do of picking the correct lineup, but that's never stopped me before. Regardless, one of the more important aspects of the game is who actually plays.
Cicinho, Ferrari, Juan, iTunes;
Giuly, Perrotta, Pit;
• Barusso and Espo, two almost assured starters, have decided to fuck with my predictions and are disqualified for the game (for doing what who the hell knows, but we'll assume it happened with Cagliari and Rimini).
• Cicinho absolutely has to start this game or we may see a Lizzy B reenactment in TGIP's office soon.
• I know Curci has been hurt, but I can't imagine he would've been shipped up to the northwest corner if he was unable to stand in between the sticks. And if the plan is the same as last year, this will be his best/only chance at getting some PT provided he isn't loaned out in the next month. If not, J. Serg? Zotti? Giuly? Who knows.
• One of DDR or David will presumably have to pair with Brighi if the Poobah's sticking with the same formation. I pray it's David.
• Rumor has it Adrian Pit (Pronounced 'Piz') will be making his official Roma debut, and possibly in the starting XI. Dear Christ help us all.
• Perrotta could use a cup game to get himself injured in (again) like I could use an acute bout of AIDS, but I bet we'll see him in there, unless Spal decides to get really adventurous with the children. (Doubt it.)
• Totti's not playing against Sampdoria, I'd bet most of my life on that, so how much will Vuci be risked? Della Penna is obviously a kid who has something to offer - they wouldn't have brought him to Sicily in August if he was a bag of asses (we hope) - so it wouldn't be outlandish to think he gets some significant time. And I wouldn't be looking for flying, frozen pigs should he get the start, either.
No matchups because quite frankly, I have no idea who will play or what will happen. I bet there will be 23 guys on the field and a ball with be involved somehow, but that's about it. But here's a little look at the kids, from what I can tell, as there isn't a ton of info out there on any of them:
Daniel Unal.: The Swiss Superstud. Technically on loan from Bellinzona for the year with an option to buy, but knowing the relationship between the two teams, I'd suspect it's just a formality when he's brought over. Roma beat Juve and Milan to his signature, which has been around for 17 years (everybody ready to feel old? Daniel's a 90's baby. I'm 23 and even I feel old). Supposed to be a more well-rounded version of David Pizarro....this is the part where everybody weeps gentle tears of joy....and was captain of the Swiss U-17 squad before moving up the U-19's recently. Having never seen the kid play (despite trying furiously), it's hard to judge what kind of opportunities he'll be given, if any, but I would sure like to see what he looks like in Pizarro's spot for a half hour or so. Out of any of the three called up, this is the one I'd like to keep an eye on the most.
Joao "Doninho" Marangon.: Roma signed Doni's brother during the summer, which I failed to mention because I'm a bad Roman blogger, but in my defense, I was under the spell of the "Digao-effect". Digao being the brother of Kaka who can't crack the starting eleven of a Serie C club but mysteriously is on the Milan payroll. Probably has nothing whatsoever to do with Real Madrid and their cement trucks full of money. Anyway, here's the difference: I guess Doni's bro can play. At least recently. A tall striker, he's been scoring some goals recently for the Primavera, including one against Lazio in The little Derby a few weeks go and a brace against Frosinone more recently. I'd be hard pressed to say he sees some minutes, but it's possible. A name for the future, one to add to that potential targetman list down the line. Also, I made up that Doninho thing, but it works, right? ("Little Doni")
* - What if Roma scouts saw Doninho when he was like 12 and came to the conclusion that he was the greatest thing since sliced bananas, and signed Doni only so they could easily get the kid when his time to sign for a big club came around, not bbecause of Doni's decision making abilities? Would that be the greatest move in the history of management? A smoke and mirrors tactic to pick up the next big thing? What if Rosella is really a genius and all this is a rope-a-dope tactic before Roma unleashes an unprecedented 50 year run as European champions? All hail Rosella.
Claudio Della Penna.: He has already had his call up to the big leagues, but didn't get off the pine (or out of the stands, for that matter) when Roma traveled to Palermo to jump start the season. I suppose, understanding Spalletti's trust issues, he never would have called the kid up for the trip in the first place had he not put a twinkle in his eye. Maybe a little bit of a Spalletti an crush on the horizon?
Striker, I believe more of a trequartista/SS than a solo man up top, and the kid apparently puts up some big numbers down south in the kiddie leagues (no verification, but we'll run with the word of keyboard to get our hopes up). Reportedly fast, works well with the ball on the floor and has some quality technique for a youngster. The one 2 second clip I've seen of him displayed just that, with a lollipop shot over the keeper which knocked the crossbar from outside the area. So it looks like The Cucchiaio Grandmaster may have a protege on his hands. Out of the three kids brought to the game, he's gotta be the most likely to see some pitch time.
(High flying affair.)
Score: 3-1 Roma
Goals: Giuly (27), Pit (31), Della Penna (70), Stellone (79)
MOTM: Mother@#$%in' Adrian Pit
When: 1930 CET, 1330 EST
Where: The Other Stadio Olimpico, Torino