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Welcome to The Francesco Totti Show

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sampdata21.jpgRoma 2 - Sampdoria 0

There is but one. Kaka can have his Golden Balls, Messi can have his goals, Cronaldo can have his teenage girl fandom, but there is not a single player in the world with the vision and sheer genius of Francesco Totti. When not scoring goals, he's creating chances from the depths of nowhere. It really is something special to behold, watching a once in a generation talent at the top of his game.

I don't know where to start on Totti. It wasn't abundantly clear when the game started he had brought his superlative booties, but once he spooned in that penalty, it's as though a whole new monster was awoken. His one-two play with anyone and everyone wreaked havoc on the Sampdoria defense. His ability to take an imperfect ball, mold and reshape it into a goal scoring opportunity is awe-inspiring. It's really hard to accurately describe him; mere words cannot do his talent justice. He makes everybody better. The team becomes an orchestra, where he is the maestro and a principal for multiple sections.

The rest of the team played well for the most part, also. In fact, nearly all played well outside of the geriatric fullbacks, but we can forgive them because even they had shining moment. Simone clearly enjoys playing with Francesco, and that DDR guy is alright too.

Still, the story of the day is Totti. I think it's time to wonder aloud whether or not he is the offspring of the gods - or at least half, maybe his papa - because he is surely not human.


Grazie Roma
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Standings

1. Inter 40
2. Roma 36
3. Juventus 32
4. Udinese 28

There's a game or something tomorrow. Milan derby I think. (Watch and pray.)

Box Score


ROMA (4-2-3-1):
Doni; Panucci, Ferrari, Juan, Tonetto; De Rossi, Pizarro; Cassetti, Perrotta (81' Brighi), Vucinic (62' Mancini); Totti. A disp.: Curci, Cicinho, Barusso, Antunes, Esposito. All.: Spalletti

SAMPDORIA (4-4-2):
Castellazzi; Campagnaro, Lucchini, Gastaldello (66' Accardi), Pieri; Maggio, Palombo, Volpi, Franceschini (62' Sammarco); Bellucci, Bonazzoli (76' Caracciolo). A disp.: Mirante, Ziegler, Poli, Zenoni. All.: Mazzarri

ARBITRO:
Gervasoni di Mantova

MARCATORI:
17' (rig) e 89' Totti

NOTE:
Espulso Volpi al 57' per doppia ammonizione. Ammoniti Cassetti, Pizarro, Lucchini, Gastaldello, De Rossi. Recupero 1'pt.

Highlights

Player Ratings

Doni:
A very good game for Doni. Made a key stop on Caracciolo at the end with Samp down to ten and kept the heart attacks at a minimum. More, please. 7.5

Panucci:
Was very sloppy to start out the game but improved as the game went along and started up the counter for Cassetti which led to Francesco's 2nd goal. Still, far from vintage Panucci. 6.5

Ferrari:
After starting out the game looking like a disaster, Matteo really settled down and had a very good game, making some crucial tackles. Occasionally got out of sorts, but played a high quality game overall. Won the PK, too. Didn't miss Philou much, if any. Who saw that coming? 7.5

Juan:
Made some good tackles, held down his man well and won beaucoup aerial battles. This Juan guy's alright. 6.3m? Really? That's all? 7.5

Tonetto:
I think I could've beat him today. Not the finest of days for the aging fullbacks. We'll just say their joints weren't working as smoothly in the cold. 6.5

Pizarro:
More of the recent Pizarro, decent game, didn't accomplish anything. Even his shots were stifled before getting to goal. 7

DDR:
Typical DDR. Quickly becoming one of the most consistently great players in Europe. How often does he have a bad game? 7.5

Vucinic:
Even though he lost the ball a few times, he was very dangerous down the left hand side and a prominent threat moving up high. Held the ball well, good footwork, controlled possession out wide and showed a bit of physical stature on the wings, more of a left-forward than out and out winger. Really brings a different dynamic to that wing spot and has you wondering whether or not he can be an top level player down that left hand side as an atypical LW. (And whether or not the striker rumors are to get a back up for Francesco, not necessarily a 3rd stringer.) Had he stayed on, looked prime to put one in the back of the net. 7.25

Perrotta:
Fantastic game from Simone, running back and forth like an uncaged animal. Had a few shots on net and Castellazzi really did well to save that dipping shot from outside the box. A game which displayed how gorgeous his partnership with Francesco can be. Loverly to have him back. 7.5

Cassetti:
Dare I say, he played a hell of a game out on the right wing. Played with pace, heart, some vision and threw in a few good balls to the middle. I'm not sure I'd label him a first option at RW, but he appears more than worthy of some time there. 7.5

Totti:
He is....genius. There is no number which can describe him. Infinity is at least a half dozen short.

Mancini:
Almost like he was pressing, trying to create too much. But he was fairly composed and a dangerous threat to Sampdoria, consistently keeping them on their toes. Castelazzi also made a pretty decent save which may have resulted in Mancini's second goal of the week. 7

Brighi: N/A


TGIP:
Liked the lineup and subsequent performance quite a bit (big credit for the unpopular move of putting Cassetti at RW and seeing it work out), though I think I speak for everyone else when I say...how about a little Cicinho? 7.5

Key Matchups

Fatigue v Samp’s Week of Rest: I kind of expected that second half dip, and I wonder whether Samp going down to 10 men was partly coincidence or mostly the reason for the let up. I'd say it's almost half, because there were a few players who didn't necessarily look tired in the second half, but needed to catch their breath a little bit more as the game progressed. It mattered little in the end, but I wonder how the dynamic of the game would have turned out had Samp been able to stick with a full XI. We shall wonder.

But I will say, the team could use a killer instinct. They're less like sharks and more along the lines of dolphins. Gorgeous creatures with beautiful, fluid movement, but not one to strike when blood is in the water. If anything, they move away from the area. (Marine biologists in the crowd feel free to correct me.)

I'd like to see a little bit more shark. Doesn't have to be a Great White, but a Tiger shark would do.

Roma v Matteo Ferrari’s Form: More boon than buffoon. (Sorry.) More of that will be much welcomed and worthy of a better contract. Winner: Ferrari

Roma v Finishing:
I thought Roma's finishing and accuracy improved, but I also thought that Luca Castellazzi put in a very good performance. Simone's ball probably wasn't going in, but it was certainly a wonderful save and ditto for getting a finger on Mancini's ball. Though they might have done a little better shooting it further away from Castellazzi, as some of those saves were routine. An improvement, if nothing else. And I hear that Totti guy can finish a little. Winner: Finishing (aka Totti)

Totti v The World:
...

The world doesn't stand a goddamn chance.