Now that the season is officially upon us, it's time to see where the team stands and preview the team individually. First up is the attacking line, meaning Francesco Totti & whoever else - pretty self-explanatory. As we knnow, Luciano Spalletti typically favors the one striker up top, although this year may see a few games with an Il Capitano-Vuci partnership. Here's nothing.
1. Francesco Totti
2. Mirko Vucinic
3. Shabani Nonda (maybe)
Francesco Totti (ST): There's very little to say that hasn't already been said before. A true virtuoso and the icon of Rome. Reigning European Golden Boot winner with 26 goals (as well as leading Serie A in assists with 10) after his first complete season as a full time striker, nothing short of an amazing campaign, but something which has come to be expected from Il Capitano. It will certainly be a difficult performance to recreate, but there's also the chance he may be better than last season after a full summer of rest after the season, one more year of healing after the break and a stronger acclimation to his relatively new position. Frightening for Serie A and Europe.
Prediction: Francesco is the starter as long as he is physically able to cart himself to the Olimpico - zero question in that respect. 23 Serie A goals, 7 in Europe and a sprinkling in the Coppa, should Roma advance far enough. Vintage Totti, nothing less is expected.
Mirko Vucinic (ST/LW): Last year was not a true representation of Mirko's skills due to injuries, getting acclimated to a unique system and learning a new position.This year will give him the opportunity to show off those vaunted talents, whether it be backing up Totti up top or filling in for Mancini on the left flank. Though striker is his natural position, his adaption to the left wing the preseason has been nothing short of remarkable, even if he has not shown a great amount of consistency (he is obviously taking this Mancini apprenticeship to heart). If he can stay healthy and continue to grow as he obviously has over the summer, Luciano Spalletti will have a true luxury on his hands. Mirko is primed for a breakout year - again - and may yet earn his status as one of the top forwards in Serie A.
Prediction: Mirko was primarily used off the bench last year, but he should be given more starts this season when Totti or Mancini need a rest. Whether or not Spalletti will feature a 2 striker option at any points this year is somewhat of a toss up right now, but only time will tell. 20-25 games, 7 goals.
Shabani Nonda (ST): Incomplete at this point. He may stay, he may be sold. If he is sold he'll be 2b/3rd on the striker depth chart, and primarily an emergency/substitute/Coppa player. Still has skills, but after that big money move to Monaco all those years ago his career has taken a sharp downward turn and looks to have plateaued now. Could be very useful, but won't get his desired time at Roma.
Prediction: Sold to Portsmouth
Next Installment: Midfielders