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Is Preseason Over Yet?

1009633030_064c8ba731_m.jpgWest Ham U 2 - Roma 1:

Another game, another result other than a dominating victory. We weren't able to see the game, so we're going by word of journalistic mouth here, but most places are saying Roma dominated the game but lost out on what really matters. Which is more than a consolation, considering the results don't actually matter. However, I think the entire game can be summed up in three words: Samuel Kuffour started.

West Ham United: Green (Wright 46); Neill, Ferdinand (Gabbidon 86), Upson, McCartney; Ljungberg (Pantsil 74), Bowyer (Cole 86), Noble, Boa Morte (Etherington 28); Zamora (Ashton 46), Bellamy (Mullins 78). Subs unused: Spector, Collins, Walker, Davenport, Reid.

AS Roma: Curci, Panucci, Mexes, Aquilani (Vucinic 70), Totti (Nonda 77), Taddei (Alvarez 77), Giuly (Pit 84), De Rossi (Barusso 77), Esposito (Brighi 56), Tonetto, Kuffour (Cassetti 46, Rosi 60). Subs unused: Bertagnoli (ed note: J. Serg), Andreolli.

I'm pretty sure the starting lineup going up against Inter on the 19th and Palermo on the 26th is going to look nothing like that. Missing were: Mancini, Ferrari, Juan, Doni, Perrotta, Cicinho and Pizarro. Marco Andreolli didn't play because he is supposedly "unfit", whatever that means. Injury, lack of form, getting fat, eating too many burritos with Alvarez - I suppose all could be put into that category. Julio Sergio was busy calling up real estate agents in Rome to get a house for Cicinho, which could possibly be considered the best contribution he's ever made to the club.

The lone goal was scored by Ludovic Giuly, who was actually playing in Simone Perrotta's position, being flanked by Taddei and Mauro Esposito. And there have been no match highlights or comprehensive analysis yet, so we'll have to wait to see what actually transpired. But looking at the substitutions alone, there are a few points of interest:

Marco Cassetti was brought in for Kuffour at halftime, then substituted off 14 minutes later, which leaves us wondering if he's injured or not. Also, who was playing CB? If it was Cassetti for those 14 minutes I'm surprised the scoreline wasn't 5-1. I would think Panucci side-stepped over to partner Philou, but I'm not sure. And was the reason he was taken off because Monaco called and told Spalletti to get him the hell off the pitch ASAP? So that we can now deduce Cicinho will be making his way to Rome because Cassetti is going to do French stuff like eat croissants, wear a beret and lose major tournament finals.

ii) Adrian Pit (Pronounced 'Piz') played 6+ minutes in his unofficial Roma debut. Which is 6 more minutes than I thought he'd ever see in the Roma shirt.

Mirko Vucinic was reportedly playing out on the left. I thought the whole point of buying up wing depth was so that Vuci (or anyone else out of position) wouldn't have to slot out on the flanks this year?

iv) Judging by who was on the field at certain times, it kinda looks like The Grand Imperial Poobah might have been experimenting with formations. Or maybe my 3-2-3-2 tinted sunglasses are misleading me.

Much to the delight of everyone in Rome, Daniele Prade did not in fact sprint out onto the field of play at any point during the game. Good news all around.

But if Roma did actually "dominate" with that lineup, then that is very very good news. If I get the match highlights I'll put something up tomorrow.

Your Daily Cicinho Update:

Roma's favorite Brazilian wingback was left on the Real bench for yesterday's demolition of Lokomotiv Moscow. You want to read into that a little too far? Go ahead, be my guest. I will.

Although Schuster mentioned that some players must "adapt to several positions", which sounds like a direct shot at Cici, amongst others. Maybe he's not so keen on sluicing him out of Madrid.

The Weekend Update (Kinda):

I) During the 3rd round qualifying draw for the Champions League yesterday, Toulouse drew Liverpool, who could possibly give them a tough couple games. Maybe. This is interesting because of perennial Roma target Jeremy Mathieu. We know Rosella called up Toulouse and offered them Daniele Prade's co-ownership and a signed lithograph of Ludovic Giuly with some guy feeling up his groin for Mathieu, which Toulouse considered and then ultimately turned down due to Prade's wages. The interesting part is I have the theory that Toulouse has been declining to negotiate due to their impending CL "appearance". Well, now they will definitely need him for the Red ties, but they're going to need a miracle to make it to the group stages where they can be embarrassed by 3 other teams, not just one.

The first leg is August 14th and the second is August 29th, which doesn't leave much time to get something done, but it's very possible they could choose to cash in the big euros now rather than lose out on his sale later. Even if Toulouse gets plowed by the Stevie G steam roller that is Liverpool in the first leg they could conceivably decide to re-open negotiations with Roma after the 14th.

And if not, Roma certainly is no stranger to last minute deals. But it all depends on who they pick up between now and then. If they don't have anyone on the roster behind/with Max Tonetto by the 14th, I'd expect The Grand Imperial Poobah and Prade to be watching that game intently. Even if they have picked someone up, I'd expect them to watch it anyway - with an eye to January or next summer.

Anybody else see this? Still going with my theory of fill the backs with good, quality players, and find some way to use the rest of that Chivu money to buy up Rosinaldo and leave him on loan at Torino this season. While there is good, quality depth on the wings right now, there's no telling how long Giuly will stick around or if Mauro Esposito can stay both healthy and effective. Give him his wages, leave him at Torino for one year and allow him to continually develop. Works for all parties. The kid is a once in a generation influence.

The Grand Imperial Poobah is considering keeping Shabs Nonda to provide some depth behind that Francesco Totti guy and Mirko. Well duh.

It has been a whole 17 hours without a Matteo Brighi rumor. And if he wasn't on the scoresheet, I would think he is dead.