Bologna v Roma
I won't lie. I was forced to Wikipedia to get a full scope on Bologna's roster - have yet to see them play - and it appears to be a melange of Serie A talent past its prime and Serie B talent in its prime. Something the fact that they're last in both goals conceded and goals scored in Serie A this year would seem to confirm. Not that this means anything considering the still unstable state of Roman affairs, but this is as "gimme" as its going to get at this point, especially considering the current Jaws-high wave of euphoria the lads are riding post-Chelsea. Suffice it to say, a loss would be disastrous, crippling, and probably put a toe tag on the domestic season. A draw would fall just short of full on panic - very short. Can't possibly afford any reversals in confidence at this point.
So, you know, no pressure.
As for Bologna, Sinisa Mihajlovic will be managing his first ever game tomorrow evening, and he's already off to a predictably rocky start:
“You don’t need a rifle to win. We can hurt an opponent even with a water pistol, as if you hit them in the eye then it’ll do damage."
Unless he's packing that water pistol with acid, lemon juice or Mancio's love nectar, I'm not quite sure what he's talking about. If somebody shot me in the eye with a water pistol I'd probably just glare in bewilderment before punching them in the face. So bring all the water pistols you'd like, Sinisa.
This would be one thing if Mihajlovic had any experience, but being a former fence-sitter (who plays for both? seriously?) and a first timer doesn't mean Bologna's going into an immediate 180. Davide Ballardini he is not, so hopefully this will just mean one more subtle bounce headed in Roma's direction.
2 CHRISTIAN PANUCCI
3 CICERO JOAO DE CEZARE (CICINHO)
4 JUAN SILVEIRA DOS SANTOS
5 PHILIPPE MEXES
7 DAVID MARCELO CORTES PIZARRO
9 MIRKO VUCINIC
10 FRANCESCO TOTTI
11 RODRIGO FERRANTE TADDEI
15 SIMONE LORIA
16 DANIELE DE ROSSI
17 JOHN ARNE RIISE
19 JULIO CESAR BAPTISTA
20 SIMONE PERROTTA
22 MAX TONETTO
24 JEREMY MENEZ
25 GUILHERME DE MORAIS GUSMAO ARTUR
27 JULIO SERGIO BERTAGNOLI
32 DONIEBER ALEXANDER MARANGON (DONI)
33 MATTEO BRIGHI
77 MARCO CASSETTI
89 OKAKA CHUKA STEFANO
This week's new injury: Filipe. Finally, someone completely useless goes down. The tides are turning...
Portieri: Antonioli, Colombo
Difensori: Britos, Castellini, Lanna, Moras, Rodriguez, Terzi, Zenoni
Centrocampisti: Carrus, Coelho, Confalone, Marchini, Mudingayi, Valiani
Attaccanti: Adailton, Bernacci, Di Vaio, Marazzina, Paonessa
Here goes something I have never, ever, ever done here...a formation other than the 4-2-3-1:
Cicinho, Juan, Mexes, GOMR
Perrotta, Pizarro, DDR, Brighi
It will be interesting to see how this works against a team with about one-fiftieth the attacking firepower of Chelsea and, presumably, one which will spend much more time in their own half than Roma's.
The key to a win? That back line. Despite the lack of true dynamic attacking power in the midfield - DDR's WMD's and Simone's off-the-ball runs aside - I think the goals are going to come. Francesco was far from his perfect self on Tuesday but will almost surely show improvements as he regains match fitness. The defensive four and midfield will thrive once again, especially with a Bologna team whose long range snipers would love to have Frank Lampard's right big toe. It may not be all about the aesthetics at the moment, but results will be just fine.
When: Saturday, 2030 local, 1430 EST.
Where: Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna.
Weather: 12°C, clear.