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Keep On Keepin' On

1204882241_gazzetta_primapagina_large.jpgPic graciously sent by mcalcio.

Well well well, the big bad lupi went into Madrid and blew the Bernabeu down on their way to a second straight Champions League quarter finals appearance. Even better is they won both legs against the top team in the top league in the world, and nobody can say Roma didn't deserve to win. This one's all theirs. So now we go back to the earlier part of the season when Roma was a team nobody wanted to face, and a team Arsene Wenger pipped as a surprise contender for the Champions League title.

I missed the game, the torrent has downloaded a whopping 0.9% since last night so detailed commentary ain't happenin', but look through the comments from the last few posts (it may take awhile) and that will more than do. Juts a few thoughts on the game:

King Alberto.:
Kid's got ice water running in his veins. His confidence and performance almost seems to go up whenever a big game arrives. He's like Bizarro Chivu.

Luciano Spalletti.:
I think Fabio Cannavaro's statement said it all:

“Roma have proved they are a great squad and did not come to Madrid to defend the result. As soon as we saw their line-up we knew they wanted to play football and win it, so they deserve credit and respect.”

This lineup has a different feel to it. It's an entirely different monster than the one with Pizarro and, to a lesser extent, Old Man River. Cicinho brings and added dimension, or twelve, to the attack, and KA has formed a devastating partnership with fellow Roman youngster DDR.

So kudos to Spal for shying away from his love for all things David Pizarro for the day (he may have been knocked or banged up, but I don't buy for a second he would've played were he anything less than 100%,given Real's attacking abilities). It's a stellar lineup against the bigger teams where you can't afford many slip ups in the midfield, and if there are (which KA did have), somebody who can clean up his own mess.

And more kudos for the substitutions - two of them had a direct hand in the second goal. Mirko was perfect and added at exactly the right time. OMR with that precision cross and veteran defensive know-how in shoring up that back line.

Mirko Vucinic.: A European monster. 6 games, 4 goals. But better is his minute to goal ratio: 74.5 minutes per continental goal. That's pretty damn good for a guy who spends half his time playing the wing. Not to mention all of the other attributes he brings to the table.

And I'd just like you to take a second and peruse this line...


That lineup is so flawed it's ridiculous, but my my my wouldn't that be dreamy going forward.

Philippe Mexes.: Raymond Domenech is the dumbest man alive, but you knew that already.

Juan.: Is there still a single person who would take Chivu over him? (The same Chivu whose ass is parked outside the Nerazzurri's medical offices right now.)

Max Tonetto.: His crossing has become lethal over the past few weeks, it seems. Much better accuracy and he flies down that flank not allowing the opposition's defenders to get set before he throws it in there. He's had his share of criticism over the last few months, but he, like a few others, is turning back around.

Totti; DDR.: No words. Typical.

The Suspects

With Inter and Liverpool next week, these 6 teams are Roma's options at the moment. And since rules are thrown out the window from here on out, they can face anybody.

Barcelona.: Spalletti's said it. Totti's said it. I've said it a million times. Bad matchup. But, if you're going to get Barcelona, now is the time with Messi out for a 6 week spell.

The worry for Roma would be how they handle that attack, but here's a nice little stat:

Real Madrid:
57gf -23ga
Barca: 51gf - 21ga

And with Real scoring one goal which was an unlucky (for Roma) deflection and another which was clearly offside - making it zero on the defensive mistakes meter - looks like Roma could hold Barca pretty damn well. Though I'm still not interested in seeing them try.

I don't want this one again. Period. It's not fear, I'm just sick of Manchester United. But we know Roma can hang with anyone.

They didn't exactly take down a powerhouse, their group stage campaign wasn't anything to write home about, despite the win over Inter (8gf - 6ga in a relatively weak group), and they're probably the weakest team remaining in the competition. Basically, this a delicious matchup - comparatively, at least.

Schalke 04.:
Nothing about them is frightening. They're a solid team who made it through a very strange group (Rosenborg being the pseudo-Cinderella and Valencia swan diving into their own Spanish toilet bowl of European suckitude), but they're really just that. Not a single spot where Roma is at a disadvantage. Loverly by me.

Tough matchup. Roma's quick ball movement could pose problems but then again so couldn't the size and natural ability of some of Chelsea's big guns. Before this one didn't enthuse me, now I'm sort of on the fence. Could run either way.

Arsenal.: I think Roma could really surprise some people here and play a helluva lot sexier - and better - than the Prem's numero uno team. In fact: If Roma draws Arsenal, I think it's their coming out party as a big team. (Knocking on wood profusely.)

1. Fenerbahce
2. Schalke
3. Arsenal
4. Chelsea
5. ManYoo
6. Barca

Slot the winner of Inter/Pool right around 4 and bump everyone back.