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Room For Francesco, None For Principessa Panucci.

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GOMR

Pinkies? No one cares about Palermo right now. It's all about Principessa Panucci. He who is holier than thou. Holier than Simone Perrotta. Holier than Alberto Aquilani. Holier than....His Holiness.

Not only did he pull his little San Paolo tiff, but he's refused to back down, refused to apologize for what could've been, and may yet turn to be, crippling to a team, a city, that he supposedly holds near and dear to his heart. And though the suits have heard "I want out" before - must be a right back thing; Cassetti holding out for a move to Cardiff City's reserves is next, no doubt - it's never been this emphatic and never from a player, a veteran player, with a position of such prominence and respect within the team. Never, ever someone who wears the captain's band. Not in the Spalletti era.

Really do hate this, as I suspect is the case with most Romanisti. I've long hated seeing Christian enjoy the pedestal of Roman captain when he's so clearly acted as anything but. However, hate just as much losing an incredibly versatile player: one who is a right back by trade, a centerback by age, and even a leftback when injuries and a lack of form strike. They can't replace that. They can't replace his goals - if Cicinho, at any point in his Roman career, steams to the far post and nods in a header I'll buy everyone here a Vespa or two - and they can't replace his gamewinability. The ability for a right back, when all else has been cocked up, to inexplicably become the team's everyman: defender, winger, attacker, targetman. The difference between win and draw, draw and loss.

But most of all what they can't replace is the competitive spirit which serves to heighten and enhance his technical and tactical attributes. That same competitive spirit has played a large role, perhaps the largest, in this falling out, unfortunately. The man wants to play and he wants to win. Sadly it's in precisely that order.

With his impending detrimental impact to the roster aside, the saddest part of all this comes within a solitary picture I found a ways back. A picture which sums up in no words volumes and volumes of his impact to the team, city, and organization.

So out he goes, thanking us for the applause while we thank him for his years of servitude. A genuine appreciation with forced civility.

Palermo

Incredibly interesting list found at il Romanista. The last ten games of Serie A in table form, highlighted are the next five Serie A opponents (pre-Arsenal).

ROMA ..................25
JUVENTUS................22
INTER ......................22
CAGLIARI ................18
MILAN ....................17
GENOA ....................16
PALERMO ................16
ATALANTA ..............13
SIENA ......................13

BOLOGNA................12
FIORENTINA ............12
SAMPDORIA............10
CHIEVO....................10
NAPOLI ....................10
LAZIO ........................9
REGGINA ..................8
CATANIA....................8
LECCE ........................6
TORINO......................5
UDINESE ....................2

Few things:

  • I don't think the top of the table comes as any surprise.
  • Perhaps there's a bit more value in that epic comeback against Cagliari than we thought. Perhaps that's why Mirko saw it fit to depant himself. And yes, I'm still looking for some sort of logical justification.
  • Udinese: yikes.
  • Lazyo: "E' normale."

As for the actual game, here's the complete summation:

• They're on a serious roll, as evidence by the table.
• Francesco is back, starting. Nuff said.
• No injuries. I repeat: no injuries. The entire squad, Panucci aside, has been called up. (Well, Montella too. But...well...yeah.)
• Despite all the shitasticness earlier this year, 6-2-1 at home. Dropped points: Inter, Milan & Napoli. Palermo ain't any of those.

Palermo won't just need to bring their A-game, they'll have to bring a game they've never even ascended to before to win, and they'll need a beyond-heroic performance from Amelia for a draw. The lads are playing too strong and Luciano Spalletti finally has a full arsenal of options. The season has just begun.

Squads


Roma:

3 CICERO JOAO DE CEZARE (CICINHO)
4 JUAN SILVEIRA DOS SANTOS
5 PHILIPPE MEXES
7 DAVID MARCELO CORTES PIZARRO
8 ALBERTO AQUILANI
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

Pinks

PORTIERI: 1 Ujkani, 32 Amelia.

DIFENSORI: 5 Bovo, 18 Cassani, 21 Cossentino, 24 Kjaer, 25 Savini, 80 Carrozzieri.

CENTROCAMPISTI: 4 Tedesco, 8 Migliaccio, 11 Liverani, 14 Guana, 22 Di Matteo, 23 Bresciano, 30 Simplicio, 33 Nocerino.

ATTACCANTI: 7 Cavani, 19 Succi, 99 Mchedlidze.

Projected XI

Doni
Cassetti, Mexes, Juan, Riise
Perrotta, DDR, Brighi
Aquilani
Totti, Mirko

With David & Julio picking up even the slightest of knocks against Napoli, it's logical they'll get a blow on the bench as Spalletti works with his full lineup. Lots of options now so it's nice to go in not knowing what to expect - the problem Spalletti has been waiting for.


Predictions

Game: 2-0
Goals: Francesco (41), Alberto (58)
MOTM: Simone.

When: 2030 CET, 1430 EST.
Where: Stadio Olimpico, Rome.
Forecast: 0-1°C.

Streaming: Here.
Liveblog:
Perhaps.


FORZA ROMA