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Don't Underestimate The Power Of San Francesco's Mane


Totti 3 - Bari 1

I do not envy Roman journalists in the least. One could offer me the gig with world peace as compensation and I would swiftly decline despite the desperate pleas of humanity. How could one possibly spend ten years fumbling through thesauri looking for the words to aptly summarize his latest heroics? The man is every superlative in the book. It's just not fair.

I don't know what else to say. Clearly the magic of Francesco's returning mane and Mirko's moustachio manifested some sort of celestial power which teleported two unfit players back into their vintage selves.

Or maybe they're just that fucking good.

  • I find it pretty impossible to criticize any game featuring such an incredibly dominant first half. A Roma we have not seen in some time, and that's in no small part to the inclusion of a tried and true attacking tridente of wondrous technical abilities. (And by "tried and true tridente" I do not mean "tried and true tridente" - just three out and out attackers.)

    The second half was a kink; residue, if you will. Hell, the game might've even ended in the 20th minute. It was classic Spalletti's Roma: come out in the first half to declare your superiority and run up the score; take the pedal entirely off in the second half.

    Hopefully Ranieri will tweak this a bit such that they turn out for some complete 90 minute trouncings, but that first half was nuts for the winter, ladies and gents. Let the masterpiece be.

  • Julio Sergio will from here on be known as The Enigma.

    How? Three years. How?

    (He will also be known as AS Roma's starting goalkeeper from here on out.)

  • Just for the record, Mirko's mustache scorched right past its obvious ridiculousness into the pantheon of awesomeness, much like he scorched Gillet. Or Barreto scorched Andreolli. Consideration as anything but such will be punished by forty lashes with Ahmed Barusso's detached leg.
  • One of the few players who was poor either side of the half was Andreolli. I gather consistency won't be a forte of his for a bit yet, so let's hope this was the off day which rendered itself a nonfactor. After all, he was so damn good against Inter, he was due a dropoff.

    Also: he could be outpaced by a painting. I'm not entirely sure teams which counter at pace are his best matchup just yet - not while he's perfecting the mental art of central defending.

  • I love the balance of three centerbacks anchoring three attack first forwards up at the top if but for one thing...

    ...there are three goddamn rightbacks on the roster already. Balance and points are good, but once Cicinho hits fourth on the depth chart, I smell a diva rightback turning into a locker room issue. Again. And this one can't make us almost forget about it with supernatural back post powers and laughable hair.

    The likelihood that he is unloaded in January is not what I'd call bedrock low.

    (Also worth noting the absence of a certain beastly defensive mid may have played a role.)

  • It's also worth noting that the first half was, while maybe not the best, was Roma's most dominant in perhaps two years. The possession percentages was somewhere in the range of the average Fahrenheit in Abu Dhabi in the summer, I gather, and it so easily could've been five or six to nothing were they interested (Mirko was centimeters away from a second minute opener, Menez mishitting half-open net, Gillet's save on Totti, etc).

    And this without Daniele De Rossi. Simpler, and thus more accurate, short passing game? I've heard worse theories.

    (Blasphemy, I know.)

  • Yet another thing worth pointing out is that while they were so dominant, they didn't have to be entirely brilliant across the board. Brighi, Perrotta, Pizarro - none lit the world alight in that first half, as easy as the Sunday stroll was. Which is partly down to Bari being less than the starved lion.
  • Whichever Bari forward was pickpocketed like a clueless stock broker by Mirko down that lefthand side should've woken up this morning, gone to the club offices and retired on the spot. That's embarrassing - Mirko looked like a mid-90's Maldini.
  • Little stat to enjoy. Totti in 09/10: 19g, 13gm.

    There's no other way to describe that but stupidly good. And South Africa-bound.

  • I believe I said this at the time, but there was a Bari corner in the first half between the second and third goals where Simone, Brighi and Riise got back into positions which would've had the world class likes of Juan and Mexes look the part of amateurs. Brighi headed the cross away before it could get a whiff of Simone's mark, whose pocket he was foraging in at the time, and the danger, despite being beaten for pace, was swiftly snuffed. I still claim that the best move of the game and don't doubt for a second Ranieri's Roman fingerprints were all over it.

    The corner counter was an extraordinary weak point when he came. Now? I dare ya - I double dare ya.

  • You might have noticed that Taddei is one of the only players left with an expiring contract which has not been renewed. This may have something to do with the fact that he wouldn't make the podium in the Special Olympics 100m right about now - and they give medals to everyone.

All in all, a great first half mashed with a less than optimal second half which combined to produce a good win and some much needed points against a trickily good club. Oh, and a matinee from that Totti fellow.

This feels a bit like a pat on the back for awareness, but I'll say it anyway: I'm so glad I don't take Francesco for granted - that I've never taken him for granted. That I hang on his every move, often times with heart suspended and still in mid-chest, and find myself on the edge of my seat watching, waiting and not wasting a moment. Hell, by the half on Sunday I'd contorted into some ungodly position on the floor which would've blushed the already rouged cheeks of a Cirque du Soleil artist, simply so that I could get close enough to the screen that nary an errant move darting into camera range would go unloved.

It's the best of kinds and it's the worst of kinds. It's so good it hurts, because this, we know, will not last forever. Don't waste a moment.

He doesn't.