Roma 2 - Bologna 1
It's all been said before. A magnificent return for a magnificent player. His genius inspires, ignites and reinvents. His vision is incomparable; touch softer than the softest of pillows; passing smoother than Juan - and that's smooth . There is simply no greater difference maker in all of calcio. But more than that, he's an artist. A maestro who makes the game itself a more enjoyable experience with only the faintest of touch.
The rest of the game, however, wasn't always quite so radiant. She was far from the belle of the ball. There were even patches where it was downright Beastly. At least lately. But I guess a certain degree of suckitude was to be expected. A team which thrives on continuity and fluidity, they've had little to no time playing together over the course of the season while the break scattered internationals across the globe. The system, the 4-2-3-1, was not afforded the opportunity to flourish and the glimmering moments were largely provided by that one guy.
So this Bologna fixture came at the perfect time: fresh off a siesta as a warmup, of sorts, for the big match on the weekend, the one above all others. They'll need to be better - much better - Saturday, but the bodies are returning and the feet are wet. I'd say that's three points and then some.
Brass tackx: The first was soft, yes, but looked an awful lot like a makeup call for that clear handball just minutes earlier. Or maybe it was karma for Cicinho's steaming header back in Emilia-Romagna, giving Bologna an undeserved point. Regardless, it was due in some way, shape or form. And the second could've been ripped from page one of the referee's handbook, so that's beyond question. But a goal or two from play would be nice. Saturday, again.
Largely the expectedly choppy performance from a team still finding its feet after that unthinkable wave of injuries. A game less about individuals and more about that team mechanism. Well, all except that one man. Or so they say.
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Doni; Motta, Mexes, Panucci, Tonetto; Pizarro, De Rossi; Perrotta (28' st Riise), Brighi, Menez (1' st Baptista); Totti (45' st Montella).
A disposizione: Artur, Loria, Diamoutene, Filipe.
Allenatore: Luciano Spalletti
BOLOGNA (4-5-1): Antonioli, Zenoni, Moras, Lanna, Castellini; Lavecchia (16' pt Marazzina), Mutarelli (33' st Mingazzini), Mudingayi, Volpi, Bombardini; Di Vaio.
A disposizione: Colombo, Belleri, Terzi, Rodriguez, Adailton.
Allenatore: Sinisa Mihajlovic
Arbitro: Damato di Barletta
Assistenti: Bianchi e Vicinanza
Quarto uomo: Calvarese
Ammoniti: Bombardini, Castellini, Mutarelli, Pizarro, Mexes
Note: 6.453 paganti (+ 29-085 abbonati), incasso: 163.789 euro
Marcatori: 12' pt, 13' st Totti, 26' pt Marazzina
- Marco Motta's performances, though not yet poor by any stretch, are going in the wrong direction. Derby could change that nicely.
- While we sing the praises of Francesco, it should be mentioned Simone allows him to play a different type of game, affords him more liberties. There were a few Perrotta runs, though amounting in nothing, beyond the ball allowing Totti to use that vision whereas La Bestia prefers to shadow Francesco's shadow. Different strokes, but Simone Perrotta is an immense part of this team. On form, irreplaceable.
- When the lineup read De Rossi, Perrotta, Brighi - tears of joy, I tell you. Tears of joy.
- But Matteo Brighi ain't a winger
- Panucci botched it on purpose. I'm not trying to suggest he's subconsciously a turncoat, but he is.
- David Pizarro in the 4-2-3-1 will end someone's life prematurely. Mine? Maybe. Daniele De Rossi's? Perhaps. Doni's? He gets my vote. You've got to think the first time David - and it's coming - threads a perfect through ball betwixt Juan and Mexes for an onrushing attacker Alex's heart will up and quit.
- You know, Menez has gotten a little bit better with the deep sea antics - he genuinely has - but he still never fails to wind up on the ground after relinquishing possession. Never. Whether he was fouled, dove or just fell down taking a shot, there's some sort of inexplicable magnetism to the ground for the boy. I suspect he's not of this planet, and the hair choices would agree.
- Speaking of lockx, is Francesco growing his out or just bickering with Ilary and this a battle in the war?
- And back to Yeremy: the ankle - the reason he was subbed at the half - isn't wonderful but doesn't seem a serious problem and could be ready on the weekend.
- Read of the day: a nostalgic tribute to the Rombo. The formation which righted the ship and put Roma in place to fight on, now thrown by the scrap heap for Spalletti's true love.