Roma 10 - Gent 2
Can we laugh about it yet?
Checking....nope....okay, moving on.
Did that cure all that ails? No. Was it a start? Absolutely.
This team, beyond anything else, thrives upon confidence. You know what inspires confidence more than a 7-1 thrashing of the 4th placed team in the Belgian Jupiler League? A 7-1 thrashing of the 3rd placed team in the Belgian Jupiler League, for one.
Where am I going with this? I don't know. It was great to see that scoreboard operator pick up carpal tunnel within a 90 minute fixture. It was also nice to change pants twice in jubilee upon the sight of a Totti, De Rossi, Totti, Totti, De Rossi score line (check that, thrice). But all piss-stained jubilee aside, I'd like to see them play a real team at full strength before throwing on an 07/08 Kappa and declaring that 08/09 never happened.
So it was a fantastic start, but the road is long and the margin for error short.
- We all, sans the slightest hint of blasphemy, can agree that Francesco tends to think with his heart rather than his head before speaking. We can also agree that Gent is not very good, and that penalties aren't the most difficult goals the world has ever seen.
But who, and I dare ye to stand and be counted, would dismiss the notion of a healthy Francesco for capocannoniere, golden boot and all the silverware football's bountiful treasure chests behold? The man is a virtuoso; a genius before, during and after his time.
This, once again, is The Year of Francesco.
- When the 4-2-3-1 works....goddamn does it work.
- I don't think I need to say the game completely changed upon the flash of red to Gent - not undeserved, mind you (even if Taddei was doing Taddei things). But perhaps that's what's so marvelous about this game: this Roma showed a killer instinct. They weren't the dolphin swimming alongside trying to help the stranded swimmers, as has happened so often in the past, but rather the bull sharks coming in to kill, ravage and dismember the bodies. And doing so right up and through the final whistle.
Still Gent, still early, but a wonderful sign we've seen little of in recent times.
- First four goal game of 2008-09 (any competition): May 16th, 2009.
First four goal game of 2009-10: August 6th, 2009.
In fact, were we to take this an inch further, since that nil-nil debacle against Chievo last year, Roma has scored 22 goals in 6 games. Many said those end-season games against Catania, Milan and Torino were positive omens for 09-10, and they may just have been right. There is very little, unless you count the upgrade of Guberti to Menez (yeah, I said it), that has changed from last season to this, so it's certainly not the bodies. Perhaps it has simply....clicked again.
- I don't really give a flying fuck how well a recently injured Yeremy Menez performs in August - I don't. And yes, this is partly because Goober is now in tow, so if Roma needs some pace and technique from a winger, one of the two should be able to do it. And I gather his Europa League status has now dropped a few teams off his trail. That still doesn't make his '08-09 status a helluva lot clearer.
Selling '07-08 Menez back to France would not be a terrible idea. Selling '08-09 Menez back to France might not either. But what would '09-10 Menez reap either on the field or in Cristina Mazzoleni's office?
I genuinely don't know - I'm fairly torn on this one, given his insane qualities, but it's something to ponder. If he can yield The Difference Maker with his funds for this year, you do it. If not, you hold. Hold tightly.
- Stefano Okaka Chuka desperately needed that goal. Roma desperately needed that goal. Luciano Spalletti desperately needed that goal.
And now they all desperately need another. The lad just needs one good run and it's...well, it's time for his arrival.
- This defense still needs much work. That's all.
And so the go from the 4th placed team in the Belgian Jupiler League to the 4th placed team in the Slovakian Superliga.
The gods are finally smiling upon Roma - perhaps it truly is darkest before the dawn.