Roma 3 Genoa 0
This is the first chance for the new Roma to put the old Roma to bed...By doing exactly what old Roma did one year ago, simply by different methods.
This game, much like Chievo and Triestina, was never that. It was never much of a game, never in question, precisely because it, again much like Chievo and Triestina, was in sharp contrast to Cagliari. A consistent ninety-plus; a solidified ninety-plus; a superior ninety-plus. Two great things have happened to Roma in the new year: Luca Toni & Cagliari. One a look to the future - albeit the relatively short-term future - and one a reminder to keep yourself in the present. Backward steps are fine because backward steps promote evolution and evolution is a mighty fine thing.
i. If Genoa makes the Champions League, I will eat my shorts...or something equally inedible.
While this was a nice game, a solid, emphatic victory and yet another notch on the belt, Genoa is not a great team. They're not even very good, and they're piss poor away from home.
That's kind of all there is to say about that.
ii. Spalletti will not be crying in Russia.
There was no chance to get Luca Toni in the summer - this one, the one previous or the one even before that. There was never a chance to get a striker the quality of Luca Toni without hiring Danny Ocean. Luciano knows this, and while he may bemoan the timing, there's no looking back on the hypothetical here.
iii. This was not about a prima punta.
It's easy to put one and one together to say that a prima punta shows in Rome, finding himself on the end of balls in the box, and thus concluding this is what's been lacking all along. A little too easy, and unfair at that. Sure, the prima punta is a help, and no small one, but to put Luca in that category is a little bit ignorant. He is, inarguably, one of the best strikers in the world. He's not just a "prima punta"; he is the prima punta.
Not just any prima punta will break to the inside with the strength which leaves the defender not daring to even dream of regaining position on that first goal, but he did. Not just any prima punta can obliterate two proper professional athletes in mid-air like a freakin' tornado on the second, but he did. Not just any prima punt has that type of touch and passing from a body which belongs on Lottomatica Roma, not AS Roma, but he does. Hell, not just any prima punta has his size period.
This is not about a prima punta, about Spalletti or about a missed chance at the mecato - this is about Luca Toni. Just because you wanted beef doesn't mean ground chuck hits the palette quite the same as filet mignon. He's just that good.
- Luca was brilliant in front of the net, obviously, but he'll need to wrestle MOTM away from Mirko. On all three goals, he was the last Roman to have touched the ball - though you may need some homerism to hand him an assist on the first goal. This was every bit the all-around display of his genius. With the ball, without the ball, with a plan, without a plan, this was vintage Mirko.
But then we knew that was coming once Luca landed in town.
- There's something to be said for massaging the confidence of a player who's erred in the previous game by running him out the next week - any coach will tell you this - but given Cassetti's recent history with Juventus and the identical twin he gifted this weekend, he may be watching from the bench this weekend. Enjoy the Burdisso at rightback experiment.
- I've said this before in passing, maybe here, but I'll say it again anyway: I'm not worried about scouring the world's amateur pitches trying to replace Francesco - partially because it's a lesson in assaulting the impossible; but I am worried about finding someone to replace Perrotta. In fact, when looking to the longterm future of Roma, there is no more important task than finding someone to assume the role left by Simone. He is the superstar of role players, and those grow on trees just as readily as Francesco's eyes of genius and feet of gold.
- Matteo Brighi can have his new contract now.
- And Julio Sergio still needs one, but a little less time hanging with Doni, please.
- Juan is, right now, the best defender in calcio. And if you called him one of the best defenders in the world, it'd take a mighty brave soul to stand up and argue.
That Roma paid €6m for his services means Prade & Conti should be doing life at the Chateau d'If. Even with the injury problems one of the best bargains in recent Roma history.
- It's far, far too early in the season to start looking over the shoulders or worrying to much about the old table, but...
Not yet a masterpiece, but the evolution of brush strokes is looking, at the least, masterful.
And finally, one "myth" which is now confirmed as anything but:
No Francesco, no Daniele...no problem.