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Consider That Enthusiasm Curbed.

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Cagliari 2 - Roma 2

Let's start with everyone's favorite pastime: pointing fingers and doling out blame.

Bruno Conti - That's the second time in as many years Daniele has scored a dagger of a goal against Roma.

Control your fucking offspring.

Claudio Ranieri - We can blame him, but we can't. We can bemoan the substitutions, but we can't.

It was the Luca Toni sub. It never should've happened - I knew it, he knew it, you knew it, the coach cushion knew it and, in some inexplicable way, even Roberto Mancini knew it - and even while it was happening, I thought 'this is the wrong move, but I don't care'. It's the chocolate cheesecake in the midst of a diet; it's the flashy new car in lieu of the rent; it's the really attractive date with the STD medication on the bathroom sink (Borriello says hi). Sometimes it's impossible to say no, regardless of reason, logic, long-term consequences or any of that psychological hoodoo.

Luca wasn't the right move for Cagliari. It was the right move for Chievo, for Luca and for the fans, but not for Cagliari. And this has nothing to do with how he played, but rather his skill set inserted into a game going in that direction. Another sub with an eye to further securing the result should've, could've and likely would've made the difference.

Yeremy Menez - At least pretend like you want to be a professional footballer. Humor me.

(He wasn't really to blame, it just gets annoying.)

Marco Cassetti - Marking opponents in the box in the 93rd minute of one goal games is generally advised.

My good self - Listen, were I to know of my prophetic wizardry I would've titled my post 'Get Excited Because Roma Is Going To Crush Asses And Then Drop Kick Jeda To The Mythical Land Of Tajikistan'.

Phrase of the Day: Curb Your Enthusiasm? What is that bullshit? I was near ecstatic by the 80th: 2-0 scoreline, a defense which I assumed was steel-reinforced, and Luca Toni about to enter his frame into Roma's frame for the very first time. My "enthusiasm" was, though mostly caffeine-driven, epic.

Consider that enthusiasm curbed.

Notes:

  • On the balance of the entire affair, twas a deserved result. Roma had superior quality, but Cagliari actually played 90+ minutes and have tremendous resilience - they'd have to considering their inexplicable-on-paper annual survival. The first Cagliari goal was karmic retribution for that baby's bottom soft penalty handed to Mirko, so there's nothing to gripe about in that respect.
  • The gripe lies in the complacency, a cameo from the Roma of yore we'd hoped was swimming with the fishes and Genoa's dignity. Perhaps some of it is two and a half weeks of too much food and not enough match fitness rearing its head the final stages, but they should've been better.

    Which is where the good news comes in: this was a stiff wake up call. Ice water in the face in the midst of a deep, deep slumber. And it's hardly the most devastating result - Cagliari is a fine team and purely from a result standpoint, you can accept draws against them away coming off the Christmas break. The manner in which the draw happened is the stinger. But they'll learn and be better for it in the end, wanting to return to the ways before the break.

    Lesson learned, onto Chievo.

  • For roughly 50% of this season, Daniele's passing has been downright woeful. I'm starting to think it isn't that the staff accepts it, but rather no one has the balls to tell him.

    I nominate Pit.

  • The pitch hardly helped, as both teams were slipping up and down. It's a good thing Ricardo Faty was left in the stands, or else he may never have managed to actually get to his feet.
  • MOTM: Simone, and this without much emphasis on his goal. Said it once, said it twice and will say it 'til I die: his form is one of the three biggest difference makers in this team.
  • Speaking of...Taddei not being rubbish does a bit of good, doesn't it?
  • That performance may have run Julio Baptista out of town - or at least way down the other end of the pecking order just behind the likes of Adrian Pit, Primavera fodder and Vito Scala's Mrs. I have difficulties heaping too much criticism on players who are coming in cold, without much match time and fresh off a break, but he could hardly do anything right today and hasn't done a great deal right in his limited opportunities this year. His minutes log isn't far beyond mine, but without the playing time to find some form - this was his problem in Madrid: very good when playing regularly; not good when not - there's no place for him right now.

    Something which wouldn't change a great deal at Inter. Someone quickly send Sevilla a DVD of the glory days.

    * - The other problem is Cagliari schemed him perfectly. He's wonderful when he has space to run and put defenses on the back foot, but close him down and his effectiveness enters aerated condom territory. Of course if he made more of an effort to find that space...

  • Maybe I'm dreaming, but Cassetti has been getting forward brilliantly ever since the derby. Today I can remember only a midget's handful of times he even thought about overlapping or streaking in.

    Any chance they could schedule a friendly versus Lazio to get him back into form?

End of the day the result isn't the end of the world and, with any sort of luck, it'll serve as a nice little post-break wakeup call.

But avoid hope at all costs, damnit.