Roma 1 - Basel 3
Randomly compiled thoughts.
- The fingers are flying furiously, but the biggest difference between Saturday and Tuesday evenings was easily the midfield. On Saturday it was a strength; yesterday it was the Achilles.
The common thread is this: Perrotta, Taddei and Pizarro expelled a tremendous amount of their gas tanks on Saturday, and none of them are close to fit - the three day break wasn't enough to recharge batteries coming off injuries (or still knocked). The will may have been there, but certain indicators - like the horrid, horrid passing - were flaring fire engine red.
Blogistuta nailed it during the game: too many injuries for this team concentrated in one area. De Rossi, Vucinic, Menez, Taddei, Perrotta and Pizarro are all out, knocked or unfit, rendering depth and philosophical changes across the most important aspect of a football team null and void.
Not the entire reason, but a large part.
Given the compact nature of the four plus four behind Totti-Borri – a staple of the renaissance last year, even – I have a hard time believing Basel can break through unless Roma dominates possession but gets real sloppy with the passing. When playing 50/50 football, this midfield just does not allow for gaps to be easily exploited.
This too. I skipped around the interwebs for a passing accuracy percentage at the half, but was rebuffed by football stasticians the world over. We'll assume a generous 12% and leave it at that.
- Burdisso's lost that lovin' feeling from last year. Only two games (counting this and the Conti tackle, which arguably cost them two games), but with Philou returning to form, we may be inching ever closer to Crockett & Tubbs on patrol.
- Ranieri again left a sub in the bag. But again: who? Cicinho for Cassetti? Possibly, but Cicinho's defense is mediocre and that was inviting Basel's dynamic left wing to hit a third long before they actually did. Okaka for...a roll of the dice? Alright, but it's basically the rosary move when they'd created plenty of chances with the personnel at hand, and neither Totti nor Borriello were a problem. A switch of tactics, sure, but they were having enough issues with Basel's sprightly legs in the 4-4-2. Simplicio? I suppose, but then he's had little match practice.
Claudio was hamstrung and has been. The subs over the course of the season are a concern but the last two games don't fall into that category. Not for me.
- Tactics: Claudio nailed 'em, they didn't execute.
Simple as that. With the personnel at hand, the positive showing from Genoa and the opposition's nature, I have little doubt the tactics from the off were anything but the right call.
The age-old debate of fresh legs potentially out of position v a higher quality yet unfit, however...well, I've never been able to answer that one and likely never will. Suppose it's situational.
- A lot of this comes down to one thing that shouldn't be dismissed: Basel's strengths - young, dynamic, pacy wing play - matched up well against the weaknesses of the lineup. Playing the same game under the same scenarios will result in an upset win a number of times.
- Lady Luck was also missing, which is strange because there were enough empty seats for her distant relatives and a few from the entourage.
A couple of decent bounces in the box, a ricochet, a post, a fingertip save...we're reverting back to the same 'ol: a lot of the little things...
- Ever the optimist: this wasn't Serie A. Yes, losing to Basel can force even the strongest of men to question their faith, but they didn't drop any more points in the league and still sit even on points with the others in the group with destiny firmly in their own hands. They can win in Romania, they can win in Switzerland and they can beat Bayern at home. The concern is surrounding the nature of the team, but they haven't dug themselves a tremendous hole with this one fixture.
Just earned a few unfavorable headlines.