A Touch More Perspective
The unexpected has invariably detracted from the expected. They're not supposed to be embroiled in a scudetto scrap right now - not complaining a solitary peep, mind you - which has shifted focus away from the actual priorities, expectations and, in the case of me (always about me), minimum requirements.
Champions League football was the goal at the beginning of the year with anything else gravy - which I suppose means they're drowning in the gravy boat as we speak - yes? Here's how that goal looks:
They need four points with six to play. (Three if you want to get down to tie-breakers with Palermo which, should that scenario ever arise as a possibility, will fall second on their list of problems to my infuriated, bat-wielding ass boarding a plane to Rome.)
In other words: Sunday, one would hope, should just about do it with the right "scenarios".
That's mighty impressive considering, oh, September & October. Which I suppose means the season has been impressive, which we already knew, which means just move along already because I'm just rambling again.
I'm going to throw on the Bari replay and do that voodoo - finally. Well, sort of finally - I made it to minute seven before falling to pass out Monday night.
Posthumous liveblog at the ready...
1' Sans the goal, the all-mighty highlight of this game may be the first minute, in which Luca Toni is playing second striker to Daniele De Rossi, taking a page from the How To Play As A Striker When You're Not A Striker, co-authored by Philippe Mexes & John Arne Riise.
3' They should wear the black-on-black at every possible opportunity. In fact I might wear it at every opportunity, complete with Mirko Vucinic's lavender magical boots. I foresee problems, and stares (jealous bastards), as the supermarket, but it'll be worth it when I slot that full ham off the bread stand down the cereal aisle and celebrate in the watermelons.
5' There's certainly some early rust on Francesco, but he's still, in just 5 minutes, been absolutely brilliant as a manipulator of space: creating it, using it, optimizing it, discovering it. Pretty good at football, this guy.
7' Juan's hurt, but not in doubt for Sunday. It's like a Bizarro universe, this season.
8' The early Burdisso tackle was worth at least an extra 250k onto the end of his transfer fee.
So what's the going rate for a loanee who's called his parent club cheaters? €5-7m?
10' I like the mowed circle on top of the horizontal lines inside the center circle: it's a revolutionary mix of brazen use of geometry and "I'm too lazy to cut this properly". In other words, right up my alley.
13' RomaNews tells me Marco Delvecchio is close to a move to the Romanian "Serie B". (What's that officially - Liga Burger II, so The Double Whopper, or something?)
Sounds about right for a 37yo who hasn't played in a couple years. Hey, sounds about right for me - wonder if they're hiring...
16' Cassetti just owned someone. I don't know exactly who, but it involved a flying sidepart, which I approve of entirely.
On that note...I had something to go here but it's lost. Kind of like Julio Sergio's mojo. When was the last time he had to make a decent save on an actually savable ball? Christmas? Seems so. Of course it's not his fault the Great Wall of Rome has been erected out front, but still...we're stuck on memories like the antique auto under the cloth in the garage. Dust that bad boy off and take her for a spin, would ya? (This car apparently has gender confusions.)
18' Mirkogol. Tovutogol. And my timekeeping is, like a sundial at a rave, all over the place.
It's a little disappointing knowing this game has just peaked.
21' RomaNews is breaking on Jovetic - slow day, this - "Vucinic didn't ask me no favors" (rough - street rough - translation). Well good. He's having a baby with someone else, isn't he?
Being serious for five seconds, Jovetic and Puyol should have a kid. I don't really care which one plays the lady.
22' Cassetti ownage. Just as an FYI, it's like the 25th minute here. I'm going to >> (FF) at some point here. I may or may not tell you.
24' I spoke far too soon: JSB made a world class, feline-esque sprawling save of infinite importance. Granted the ball was roughly 12 yards wide of the goal frame, but that's neither here nor there.
25' Luca Toni - if he were a jazz musician, his name would be Luca Tones - and his left foot apparently don't know each other very well.
29' The adboard keeps flashing SALAMI, which is mildly distracting and putting this thing in danger of entering PG-13 territory.
Keepin' it kosher... (Aha. Aha.)
31' This game is really devoid of talking points. What is worth talking about is that I just nailed the spelling of Joaquin Boghossian - entirely via the subconscious - first time. And in other news, he'll be required to change his name to Hogbossian, or some other complex rearranging of his actual name, should he actually make it to Rome. (Going by percentages, logic, percentages and then some more logic, in that order, he won't.)
Eventually a YouTuber will come. For now, simply because I've been singing "Bariiiiii don't like it" for the last half hour, here are some tunes:
35' Luca Toni has improved his tan at least 8% in the first 35 minutes of this game; he's really got something special goin' on right now. Whatever that sheen is coming off his body - I've heard it referred to in scientific circles as "sweat" - someone should bottle it and put it on shelves.
Entrepreneurial genius at work here, ladies and gents.
(Hey, how do you get Luca Toni to sweat into bottles? Put him in an Azzurri shirt. I'll be here all night.)
38' Cassetti has gone from this...
...to one of the best coiffed above-average rightbacks in calcio history. It's the type of transformation which makes you wonder if he's using synthetic products - just don't tell CONI/WADA.
43' John Arne Riise playing CF right now. John Arne Riise.
If they win the scudetto this year, I'm going to look back on his defensive positioning with fondness and a chuckle. If not, I may trek that baseball bat to Rome and see if a good wallop might knock him back into the right spot.
And as I'm hypothetically walloping him, he sits at LCM, in the only position to intercept the ball as he just did. I'll shut up now.
45' 1 minute added, in case you were wondering.
I carelessly, and purposefully, moved my video player cursor way ahead on the game video, hoping to land the dial at around the 57th minute or so, stealing a few minutes for myself and that naughty protein shake mix eying me lustily in the corner, but I put it right on the @#$%ing dot to the second half.
@#$%ing Second Half
46' During the highlights, and the CL game today, I realized Rizzoli's mama never told him his waistline isn't just above his nipples. Apparently they don't teach the art of shorts-wearing at calcio refereeing school. (That's an unaccredited online university, right?)
47' Riise saves the day. I have a dream that he'll surprise us all one day in May by bursting out of a tunnel in an ironic blaze of longsleeves.
(I never said my dreams were good.)
48' Alvarez & Kamata have, by some distance, the worst hair for a wing tandem in world football.
Well, Nani's current ode to Pedro Martinez is simply an averagely coiffed partner away from ripping the crown away in a cyclone of greasy fury.
51' Finding that picture just added two and a half glorious minutes to my life.
52' Here's a Hogbossian YouTuber in which he's apparently already playing for Cagliari. Good for him.
(Wait, that's black - never mind.)
Here are his vital stats:
Team: Newell's, loan
Games/goals: 16/16, 27/14
Wikifacts: He doesn't have many weaknesses, the main one is that he isn't very quick. Team-mates describe him as a very low profile person, a great friend and very ambitious. Physically, Joaquín has never had a serious injury and he stands out because he is always in good shape.
I love it when mothers write Wikipedia profiles.
56' The defense is still absorbing nicely here in Bari, because I know you're all worried about the outcome of this particular game.
57' I know this goes without saying, but I don't want the cursed scudetto, now of Christian Vieri fame, even if it were to be revoked (which it won't). Inevitably there would see some scandal with a housekeeper, a water bed, Adrian Pit and half an avocado which would then see it shamefully stripped and tumble all the way down to Salernitana.
59' Goal kick.
60' Taddei has well and truly run miles and miles here today.
61' Totti miskicks, proving that the best way to get rid of rust is not to play Bari. Or maybe it is. We'll see on Sunday, no?
63' Is Emmanuel Eboue the hot rumor right now? I haven't really paid attention to rumors in quite some time - it seems the current crop are deserving of our full attention, no? - and I see his name popping up on TMW. (Hogbossian's name obviously got me intrigued.)
In a word or two: no thanks, even if I think rightback needs to be addressed this summer. (Addressed as in buy someone or send Motta to a three week defensive drill camp for 11 year olds - one of the two.)
65' Julio Baptista's in the game right now. I'd put his chances at making it to 2010/11 in a Roma shirt somewhere around those of Rodrigo Taddei morphing into a late career world class regista.
67' On that note, Taddei still needs an extension. Soonish.
68' Brilliant little sequence by Pizarro in which he did a lot of very simple things - much of it via a lucky bounce, but still - that turned into a Bari yellow and Roma retaining possession.
70' TMW: Roma, il Panathinaikos vuole Mexes
What do you say to that level of absurdity? I could look at it funny, and I am, but it's not really getting the point across.
72' Now also noticing Rizzoli has nipple clips, apparently to indicate just where his shorts belong.
Rizzoli's an architect, it seems. Does this mean his middle floors are abnormally tall compared to the upper and lower floors?
74' There's been a lot of really, really nice passing in this half to deaden the pace of the game which I hadn't noticed the first time around. (Largely because when I'm tired "good, simple passing and movement" equates to "you're boring the shit out of me". I think this is why Americans love the Prem - it's played so goddamn early in the morning and you don't have to think.)
78' I'm not entirely willing to do the hypothetical scenarios just yet, but I wonder just what Ranieri's legacy in the greater footballing world would become if Roma were to pip the scudetto.
Though I'm also not entirely sure the actual trophy should mean anything: this is, given the tattered remnants of a football club he inherited, one of the all-time comebacks in my book. 22 in a row? Bosh.
81' Taddei has completed negated the Cassetti sidepart with his full-on lunchlady bloom, which I'm just noticing. This is egregious.
And don't get me started on Cerci...
The only thing holding that right side together is the stylish vision of Marco Cassetti.
83' Daniele seems far deeper in the second half, but then I haven't been paying too much attention; I've been combing TMW for rumors linking Totti to Olympiacos' reserves.
84' Oh yes: Belhadj.
I know nothing. Moving on.
86' Someone really needs to launch a website with the sole purpose of tabulating and celebrating Ranieri's unused subs. What's he on now, about 30? You could set milestones and hand out free gifts/useless things around the house in contests each time he nails one.
88' Julio Sergio hugs Barreto. Do you ever get the feeling every Brazilian in Europe somehow knows one another on an intimate personal level? At least that's how they seem to treat each other. Could be the common language, but every time I hear an American accent in a foreign country I think, "alright, it's time to bolt". I don't see why it should be any different for those who speak Brazilian.
(Normally I'd leave that, but anyone who dares "correct" me is going to get the John Arne Riise positional treatment upside the head - for the good of the gene pool.)
90' Running up on ninety minutes. Claudio's making wild, twirling gestures for no good reason at all, which I approve of greatly. I'm doing it too, just for fun. People are looking.
Four minutes of injury time added. Set your watches.
91' To be serious for a second, I don't think this game went quite as well as hoped, nor would it suffice against a superior team in decent form - say, a Sampdoria. It'll do, particularly on the back of the Inter thumping/hangover, but they best work on a few things - like running up the score - against Atalanta on Sunday, before perfecting them against those goat lovers the next week.
93' I love that Totti's being pulled back on the sidelines as though the circumstances call for a pitch invasion. Francesco's not happy.
Bari don't like it.