Cagliari 5 - Roma 1
I still like Nicolas Burdisso the footballer quite a bit, which is obviously the news of supreme importance you've been waiting for, and will be happy to see him take the pitch in 5 games or so. Also, I most surely will not toss the loss entirely on him, even though he may. But...
That's the Nicolas Burdisso we all know. Very good defender with a penchant for making horrifically inexcusable mistakes which put his team at a severe disadvantage. Most, if not all, gratefully conceded Roma had dodged the Burdisso bullet last year. The gods apparently felt the law of percentages needed to be respected.
And this, ladies and gents, is what happens when the gods even things out.
The rest of it was something of a perfect storm of circumstances:
Losing a sub, a defensive sub, to injury within the first 15 minutes; being forced down to a second Burdisso who is, by all accounts, still waiting to approach Loria levels of quality; having Totti come off due to illness and general cross country reasons, therefore Borriello, said not to have 90mins in his legs before the game, had to play 90mins; and a back line which looked like something formerly lunch. Oh, and they played like shit otherwise. But if they'd played like shit otherwise - with 11, without an hour plus at 10 or That Other Guy Who Looks Vaguely Like Someone Else On The Team on the pitch - I'm fairly convinced they would've walked away with at least a point. That's not to slight Cagliari in any way, a team I like quite a bit, but more a result of us having plenty of evidence from Ranieri's Roma 09-10.
But maybe most importantly: going down to ten men for over an hour in the second week of the season, particularly after a break (more international absurdity), isn't quite the same as going down to ten men in November. 'Midseason form and fitness' isn't just a cliche - it's a real, highly impacting thing, like 5-1 losses to Cagliari and leprechauns.
The game itself isn't so much of a lingering problem as the fact that this is the second week in a row I've been forced to say those words. Mistakes will happen and are fully acceptable in this, the human realm, but the worry is the pattern. They still have more than enough in the bank from last year to believe this is but a blip or a slow start (which, given the circumstances, would seem to be true) but blips are, by definition, short, staccato, and over when they're over.
Three points against Bologna, or else.
- Before we retread the well-worn...I need to discuss something. Crotone v Modena is on in the background and Andrea Russotto (little reminder), who entered as a substitute for Crotone, is positively blowing my mind. Long has Russotto been the only person in this neck of the woods whose Lazio sympathies/anti-Roma stance are completely tossed out the window for no other reason than because I can.
And this is Serie B, of course, but he's just drawn the second red card in under five minutes, the first with a bursting run, leaving the defender with no choice but to hack him down from behind, the second a perfectly weighted pass which split two defenders as though autographed by Totti himself, forcing the keeper to take out the striker now 1v1. Two birds, one Russotto.
I just don't get it. I'd give one of my lesser limbs to see him under the tutelage of Francesco and he's still in Serie B.
- Now that that's over, Paolo Castellini was hurt going in, came out hurt. 12 injured minutes does neither break nor make a signing.
Pro: Rosi's good.
Con: Rosi's Roman.
I'll stand by the thought that he'll be the starting RB at some point this year, but he also should've been sent off for headbutting Cossu toward the end of the game. Roman passion, Roman hotheadedness.
And I really want to commend Cossu for not falling to the ground with a thud like a sack of potatoes dropped from a mezzanine, but is this really what football's come to? I think it is. Andrea Cossu not going down may be the most depressing thing, that he's the exception to the rule rather the other way 'round, I've seen on a pitch in some time.
- I'm not typically a fan of comparing results with those of your competitors before a certain point in the season, but it's worth looking at the table and realizing the smaller teams are getting better.
80 points might win this thing.
- Totti coming off was the right move. Next.
- While it's wonderful news to hear Roma killer Daniele Conti - buy him, seriously - will only miss three or so weeks, the clear next move is to run out both Burdisso brothers for the return fixture, therefore frightening him into ineffectiveness.
Although knowing his levels of inexplicable brilliance against Roma, he'd probably tremble a urine stain of the Virgin Mary onto his pants, having the game called while everyone clamors for a view of his suddenly glowing, holy junk.
- I was hit with a severe case of foot-in-mouthitis on Saturday, not 24h after trumpeting their depth. After some pondering and looking at the details, I'm sticking by it. A lot of flukey things happened while they were also hit with what wasn't an insignificant rash of injuries before the game - playing without a leftback and a kid making his Serie A debut in central defense while down a man certainly and visibly hurt (I haven't really understood the need to get rid of Andreolli outside of doing him the favor and will continue to scratch my head). I'd venture to guess Rosi-That Other Guy Who Looks Vaguely Like Someone Else On The Team-Juan-Cassetti is the disaster scenario in the back and is unlikely to happen again. Until next weekend. Or maybe when Nico is sent off against Bayern for doing the same against van Bommel and winning the vote for most popular man on earth in the process.
Anyway, depth - they've got it, except when they don't.
- And finally...if you're going to get a swift kick in the manhood, being forced to swallow some pride in the process, it's best to do so early in the year.
Silver linings and all that.
Now: 36h to the Allianz. Get right back on that horse.