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Roma v Milan

Things are not going swimmingly for AS Roma this season, yet they weren't expected to go swimmingly at all. They were expected to go....pretty much exactly how they've gone. The teams who've beaten them have been better than Roma, and that was to be expected. And things so rarely work out as expected.

So as expected, other things worked out not quite as expected: everyone else is rubbish too. Not rubbish, maybe, but certainly not as good as one would expect them to be. The entire league as a whole is doing Roma - or not so much Roma and more a team in philosophical and personnel overhaul - many favors. Perhaps it's simple parity, and it's not rubbishness but actually improvement on the whole, but that doesn't change the outcome:

No team has won more than half its games thus far. None. And the second best team in the league is Atalanta. That's certainly not how it was drawn up, unless Cristiano Doni was involved.

(In the other top five leagues, one team has won at least 70% of its games.)

It's funny, because in the last two continuous regimes - Spalletti and albeit far more briefly, Ranieri - the football was different but the philosophy was consistent: focus is firmly turned inward. Ask yourself to strive for the optimal and the team will rise, so to speak. This year, it's far less cut and dry; the blinders can get tossed in the bin with Marco Cassetti's dreams of an extension. Perhaps it's transitional and this is but a phase until identity and execution are one in the same, yet again - it doesn't change the outcome.

Roma might be where a number expected them to be, but a fair few probably expected ninth to be five points from the summit - that's Bundesliga-type parity. The gap is lessening for one reason or another (I'm a subscriber to the theory that the next tier down is getting better), so take advantage.

How best to take advantage than to gazump one of those who've thus far underachieved?

There's also that small bit about revenge for celebrating the title on home soil last year. Though I can't imagine anyone but the 1.75 bodies in the starting XI who partook in that match caring all that much. And stealing Mexes, whose absence......well, Philou would've taken out Klose - and possibly several small families - on the way off the pitch. That's all I'm saying.

See, this is why this much squad turnover is so dangerous - it markedly decreases the possibility of the revenge killing.

(Kernels.)

Squad

I really hate this 'day of' bullshit. How am I supposed to sleep the night before?

XI

Or get within 10% accuracy in the projected starting XI?

Maaaarten
Cassetti, Burdisso, Juan, Angels
Gago, DDR, Pizarro
Pjanic
Bojsvaldo.

Continuing with an external focus, if Allegri's smart, he'll put Amelia in net and we can free two hours from our day rather than be subjected to two hours of complete and utter torture at the hands of 'one of us'. Per usual.

Free someone. Free anyone. Just don't free Amelia.

Has there ever been a documented case of someone putting out a hit on the opposition's backup keeper? Merely asking.