Roma 3 - Atalanta 1
The good stuff started pregame: Fabio Simplicio.
Luis thrust onto the pitch a man who knows no understanding of the ball and chain assigned to a midfield role in the new Roma (unlike Perrotta, whose Italian DNA makes his susceptible to things such as "stay in midfield...STAY", whereas Simplicio is impervious to such inanity), rather acting as a mini-wrecking ball; versatile, but a true rumbling trequartista who physically resembles an actual wrecking ball. The man caused havoc. He's a goddamn nuisance. Sometimes for both sides, but chaos is good when one team - the Roma one - is so damn predictable.
And it's the best sign yet: Luis is amenable. And so too are Roma's tactics, because they played nothing like anything we've seen in the past months. That, not the play itself, was the biggest positive.
Of course, there are two teams on the pitch, and thus two managers. Enrique's been getting his cut of discussion, almost to the detriment of the big picture as a whole, but the more intriguing philosophies were on the other side. Colantuono, stating what we all saw:
Atalanta surely did not play a defensive match against Roma. "We had prepared the match carefully - coach Stefano Colantuono said, interviewed on Sky - we knew that staking on counterattacks only would be risky, so we preferred to attack them.
Well, there's your problem. Don't attack a team with so much attacking talent, particularly at their house. Park the bus, rely on the counterattack, thus you'll nullify space and leave them scratching their heads as Nicolas Burdisso assumes 18% of the day's total possession.
Don't ebb and flow, leaving gaps to run into; ebb, ebb, ebb, ebb, ebb....tsunami. Repeat.
They emphasized Roma's strengths, not their weaknesses. Chess, not checkers. So thanks for that. But what it may indicate is somewhat important - and as hypothesis, not theory:
The good thing is good teams - or those who've started out the year well and are enjoying delusions of grandeur (ahem) - will try to play Roma, likely making them look better against those of a certain quality, but not quite as good against the lesser teams who park the team motorcoach and unleash a couple of ninja motorcycles from underneath to counter. Good against good, bad against bad*.
This sounds familiar.
* - Cagliari will finish higher than Atalanta, even dismissing the -6. That they smartly used the tactics of a team ready to finish 16th, which most teams can do, really, is another discussion entirely and may render this point moot so you should just move on and shutupaboutitalready.
- All Roma games involving the following begin at a -1:
Antonio Floro Flores
- Someone needs to run a serious of 'experiments' during training in which Osvaldo is electrocuted slightly when he touches the ball behind the spot, but rewarded when he touches it from the spot on in - I don't know, give him an extra bong hit or something.
He gets into good positions within "What cologne is that you're wearing, sir?" distance of the goalkeeper. That's his skill. He's Pippo, but younger and taller and you couldn't use his face as a leather jacket. Use it and rid all the other stuff.
- Bojan. On the left/in the middle. Every time.
- Stop waiting for Juan to get back. The man's had four decades worth of injuries crammed into the last four years. The future of Roma's central defense is waiting for Kjaer to tame his inner Mexes with shots of Heinze57 in between and lots of glaring looks from Marco Cassetti.
- Lamela's an unknown for at least a year or two. He's likely to add very little to the overall picture anytime soon.
But you get the feeling he would've just shredded Atalanta to bits yesterday.
- Aleandro Rosi > Jose Angel
What have you done for me lately?
Next: Lazio in delicate times.
And a delicate two weeks ahead, as one must beware the dark spies scoping out their next attempted plunder.
Because they've got 'em.