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Roma v Cagliari

Yesterday, I sat, glossy-eyed and running on coffee and something vaguely cheese, fully prepared to complete the season preview. I laid the structure, which I never do, thus @#$% must've gotten real; I even copied down the names from the official website (gold star), and then I...sort of just stared. Every single portion but the expectations - they aren't high - was a smattering of dueling thoughts and massive confusion. The Slovan Debacle(s) did more damage to the knowledge and understanding of Luis Enrique's madness (The King of Spain seems fitting as a nickname now, yes? And it helps that this is being enhanced by a moment of extreme deja vu.) than help, while August 31st and the closing of The Great Mercato of 2011 did equally as much damage to any cohesive knowledge simply by addition without subtraction.

Thus we are here.

I also spent some time image searching "question marks", for which a certain search engine decided to include "stretch marks" in its retrievals as well. That's the type of trauma no one's life needs.

Will cherrypicking 90 minutes change anything? No.

Does a season preview mean anything anyway? No.

But I am posed with several questions, and I'm hoping 90 minutes will perhaps lead to some sort of idea:

How the hell is he going to shape the midfield? (DDR and Pjanic almost seem locks, and the latter really should be, despite the quality and familiarity with this new system of everyone else. He was the steal of the mercato and a future pillar.)

How fluid will the tactics be? It may be a 4-3-3 to start, but it's likely Bojan will cut in to a more central role - seemingly his tendency - with Osvaldo joining Totti centrally, creating more of a diamond, and Angel pushing up when encamped in the opposition's half (if the lineup plays out as thought). One must suspect shape will be relative.

How will Totti and Osvaldo coexist, if at all, tactically? Will one play on the right? Will both play as strikers? Does Luis Enrique really care?

Where does Gianluca Caprari really fit in all of this?

Will Heinze get moments at left back to prepare for his inevitable need with Inter? (Calling this right now: Jose Angel is going to be absolutely torn to shreds at the San Siro if he plays.)

How will Daniele Conti's restraining order against Nicolas Burdisso affect his defending?

After the August 31st splurge, will Erik Lamela be the odd man out?

Does Rodrigo Taddei have any future in Rome aside moonlighting as a showgirl?

Will egos enter the field of play as much as they have completely consumed the headlines since early August?

Will the team in the stands be better than the one on the pitch?*

* - This is far more possible than one would normally think.

But mostly, one thing:

Walter Sabatini is a wonderfully gifted judge of talent. However, building a team is more than simply assembling talent - mental and psychological considerations must be taken, particularly when the well-developed egos of professional athletes are involved. This isn't fantacalcio. Though the team and depth look nice on paper, machines do not function and work on paper; too many cogs in this one?

I'm going to steal ninety minutes. Hopefully Roma can too.

Squad

TBA


Predictions


The Marco Borriello Annoyance Factor: 16,279 goals on a scale of 0-25,000.

The Totti Substitution:
72'

The Anti-Enrique Chants: 73'

Times It Will Take Scooby Doo Fucking Up For Me To Loathe His Existence In Rome: 0.5

XI

Stekelenburg
Cassetti, Burdisso, Kjaer, Angel
Pjanic, DDR, Perrotta
Osvaldo, Totti, Bojan

Score: 1-1