Parma 0 - Roma 1
A debt of gratitude for this first win goes out to His Tottiness and Jonathan Biabiany's decision making/peripheral vision. Both were crucial in allowing Roma to earn their first victory. That and Aleandro Rosi's stone head. As ever.
At halftime, I thought the state was best summed up by blogistuta: "Roma is visibly regressing every game so far." Because they were.
And then things happened. Mostly, basics happened. For a little bit, anyway. Things like the utterly astonishing concept that not all ten outfield shirts - for both sides - need to be in the opposition's half before trying to stuff a ball into the box. Novel!
Or: It's okay to just, you know, allow the end to justify the means. Like moving....vertically. North to south and vice-versa. To goal, even. For the purposes of a goal.
A brief respite from that which has ailed, and comedically so. Why?
Because pretty, pretty tiki-taka Roma won ugly; one to nil in Serie A via a goal from nowhere then spending the final stages barely living by the skin of their incisors.
Seems two clubs channeled the spirit of Claudio Ranieri this week.
Theory: If one places him in or around the six yard box - basically as close to being inside the goal mouth as possible without being offside - someone will ricochet a ball off him into the net.
He's looked like Pippo the last two games: utter rubbish but for the goals. Which is in stark contrast to the man he supposedly replaced, Vucinic, who was utter rubbish for 89:55, just like Osvaldo, but could do such things as beat his man, setup play and run...well, just run. None of which Osvaldo can do. Place him outside the box and he's playing for the other team. Put him 8 yards from net or in, and shit happens.
Judging by the last four weeks, he's likely seen his last days as a lateral forward...ever.
I still don't like him. I still register that all goals count the same. Whatever works.
In the box. The end.
- For all fortune received by Biabiany not spotting Giovinco wide @#$%ing open at the far post for a silver platter equalizer, the two-way battle between he and Angel was utterly epic in the first half. One of the best individual matchups in recent memory. Less so in the second half when they both realized it was largely pointless and decided against even bothering.
(Which was the design from Angel all along: lull Biabiaby's brain into a coma so it doesn't work when his inevitable chance arises. Genius.)
- Miralem Pjanic could lose a 50/50 ball to a stiff wind. He's 21 and looks like his career's about to end at 23 due to wear, tear and physical destruction - we're merely four games into his Serie A career and his long-term health is of genuine concern. Eat a sandwich, dude.
That's all, really.
- Nice to see Philippe Mexes back in a Roma shirt.
- I'm sure Enrique was thrilled to finally win a game. And I'm sure the coaches were thrilled to have some breathing room. And I'm sure Enrique was probably as embarrassed about it as anyone. But being lifted in the sky at the Tardini to celebrate victory in September sort of encapsulates AS Roma 2011-12 right now.
It's AS Roma, not Cisco Roma. Winning 1 in 6 against mediocre-at-best competition is sort of a basic expectation, transition or no.
- Theories abound:
Bojan and Borini are on loan so that they can have 1-2 years of inventing the science to combine Borini's off the ball skills with Bojan's on the ball skills, thus creating the ultimate footballer.
And if they fail? Both go back to their owners, little lost.
It's genius, really.
- If Luis Enrique dies with even the slightest suspicions of foul play, Marco Cassetti's suspect number one.
- Commentary on this was rampant, because it actually happened:
Nicolas Burdisso was brought onto the pitch to save a Roman CB from getting a red card. Nicolas Burdisso.
These are the things one tells their grandchildren.
The Best Team in Serie A.