At 37-years old and with more than 30 appearances in each of the past two seasons, it was only a matter of time before Francesco Totti suffered some sort of minor malady. While under normal circumstances losing Totti for a month (possibly more) would be a season killer, if you hadn't noticed, this season is anything but normal.
After limping off the pitch on Friday, it was confirmed earlier today that Totti did, indeed, suffer a hamstring injury. The early word is that he's already begun a rehab program and will be re-evaluated in 10 days. That being said, Totti is assuredly out of the Udinese and Chievo tilts the next two weeks, while his availability for Torino and Sassuolo thereafter remains questionable.
Now, losing Totti is bad any way you slice it, but there are several factors which should take away the sting...a bit.
- Miralem Pjanic is playing absolutely out of his mind. So, at least in terms of maintaining a creative spark and any shred of forward momentum, Roma should be well set. More on that to come.
- With Gervinho's hamstrings displaying some sort of strange sympathy pains, the path should be clear for Adem Ljajic to get some consistent minutes and develop some chemistry with Pjanic. We haven't seen much of Ljajic, but the early returns have been exciting.
- Ciao, Marco...again. He may not be fast, he may not be flashy, but as we've seen, the tools that he does possess do serve a purpose. Look for him add some muscle to the center forward position and hopefully provide Ljajic and Florenzi with some space to operate.
- Lastly, in terms of the looming fixtures, losing Totti couldn't have come at a better time. Even at 8-0, you never want to overlook anyone, but Roma has more than enough talent to keep up with their next four opponents.
We've all been severely spoiled by Francesco Totti's continued dominance of all things Serie A, but situations like this remind us that, despite the fact there's a church named in his honor, he is an Earth bound misfit like the rest of us. The worst part of this injury, however, is that it lingers; strained hamstrings are the uninvited dinner guests of muscular injuries...just when you think you got rid of them, they come back for a second helping of mashed potatoes.
While ushering Roma to an 8-0 start, placing the Giallorossi among select company in the process, has given Rudi Garcia an air of infallibility, his mettle will truly be tested over the next month. With two of his top three forwards out indefinitely, not to mention Mattia Destro's continued absence, Roma is a Marco Borriello moustache injury away from
Junior Tallo Gianluca Caprari getting paid to play football, like, for real.
Furthermore, losing Totti's creativity and gravitas should put more offensive strain on Pjanic, Kevin Strootman and Daniele De Rossi, thereby making the contributions of Marquinho and Michael Bradley all the more important, particularly as The Bald Beauty is still recovering from his own injury.
So, to recap...unexpectedly thin upfront, a whisper away from being defensively deplete, and a suddenly strained midfield rotation, sound familiar? We've all been concerned with the lack of true depth to this squad, and if this Roma were ever vulnerable to becoming that Roma, now is the time.
In Rudi we trust.