I don’t know about you but I had a serious flashback on Sunday the tenth of November 2013 around 5PM. And it can be summarized in one sentence: ‘That’s more like it!’ Roma. Sassuolo. What the hell happened? Roma happened. For the very first time this season, under Rudi Garcia. At the Olimpico of all places, under the watchful eyes of His Holiness Totti, against a relegation contender. Damn, this club knows when to pick its moments.
My initial reaction postgame was: ‘Ok, I am NOT going to write my Totti Tuesday today. I’ll better wait until Monday when things have cooled off. The last thing we need in an already unstable and highly emotional environment like Chiesa is a priest lifting burning torches and bloody crucifixes, talking gibberish while decapitating a random heathen. So now we have all looked down at the havoc we created right after after Berardi’s last minute equaliser (broken windows, broken screen, broken bones, broken pets, broken Playstation controller) and the dust has settled on our victims, tell me who is to blame?
Borriello for injuring himself and leaving our attacking department in shambles? Rudi for the illogical Borriello-Bradley substution? All of Totti, Benatia and Destro for being injured and hurting the team’s morale? Burdisso for being bad juju in the center of defence since Torino? Sabatini for not seeing the lack of depth back in August? Bradley’s bad clearance right before Berardi’s goal? The ref? Maicon for fooling us he was back at his Inter-best all this time? Taddei for being so much sexier and more beautful than any of us ever could be?
Is anyone überhaup to blame? Because this is the Roma we are all familiar with and fell in love with. The eternal struggle against minnows, losing leads and valuable points, failing to take advantage of others (Juve-Napoli)… Isn’t this just God trying to rearrange his own world? To straighten things out? To change things back to the way they were. Have we, tifosi, been living in a utopia since September? And maybe the most important thing: Who adviced Bradley to become a professional football player in 2003? Maybe we are all to blame for this. Because we are all Michael Bradley (notorious family motto).
Numbers: Four goals in four games (three actually, given Sassuolo’s comical own goal), 2 out of 6 points the last two games, a lead which is vastly decreasing and Rudi Garcia’s urge to play with a false nine, fewer shots on goal without Gervotti on the team. I know options were dire after Borriello limped off but why didn’t Rudi use Gervinho? What’s the point of calling up a player who is not fit or can’t be used? Why opt for a tactical liability like Bradley and not for a seasoned veteran like Taddei? Why sub off an attacking threat for a defensive-minded player while you have Caprari and Marquinho at your disposal? Why once again break up the Pjanic-DDR-Stroot combo during a game?
Just like Torino, a lot of my questions are still unanswered. And most of them will stay unanswered for at least two weeks (international break). After the recent misery, Romanisti can still be proud when looking at the table. Roma are still up there, before Juve and doubling Lazio’s point total. But it’s not the table that troubles me. It’s the result and mental aspect of the Sassuolo game. Are the players really starting to believe in the Scudetto? Are the media scaring them? Would they be more at ease at second or thirth place? Because this is a situation no one at Roma could have foreseen in November. Questions, questions, questions.
Roma need bodies back ASAP. She also needs to refind her enthusiasm and reason to believe. The record was long gone in Torino, now is time to focus on the real thing: CL qualification. A seven-point cushion over fourth-placed Inter is enough for me to keep my inner peace. For now.
Ironically, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Old Roma is back after an unexpected turnaround on Sunday. It’s time to unfold those No Totti, No Party banners and bring ‘em to the stadium once more. The Giallorossi are unbeaten in first place after twelve rounds but their fans are worried now more than ever. Try to explain that to a normal person.