Bye bye Borriello
A lot has been said and written about Marco during his Roma career on both The Offside and Chiesa. A well-travelled man in Italy, West Ham will be his first trip outside of the peninsula at the age of 31. A somewhat strange choice, knowing also Inter and Genoa were interested. His Roman contract runs until 2015 so don’t bank on a definitive stay in England just yet. It all comes down to Marco himself to make his name in the Premier League as a striker, which is no small feat (just ask Osvaldo). If he likes the league and is settled, he could stay a bit longer but if the move totally backfires, we’ll face the same situation again in Summer: Desperately try to dump Marco or keep him on the bench and sporadically use him as a last minute enforcer? He did a decent job trying to replace Destro and Totti in October and November and even scored in the process against Chievo, giving us the record tenth win in a row. But in the end, one goal is simply too few for his standards. Of course, the biggest upside of his deal is the liberation of his heavy wages. Roma keep on paying a small amount of his fee though. Good luck in West Ham Marco, show Pablo how it’s done. And afterwards, you'll always have your modeling career.
Bye bye Bandido
We all know Nico’s choice for Genoa was not one from his Giallorosso heart but his Argentinian heart (and mind). He didn’t leave because he felt sad, mistreated or misunderstood. He left because the World Cup in 2014 is his final chance to shine on the big stages with his country. And who are we to let Nico rot on the bench? Burdisso knew damn well he couldn’t bench either Castan nor Benatia who form a formidable couple of CBs. Maybe a 25/26 year-old Nico but not an almost 33-year-old one. He was the prime example of a third-choice CB: A bit older, a bit wiser, rustier, not that fit anymore but still reliable enough to fill the holes and protect the backline in times of need. Mainly thanks to his experience and track record in Serie A (four Scudetti, two Coppe). I’ll miss his trademark headers from a corner and hope to see him back on the last matchday against Genoa. And of course at the WC in June.
Here are the things I remember from the Hellas game: 1. I want Iturbe. 2. Radja’s first brainfart in Giallorosso is a fact (yellow for a dangerous tackle). 3. Hallfredsson is Bradley’s forgotten twin brother. The Bradley family clearly loves everyhing Veronese.
Roma’s first half were the most boring 45 minutes of my 2014 yet while Garcia’s Pjanic-Nainggolan substitution was spot-on. The second half was much better stuff and although some might say Roma have been awarded a soft penalty (cough Reina cough) and benefited from some debatable refereeing decisions, the win was not stolen, far from it. And thus, Roma provit from the missteps of Napoli and Juventus and to a degree Fiorentina and Inter as well, standing nicely in the middle of Juve and Napoli. Six points behind Juve, six ahead of Napoli. One step closer to CL qualification or one step closer to first place? Time will tell. Whatever happens, Roma-Juventus on May 11th promises to be huge.
When looking at the statistics this season, it strikes me Roma don’t have anyone on their team scoring more than five goals until now. One might think that’s a pretty average element after 21 games or 1890 minutes. But (a very big but) Roma do have six (!) people with that tally: Strootman, Totti, Gervinho, Florenzi, Benatia and Ljajic. It helps but somehow I long for the days of Batistuta, Montella and even Balbo or Pruzzo. Also, Roma seem the only real side to rival Juve for the title now. Napoli’s 12 points behind, Fiorentina, Inter, Milan are nowhere to be seen in the distance.
Are Juve stutering? After the Coppa elimination, the Bianconeri only achieved a draw against ‘relegation candidate’ Lazio (I kid, I kid…. No, I’m not) while they’ll face Inter at home and Verona away next. Verona is a tricky place as Roma have recently experienced. The Giallorossi on the other hand now start a three-match-run of home games against Parma, Lazio and Sampdoria. Be aware of Parma though, they’re having a solid season and are unbeaten since November 2, a home loss against Juventus.
Try to keep an eye on the score of Napoli-Lazio tomorrow as well. If Lazio go through, we’ll get three derbies in the space of one week (5/02, 9/02 12/02). See, I told you earlier: a Montella would come in handy now…