After Sunday, we all are familiar again with the club called AS Roma. No more unbeaten run. The ten goals conceded look a little less superhuman. Eight points from 1st place. Uninspiring and sometimes ugly football. DWDWL in the last five games. Unpredictable. Hell, even Daniele and Castan, two of our most consistent players, got a red card. Chaos in the end, unseen this season. And yet, things returned back to ‘normal’. Because the situation until December was not planned and was actually unhealthy. Giallorossi around the world counted too much on the first ten games to praise themselves and regard themselves as Juve’s no1 rivals this season. Some even referred to us as the Bayern or Barcelona of Italy. Puhlease. After Sunday, the whole world saw the (painful I might add) truth. They are not. Far from.
Roma managed one shot in the entire second half. One. A weak shot in the middle of Buffon’s goal, one of the world’s finest keepers. While the Giallorossi were the ones trying to get on the scoresheet and dig out a draw in Turin. They could never get past Juve, not on Sunday. Even if the match lasted 2000 minutes or Roma were handed 100 corners. Juve just had a winning streak of nine games and one conceded goal and they blocked Roma’s threats (Totti, Gervinho) well. it was simply a bad timing to face this Juve. But should the result baffle anyone in Church? Did people really think Roma could put aside Juve in its own stadium Sunday? Well, maybe Totti or Garcia but the Bianconeri made both of them eat their words of last week.
However, we should not fret too much about this loss. 1-0 or 3-0, it doesn’t matter, only for the statistics. Juve were the better side and are now clear favorites for the title, you’re blind if you deny it. They have been building a title-winning team for three seasons in a row now and are ejecting it each season with mayor quality (Tevez, Llorente, Vidal, Pogba…). In the end, they were more shrewd and we became frustrated, mainly due to the high hopes of the fans, players and media surrounding this fixture. Roma might have lost a bit of its prestige in Europe and the Peninsula and particularly the defence has been brought back to earth: Five goals conceded in the last three games, while Morgan, Benatia and co only let in five in the first fifteen games. It eases the pain a bit knowing Milan and Juve were responsible and not Catania or Sassuolo. But there’s still enough to fight for this season, starting with Coppa business on Thursday and that cursed silver star since 2008. Get on it boys!
So now dear fans, the season really begins. Meaning: the hunt for Champions League. And unlike the Scudetto, they still have a pretty darn good shot at it. It’s all about perspective.
You may have heard about our recent addition, 25-year-old midfielder Nainggolan from Cagliari. This one’s a bit special. Heck, it may even be THE most special, delightful transfer I witnessed since I became Giallorosso. You see, Radja is the first ever Belgian football player to wear the Roma shirt. Due to Radja’s short notice transfer, I didn’t got the chance to tell my thoughts about him and the whole move, including price tag etc. I hereby promise you can all expect a lot of Belgium-flavored puns, references and links in the next couple of weeks. Starting with this one: His brand new nickname Radja River. Called after an attraction in one of my country’s biggest theme parks, Walibi. Go on, google it. Let Belgium embrace you, my son/daughter.
I hope Radja has as much fun in Italy's very own national theme park, AS Roma. Try the rollercoaster, kid...