70 points. That’s not only Champions League material right there but in most cases also title material, if it weren’t for *sigh* 2013-2014 Juventus. Alas, nothing to do about that. And we’re here to talk about Roma and not Juve after all. The pace of the Bianconeri is simply too high for the Giallorossi but we could say the same about Roma’s pace concerning Napoli, Inter and Fiorentina. So let’s all focus on our own miracle season for a while. And on a possible name for the stadium while we’re at it. Because Stadio Della Roma sounds so boring and simplistic. KFC Stadium? Stadio Olimpico Simplicio? Stadio di Tallo e Nego? Stadio Della Drama? Quite frankly, the possibilities are endless.
The games I missed: Chievo, Torino and Sassuolo. Not quite mastodonts like Napoli or Inter but at this point of the season, playing relegation candidates is almost as hard as playing the top teams. Unlike Napoli or Fiorentina, Roma has to take responsibility and dictate play. After the 1-0 loss in Napoli, Roma reacted with fourth wins on the trot to tighten their grip on second place. Sassuolo was also the fourth consecutive game in which Destro scored. Finally, after round 30, we have someone who has double digits in the top scorers list. Someone who missed nearly half of those games due to injury. Destro now has ten goals in 16 games. Rio is definitely smiling at Mattia and probably vice versa (Seriously, have you already seen the women in that country? It’s absurd).
In February, most of us thought the month of March would be a decisive and bumpy road with a double Napoli confrontation, Inter and some tricky trips (Chievo, Sassuolo). But in the end, Roma did just fine. Actually no, they did great with four wins and one acceptable draw and loss. With only seven games remainining, 21 points to collect AND a game in hand, Roma are now 18 points ahead of fourth-placed Fiorentina. It’s as official as it gets: Roma will return to the Champions League (albeit play-offs) once again after seasons. Undoubtedly the best news after this weekend. A draw against Parma would even mathematically guarantee Roma of top five (and Europa League but who gives a darn about that competition anyway).
Perhaps the biggest difference between Garcia’s Roma and the Roma of recent seasons, is the complacency of the fans (including me). Roma won at Chievo, yaaawn. Roma won at home against Torino, mmmmkay, what’s so special about that? Roma won in Sassuolo… Meh, good job I guess, it’s only Sassuolo... Before the first whistle, we all expected them to do so. While not that long ago, say anno 2012, we would’ve surely drawed or even lost one of those games. Not now. Not under Rudi. It’s true the quality of play is still not as consistent as the results and some players are struggling (Pjanic, Bastos, Ljajic) but in the end, Roma nicely collected nine points in one week. Even an optimist guy like me feared that the players would get a little arrogant/slack when playing five, six smaller teams in a row. And it’s not over yet as we still got Parma, Cagliari and Atalanta before our trip to Fiorentina.
Even though Parma are suprisingly doing well in Serie A, I don’t see any reason to change our attitude right now. A win is a must, preferably with Mattia’s fifth goal in five games per favore. Complacency I guess…