Sunday evening, 1700 local time in Rome. The numbers sound like football porn in the ears of Roman tifosi worldwide: Nineteen years since AS Roma last won in Sardinia. Sixth win in a row in Serie A. -5 difference with Juve, +12 on Napoli. 23 wins in 32 games with a goal difference of almost +50. First Serie A hattrick and thirteen goals in eighteen games for Mattia Destro. Roma currently does better than Dortmund or any Premier League outfit , has the same point tally as Real and is almost as good as Barça, Atlético or PSG in their respective leagues. Is it coïncidence all of these mentioned teams played Champions League quarters last week? I think not.
Going rough with Rihanna
Ok so Juve’s win against Livorno made the gap a bit bigger again but at least Parma helped a hand. The rest of the pink fluffy list speaks volumes. Roma is on a roll and they’re not even playing that good to be honest. Roma struggled against the smaller teams back in November (remember the four draws in a row) but now the balance sheet is much better: draws turned into wins. Three times against Torino, Sassuolo and Cagliari, with Atalanta coming to town next week. Apart from Juve, Milan and Atalanta, Roma have now defeated every team in Serie A at least once. Scratch Juve if you count in the Coppa Italia as well. FYI: Milan and Atalanta still need to visit the Olimpico.
While the Parma match pretty much started like a drunk afterparty with Rihanna at Miley Cyrus’ house (pretty rough, huge ‘WTF’-feeling), the Cagliari one was less spectacular. Rudi clearly opted for the counterattack with Gervinho as key player. Just like the Torino game, a Destro goal fell out of the sky and put Roma in a comfortable position. The 0-2 effectively killed the game with 30 minutes still to play. The third goal was a gem, too bad about the penalty though. It seems Roma’s defense has been below-par the last couple of weeks with seven goals conceded in seven games. Probably because Kevin ‘washing machine’ Strootman is sorely missed. Parma’s last goal or Sunday’s penalty could have easily been avoided and were caused by too much self-confidence and arrogance in our ranks. Or maybe I’m just too demanding and harsh for Benatia and co after such a solid start in 2013-2014. However, those tiny errors and flaws need to disappear by the time Fiorentina and Milan come round.
Roma’s overal display on Sunday in Cagliari was a commanding and confident one (knowing the Roman history and taboo surrounding the Stadio Sant’Elia). You can’t really complain when 1) Roma won (duh), 2) the pressure on the team was quite big, 3) we got to see three goals and 4) all this without the help and pressence of Il Capitano on the field.
To end with some negative taste in the mouth (this has been a rather positive and euphoric post after all): the team for Atalanta looks a total mess. No Destro, Florenzi and Pjanic due to suspension and no Strootman, Balzaretti and probably Benatia due to injury. On the other hand, Totti’s fully rested so that’s a big up. Rudi might just scrape together eleven decent players to take on Atalanta but the bench is gonna be a nightmare. And that’s hard to imagine right now when we all have been living the dream since September.