It is however the official end of the title race and Roma’s season. Second place it is, nothing more, but certainly nothing less.
An unexpected second place and automatic CL-qualification means we fans should be very grateful for Roma and the season they have played. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to be critical, disillusioned or blind for utterly terrible on-field displays. Catania was one of them and it leaves a very, very sour taste in our yellow-red mouths (those are Roma’s colors, you sick mind). Even though the Scudetto chances were pretty slim from the start, Roma were simply overclassed by Catania and never showed any real desire to at least make the duel Roma-Juventus entertaining enough. Last-placed Catania wanted their goal (avoid relegation) simply more than Roma and showed more desire and heart during those 90 minutes. The best defense lost to the worst offense with 4-1. It speaks volumes.
The fact that disturbes and annoys me most, is the way we have ‘given’ Juve their title. Without a real fight and a horrible display against a relegation candidate. Juve will now go into the Olimpico match as brand new champions. Painful? Yes. Deserved? Probably, depends on your Juve hate and the Giallorosso glasses you’re wearing. After all the previous games, I at least expected Rudi’s men to win (by all means, even if it was an ugly one) to make next week’s clash worthwile and interesting. Now, Roma’s fans have to undergo the cheers, applause and celebrations of the Bianconeri in their own stadium. Painful. Even if you give your fans second place and lots of good memories in 2013-2014, this is not the right way to end. It can’t be, it shouldn’t be. And yet, it is. We just have to life with it. Roma’s third loss deep in the campagin is surely the hardest and ugliest one. And yet, so very typical Roma. Three away losses: Juve, Napoli and… Catania. They just couldn’t resist, could they?
The Giallorossi never looked like vice-champions of Italy on Sunday and that is something that worries and saddens me. Now that the dust has settled on the Scudetto party of Juventus, Sabatini’s work can begin and has to already start thinking of next season. The sooner the better. A team which can hardly keep up in Catania actually has nothing to see or do in the Champions League. Some departments are screaming for upgrades. That is something we have been saying all along mind you, not just after defeats. A star LB, good bench material and preferably a tall striker who can crack a defense and weighs on attackers (Toni, Drogba, Zlatan, Llorente, Gomez…) in case of emergency. There are holes and they need to be filled. Champions League demands it. A bench consisting of Mazzitelli, Marin, Skorupski, Bastos, Jedvaj and Ricci will only make us look like fools and will open the door for more 7-1 losses. If there ever was a time to attract big guns and break the bank, it is now. One can say the hardest part of Roma’s journey has yet to begin: confirm their status and prove that the (utterly deserved I must say) second place was not a coincidence. August will come around sooner than you think.
Roma’s smallest difference with Juve was eight points. Almost three extra wins. They never really stood a chance, whatever our heart kept telling us. This place (Chiesa) is meant as a support, inspiration, a place where one could get away from reality until the very end. No more. As it stands now, Roma’s season is officially done and dusted. Over. Gone. The cards are all on the table now, rien ne va plus. And yet, there’s this little matter of Roma-Juventus next week. We need to watch out or we’ll risk ending the season with another sour note. And 2013-2014 doesn’t deserve that. A win is needed to make the table not look embarrasing. Roma owe it to the fans in their final home game, certainly after the damage done by Catania. 90 points is the goal now, nothing more... but certainly nothing less.