A quick recap: Roma-Carpi 5-1. BATE-Roma 3-2. Palermo-Roma 2-4. Roma-Empoli 3-1. Leverkusen-Roma 4-4. 18 goals in the last 5 games. But, a very big but, they shipped in 11 goals too. So to put things in perspective: the floodgates were open, both in offence and defence. I even felt a bit nostalgic as it seemed Zemanlandia was back in town…
Curiously, most of those conceded goals happened after Roma took a comfortable lead. Carpi, Palermo and Empoli only scored after Roma was leading 3-0. Leverkusen was trailing 2-4 after 83 minutes but still managed to pull off a draw, scoring two goals in the space of 3 minutes. And I’m not even mentioning Manolas’ own goal in the 85th minute in Sampdoria (which resulted in Roma’s only loss in Serie A up to now). Or Dybala’s goal in 87th minute (2-1 against Juventus and once again unnecessary stress and tension for the fans until the final whistle).
t’s obvious our club has a serious problem concerning concentration. Fitness seems alright, it’s more of a psychological thing. Whenever the lead gets too comfortable (a difference of let’s say two or three goals), they doze off and are already looking forward to the next match. Some dubious decisions by Garcia don’t help either. Leverkusen for example. Why not take Torosidis off and replace him with Maicon? Or push Florenzi back to RB? Why sub in Dzeko while Castan or Vainqueur or on the bench, both can steady the ship and bring back calmness. Garcia has shown some flexibility in recent weeks, but on Tuesday we were back to square one.
Against Leverkusen it was vintage Roma once again. From 2-0 down to 2-4 up and back to 4-4. The definition of a rollercoaster. A great game for the neutral fan, a massive disappointment for everything giallo e rosso. A 2-4 comeback would’ve earned its place alongside other great European nights like Roma-Chelsea 3-1, Roma-Bayern 3-2, Real-Roma 1-2 or Valencia-Roma 0-3. But now, it leaves a very sour taste and it’s almost as painful as the 7-1 defeats or the penalty shoot-out against Arsenal in 2009. Champions League always creates mixed emotions in Rome and on Tuesday we saw the Dr Jeckyl/Mr Hyde of AS Roma. Love it or hate it, that’s simply how Roma rolls nowadays.
What’s in the past is in the past (that’s deep!), now we raise the question: How will the team react after this blow? Empoli was a nice appetizer but Fiorentina at the Stadio Franchi is a different beast. Are the players looking for revenge? What’s up with the mental state of our defenders? Both Manolas and Torosidis didn’t look good on Tuesday, Rüdiger too. And after conceding four goals, also Schez won’t sleep too well. I don’t like the idea of an unleashed Kalinic or Ilicic tearing down our defence.
One might think a point in Germany is not the end of the world, after all we had worse results there not that long ago. There are still two home games to be played and a trip to Barcelona in between. All is not lost, but it’s so frustrating if you take a look at the big picture: Roma could’ve easily had 3 points more (a draw in BATE and a win in Leverkusen), sitting comfortably at second place in group E.
Sadly, this Roma doesn’t like comfortable situations.