While we're all disappointed about Roma's 1-0 loss to Inter Milan over the weekend, the more level headed among us left content feeling that the Giallorossi were simply unlucky; done in by a nine-save performance from Samir Handanovic. However, this is still Roma we're dealing with, so we have simply have to ask: was this just a loss or a sign of things to come?
To answer that question, I rounded up the clergy and fired a few questions at them.
So what do we make of that match, was it an indication of broader concerns or was Roma just really unlucky?
Bren: I sort of tipped my cap in the actual match review, but I really think they just caught Inter on a bad night. I mean, Handanovic was out of his mind, while Dzeko was denied three separate times. The only issue I have is with Salah's performance, he seemed to rush shots when it wasn't necessary, shooting either right at Handanovic or meekly tapping it towards the goal. Of course, given what we saw last year, I'm incredibly nervous the wheels will fall off once more.
Kevin: Just really unlucky. I'm not saying it's undeserved, but a yellow for protesting and a yellow for a handball is pretty strange. Pjanic should take this lesson and learn from it.
Sam: Honestly I think it was just one of those games where no matter how hard we blew that piggy's house just wouldn't come down.
masonio: You can't always get away with a win when you're relying on moments of individual brilliance/set pieces nor will every side defend like Udinese and let players like Manolas a free pass into their box. With that being said, it's not like Roma played particularly poor either. You win some and you lose some, and I think we were due a loss after our run of wins. I wouldn't call it unlucky.
JonAS: Rather unlucky + it's no shame to lose at Inter. It was a narrow loss too. I can perfectly live with that although it does sting a bit, if it weren't for Handanovic then we played Lazio as the leaders. Shame but hey, Lazio lost as well last weekend so I guess there's no real ‘favorite' for the upcoming derby.
Edin Dzeko has played the role of decoy for several weeks, but against Inter he had some legitimate chances that amounted to nothing in the end. How can Roma get the most out of Dzeko? Is he unfit for this lineup or is it just a matter of settling in?
Bren: Part of me thinks it's just a matter of time before Dzeko's shots start finding the back of the net, but the other half thinks this offense is too wing-oriented for him to get consistent chances, which may have been the issue Saturday. Since returning from injury, he's been the third option in attack behind Gervinho and Salah, so it's not as if he's had a chance to get in a groove, so perhaps he's just a bit rusty. However, the more direct play we saw in the second half, if indeed they take that tactic more often, should get Dzeko more clear cut chances.
Kevin: It's a combination of both. He's a late-ish summer arrival that's been hampered by injury, and Rudi's system might just be too wing oriented for Dzeko. If Roma wants to get the best out of Dzeko, it might be best to keep trying out formations.
Sam: Chill winston, Dzeko is a class act. I've got faith he will start converting his chances sooner rather than later. Bren raises a good point in regards to Rudi's winger obsession hindering his strengths.
masonio: Keep playing him. Right now his play benefits the wingers more than the other way around.
JonAS: Fact is: we can't really put up a formation WITHOUT the big Bosnian right now. Do we want to go back to a Salah-Yao-Falque frontline? Or Ponce's debut against Lazio? Every team needs a striker, we have put so much faith (and money) in Dzeko, we can't judge him accordingly until January at least. The priority now is gaining momentum and grabbing points, Roma did just that in October. It's a matter of confidence, once Edin scores his second the beast might be released.
Now that Miralem Pjanic is suspended for the Derby next weekend, what will Garcia do? What should he do?
Bren: I'd love to say Salih Uçan will get a chance, but we all know that ain't happening, and with Seydou Keita out, I'm guessing it'll be Daniele De Rossi, Radja Nainggolan and Alessandro Florenzi, though if Maicon is rested, he'd probably drop back to fullback, paving the way for William Vainqueur to start...in the derby. Yikes.
Kevin: I agree with Bren on this one: Nainggolan, Florenzi, and De Rossi. I don't see Q starting though...
Sam: Yeah this red card was stupid. Here's hoping Mira produces a rather spectacular performance against Bayer to make up for that brain snap. The midfield lineup against Lazio looks like Ninja, Florenzi and De Rossi, I guess our front 3 will have to spend a fair amount of time dropping deep to collect the ball. I don't even want to think about Florenzi being forced to play RB if Maicon isn't up for it.
masonio: It'll depend a bit on what happens midweek against Leverkusen. We'll probably see Florenzi at fullback then and in midfield for the derby beside Daniele & Radja. If something happens to Maicon & Torosidis, we might see Vancouver.
JonAS: Two Romans in the midfield for the derby? Kamikaze! Rudi could also fall back on a 4-2-3-1: Radja and Dani as DM's with Flo, Salah and Yao behind Dzeko. Hey, it's the derby, who cares about defending, right? I don't know if Vainqueur is up to the challenge to play his first ever Roman derby.
Following that point, give us one or two immediate changes--personnel or tactics--that Garcia should implement to ensure Roma doesn't fall back into old habits?
Kevin: 1. Keep the lineups fresh. 2. More direct play to Dzeko.
Bren: If Maicon is truly fit, I think he has to play regularly, which will enable Florenzi to move back to midfield, which will, in turn, enable Garcia to rest Pjanic. You know, because Salih Uçan is never getting off the bench. They should also, when the occasion or personnel calls for it, shift to a more Dzeko-friendly formation. There's no one else on this squad like him, and there really aren't many guys like him league wide, so they need to make better use of this weapon.
Sam: Put a godamn creative player behind Dzeko! Also, cure whatever it is that is keeping Totti from the field. What the hell does Salih Ucan have to do to get some damn game time?
masonio: Find any way to start resting Florenzi & Digne. It'll catch up to us eventually. Give Salih a chance, if for nothing more than some rotation.
JonAS: Morgan Batman! And maybe a bit more of Castan, Gyomber, Iturbe, Emerson and Vainqueur. Ow and Ucan of course. There are still a lot of people who didn't get a real chance yet. Well, maybe Lazio and Leverkusen are not the ideal timing but when things go our way (2-0 up or more), why not? Digne obviously needs a breather. Radja and Manolas too.
Derby Prediction, go!
Kevin: Very hard to predict a derby due to the emotion involved, but I'll take a stab at it. I'll go with 3-1, with Roma coming out victorious.
Bren: Wow, 3-1. Look at you! I'll say Roma wins a squeaker, 2-1 with a second half match winner from Manolas, who will then rip the beating heart out of a Lazio fan.
Sam: Derby? Don't we have a must win champions league game coming up? I'm going 2-0 for that game and 1-1 in the derby. Playing a derby after champions league is a bit of a mess, I just don't see us making it out of that at our best.
masonio: Trying not to think about it, to be perfectly honest.
JonAS: 1-0, Dzeko goal, Iturbe assist. And let's make it a last minute goal while we're at it! Go on, bank your house on it. I double dare you.