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Roma 0, Napoli 0: Same Old Song and Dance

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You didn't even need to see this one to understand what happened.

Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

What can we say that hasn't been repeated ad nauseam for the past 18 months? Facing yet another critical match—both for their European ambitions next year and, in some cases, their jobs—Roma came out flat and did very little to change that impression for the bulk of the match. Roma was out moved, out worked and outwitted by Napoli for much of the evening.

Don't let the fact that the match ended 0-0 fool you; Roma drew this match in spite of Rudi Garcia and his "tactics" not because of them. In that sense, this was further testament to the state of this club since last winter—they're not playing bad enough to warrant an immediate and unequivocal dismissal of Garcia, yet nothing in his, or their, performance suggests that this club is headed in the right direction.

We said it last week (after both matches, I'm sure), but it bears repeating: what else do we possibly need to see from Garcia? The offense is ineffective and illogical, a point embodied by Garcia's odd deployment of Edin Dzeko, who had all of one touch in Napoli's box this evening, while the defense owes tonight's draw to luck as much as anything else—Napoli had several genuine chances and simply couldn't convert.

Napoli's performance today was, in a sense, reminiscent of many we've seen from Roma over the past year or so: dominating possession and creating chances, but lacking an actual breakthrough. Of course, in this analogy, Roma plays the role of Cesena, Chievo, Empoli or any other middling side that's perplexed Roma throughout 2015.

In any other context, a scoreless draw away to Napoli would be cause to celebrate, but given everything that's transpired lately, this is yet another piece of evidence in the People of Roma vs Rudi Garcia.

Not that today's match wasn't without its bright spots; were it not for Wojciech Szczesny, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas, Napoli could've charged off to a three or four-nil victory. Szczesny was particularly sharp today, turning away all four of Napoli's on-target attempts, while DDR and Greece Lightning combined for seven interceptions and nine clearances.

Really, if Roma could have managed one single, solitary shot on target, they may have actually won this match, but the attack was virtually non-existent. With Gervinho absent and Mohamed Salah still not fully fit, Dzeko's importance was only magnified. Rather that working the ball through to him in the final third, Dzeko was once again left in no-man's land; drifting far and wide from the goal, taking only one touch in the Napoli box, playing the role of decoy rather than destroyer.

But then again, logic and Roma have never been in lockstep, particularly not during 2015, so I'm not sure we should have expected anything less.

Today's draw leaves Roma temporarily in fourth place, but if Juventus wins, they'll fall to fifth, three points ahead of Sassuolo who now have a game in hand thanks to yesterday's postponement.

Roma are now winless in six matches, during which they have scored all of four goals, trotting out the same static and ineffective tactics.

It's been the story of 2015, what else needs to be said?