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Totti Today #36: Third-person view

It happened. Ci siamo. AS Roma, for the first time under Rudi Garcia (since August 2013), drops out of the top 2 in Serie A. After months of nervy and unconfident displays, the Giallorossi finally paid a heavy price and lost a very important place in the standings. Clearly this is a situation both the club and the tifosi are not familiar with anymore.

Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

More than twenty months constantly in the top 2. And now surpassed by Lazio, of all teams. So here we are, binge drinking our way through another disappointing weekend and another 1-1 draw, another mediocre Roma performance and another missed chance to close in on the leaders (how big the gap may be, there’s also honor and pride involved). It’s all about the numbers. "The numbers Mason, what do they mean?!"

Yeah, some out there might understand that Call of Duty reference I just made. It’s a first-person shooter where you look through the eyes of a soldier. Yet it seemed more appropriate this week to have a more overall and accessible look, a third-person view of AS Roma on third place (irony, I love it). Because frankly this has been dragging on for too long now. The two recent 1-0 wins apparently didn’t change a single thing in the locker room.

A while ago in Roma’s history, a 3rd spot would be considered a good, nay even great season by both the management and the fans. Not anno 2015. American Roma (or AC Roma as we like to call it) wants to be a winner, a fighter, a lover, a machine. Succes must be achieved at all costs (see: Iturbe’s transfer… Sorry, couldn’t resist). This must hurt their pride. Since the Summer of 2013 and the appointing of Rudi Garcia as head coach, AS Roma has always been in the top 2. ALWAYS. Were we spoiled too much? Did we punch above our weight? Surely not because twenty months is a damn long time to ‘overachieve’. So why has it come this far? And more importantly: how will the players react to this blow given by their blue neighbors?

I have to stress that the performance at Torino wasn’t that bad. It was an away game, plus Torino is undoubtedly one of the surprise packages this season with good players like Bruno Peres and Darmian (see what I did there?). Or guys like Glik, Quags and Moretti. What truly bothered me, again, was Rudi’s postgame comments. A good performance, happy with the team, tried our best, it’s a shame this or that happened, blablablayaddayaddayadda. Keep your fingers of the repeat button, Rudi. Yes, I agree a loss or draw every now and then isn’t the end of the world. IF the collateral damage is limited. A drop from second to third however is some pretty heavy consequence, how unmeaningful it might look to a football layman. One that could even include a financial hangover.

Luckily, JonAS wouldn’t be JonAS if he didn’t end on a positive note. I still haven’t mentioned the fact that the difference is only one point and it’s Lazio’s time to play in Turin next weekend (the jailbirds, not the bulls). Roma on the other hand host bottom club Atalanta at the Olimpico. Hopefully the table should look like this next Monday:

Juve 73 / Roma 60 / Lazio 58 / meh FC / AC who cares / …

Mmmm, now that does sound like your typical Roman clusterfuck weekend now, doesn’t it? Roma easy fixture, ready to profit from a clash between two rivals … Who knows, this can go either way. The timing though, is excellent. An immediate chance to redeem themselves. To have the psychological advantage over Lazio before the derby. Because when you currently compare the form of both teams, Lazio is the obvious winner.

Eight wins on the trot, a tonload of goals scored in the process. Fresh from a horrible season (58 points and 9th place in 13-14) they found the right vibe and system. They produce free-flowing football thanks to a young and promising trainer and have one really old attacker up front who still delivers the goods... Garcia was born in 1964, Pioli in 1965. Interesting. Dare I say, they look and sound similar to our Roma of 2013-2014? Food for thought.

Focus back on the Giallorossi. From the twelfth of April on, the Roma you once knew is gone. It has transformed. Now the hunted has become the hunter. Thank God wolves are known to be good in that role. Especially if the opponents are goats. A new challenge awaits.

Let’s see if Rudi’s wolfpack is really as hungry for glory as they say.