Honest to goodness, what else can I possibly say? Roma is absolutely putrid right now...Right now? My apologies, I meant for the past five months. Nothing we just witnessed was in any way, shape, or form a transformation from all that has plagued Rudi Garcia's men since these sides last met in late November. The defense was shapeless, the possession was fruitless, the passes aimless and the attempts, well, goalless. I have no hope for the remainder of this season, and 2015-2016 is beginning to look just as bleak.
The first half statistics were pretty close and it was hard to fault anyone in particular for Hernanes' goal, it was just a tremendous individual effort, though when you look at it again, you notice the congestion of white kits staring helplessly as he ripped off a near perfect shot. But that's the difference between Roma and virtually every other team on the planet; they seize the moment, we don't.
The remainder of the first 45 was standard Roma fare: Radja Nainggolan shooting-at-will from 20-yards out, Victor Ibarbo darting around like a deer trying to cross a highway, and Gervinho running himself into and then subsequently out of scoring position. Speed is all well and good, and an important part to any attacking scheme, but these two have just been clueless all season long. And, Jesus *&%$@# Christ, don't even get me started with the amount of touches Ibarbo takes from 30 to 40 yards out; talk about being out of your element.
At this point, I'm almost aching for Francesco Totti to retire, both for his own dignity and so Roma can completely blow up this shit show and start over from the ground up.
Lost amid Totti's greatness is one simple yet remarkable fact. This team has been built around him for TWENTY YEARS; do you have any idea how hard it's going to be maintain any shred of consistency once he's gone? Who will be Roma's lynch pin going forward? Is there anyone on this team you can envision lifting the club in a match like this?
To quote every adolescent female in America, I can't even....
Welp, the second half started with more of the same, perhaps even worse. Throw out the fact that Roma nearly went down 2-0 thanks to an almost own goal, it took little more than seven or eight minutes for Nainggolan fire off a left footed, falling down 20-yarder that went screaming into the stands.
No big deal, we've grown accustomed to that, but can someone please explain why, when down 1-0 with no offensive inspiration whatsoever, Rudi Garcia subs off Totti for Seydou Keita? Was that Garcia's interactive resignation letter? No slight to Keita, per se, but is that the correct tactical move in this situation? The only positive thing we can say about that was simply that it wasn't Seydou Doumbia.
My patience for Rudi Garcia is officially gone.
Fortunately for Roma, Radja Nainggolan discovered what happens when one actually takes an attempt from within 20 yards. Nainggolan's 63rd minute goal leveled affairs at 1-1, or what should rightly be called The Garcia Special.
Miralem Pjanic's 68th minute free kick nearly swung the match in Roma's favor, but from there the Giallorossi traded fouls with the Nerazzurri for the next ten minutes or so, with no real chances to speak of for either side.
Garcia's questionable substitutions continued in the 79th minute when he swapped Miralem Pjanic, Roma's last remaining maestro on the pitch, for Juan Iturbe. Clearly, Garcia was going all out for three points, but with a midfield of Nainggolan, Keita and De Rossi, there wasn't much service for Ibarbo, Gervinho or Iturbe. Pjanic may have requested to come off, but Leandro Paredes could have been brought on to maintain tactical continuity...haha, I know, tactics, funny, right?
Tactics didn't matter in the end, as Lukas Podolski and Mauro Icardi teamed up to send Roma limping home. Icardi is an absurd talent, but that was some poor, poor defending from Kostas Manolas. The kid has 16 goals for a reason, you can't give him that much space in the box, and you certainly can't make a halfhearted attempt to dispossess him as he makes his turn.
We won't know for several weeks still, but that goal could be a decisive moment in the near future for Roma, not quite on the May 26th 2013 level, but it might be the straw that broke the camel's back.
At this point, all we can hope is that the status quo remains intact and that Chievo will somehow upset Lazio tomorrow.
Hope, it's all we've got and its running out.