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Totti Today #39: A Hitchcockian Heyday

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What a difference a week makes. Seven days ago Roma were third and falling down harder from the skies than Icarus. Now they’re back in second place and reborn like a phoenix arising from the ashes. It wasn’t that spectacular, but Roma’s two recent wins did boost the belief of the entire club. Just in time.

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Admittedly, I didn’t expected Lazio to lose points in Atalanta. Then again, I didn’t expect Roma to drop points at home to teams like Parma, Atalanta or Empoli. I guess you win some, you lose some. In the end and after 38 rounds, the balance stays kinda the same. Sassuolo and Genoa were two doable fixtures, a 6/6 was much needed to keep the hope alive. Roma did just that: two wins, take advantage of a possible Lazio slip-up, jump over the Laziale. It’s not science you know. The fact that they scored five goals in two games while conceding not a single one, makes it all more beautiful.

Apart from second place, we have another reason to party hardy. AS Roma will make its return to Europe, whatever the outcome may be of the next 4 games. Sampdoria (sixth place, last ticket for the Europa League) has 51 points and can’t catch Roma anymore. Genoa (seventh and no Europe, 50 points) is even 14 points behind with only 4 games left to play. Do the math, Einstein. So yes, we already have a small consolation prize if this season ends on a very sour note. AS Roma will play European midweek games in 2015-2016, whether you like it or not… Of course you do, silly!

But who cares about the Europa Leaugue. The Giallorossi are in an excellent position to grab the second biggest prize of the season, after the Scudetto (although I won’t be surprised if Rudi manages to bring up the talk of a possible Scudetto in his interviews). It seems the Roman battle for no2 will go down to the wire: on matchday 37. A derby worth millions because the winner probably gets automatic access to the Money Champions League. Many people think Napoli also have a say in this, but their last two games are against Juventus and Lazio. Cesena away is a risky fixture as Roma experienced before. Plus Napoli have to play two more games than us: The EL semies and maybe a finale after that. It’s gonna have an impact either way. A deficit of five points will be too big for Napoli. So scratch that one of your list.

Lazio-Roma and Napoli-Lazio, that’s where the key lies. A win and a draw in those two games (or two draws) and we actually have a decent chance to end as winners. From those mentioned teams, Roma probably is the least impressive one, judging from recent results. I did like the last two displays from Rudi’s team. Ok, it was not vintage Roma 2013-2014 or even the one of September 2015, but with two consecutive wins and the closing of the season nearing, we can’t complain too much. A possible trainer swap, player sales, incoming transfers and so on are talk for June and July. Right now, clinging on to that valuable CL spot is all we need to do at all costs. It’s money time for AS Roma, literally.

The Doumbia train seems on the rails, although both his goals happened after some very dubious defending. Consigli should’ve blocked his header while Sunday Seydou got a ready-made assist from a Genoa player. Kudos to Seydou though, he was in the right place at the right time and finished like a pro. Scoring easy goals is a talent too. If he could bang in two or three more by June, I’d seriously consider keeping him. African players tend to perform better when they ooze confidence and earn the trust from a coach. Doumbia can trouble the Milan defence, no worries there. De Sciglio is suspended while Bonera, Alex, Zaccardo, Antonelli or Palletta can’t even polish the shoes of Nesta, Maldini, Jankulovski or Zambrotta. Long gone are the times when a trip to Milan was considered the hardest game of the season.

A little bird also told me Torosidis on LB is becoming good juju, our very own Greek Candice if you’d like. Genoa, Sassuolo, CSKA at home, last season against Juventus in the Coppa… Vasili is a likeable character and he usually does his job (albeit in a less fancy way). I suppose I can live with Florenzi and Torosidis as fullbacks until May but I may suffer a brain seizure if that situation remains the same after the Summer mercato…

You have to admit these are exciting times for a Roma fan. Literally every week the situation can change. For instance next weekend. There’s another clash between a Milanese and Roman team as well: Lazio-Inter. We can go 3 points ahead or be 2 points behind Lazio. Both are plausible but not decisive by far. It’s just another chapter in this Hitchcockian thriller.

Keep one of your eyes firmly fixed on May 24 though, quite possibly the grand finale. I’m sure good old Alfred would’ve been proud.