Yes, my friends, it's that time of year again. Time for what has quickly become an annual tradition ‘round these parts, The Great Roma Questionnaire Extraordinaire! In case you're new around here, CDT essentially started in this format: a group of people digitally connected by their anguished relationship with Roma, sharing their thoughts, opinions and delusions about our beloved club. This mutual admiration society digitally evolved into The Roma Offside, which eventually progressed to the Chiesa Di Totti. So, it is with reverence to our forefathers that we keep this esteemed tradition alive.
So, without further ado, here is the 2015 Great Roma Questionnaire Extraordinaire. Due to the growth of our community and staff, we're breaking this one up into two parts.
1. Compare your level of optimism from last summer; is Roma in a better position now than they were a year ago? Why or why not?
Bren: It was pretty low a week or so ago, but bagging Edin Dzeko, Gerson and getting close to Lucas Digne has boosted my spirits a bit, though they're not quite as high as they were last year simply because 2013-2014 was a much more qualified success, but I think they're better off in the attack, while the defense is probably worse off at this point simply due to numbers.
Kevin: Roma's in the same position now as it was a year ago. While the offense has improved, defensive reinforcements, especially at fullback, have yet to arrive. This is slightly concerning due to the fact that this has become a glaring need for the team.
JonAS: Mixed feelings. Midfield stayed the same, our attack undeniably looks better but our defence is still in shambles. I'm quite optimistic though, Roma has a decent shot at a top 3 place but like I said last year, a lot will depend on the fitness levels of Castan, Maicon and (if he arrives) Digne. If they can keep their best men at the back healthy, a good CL campaign and a Scudetto battle until May is surely doable with this squad, given 2-3 new additions in defence. So yeah, write down I'm a happy man for now (until late September of course, then I'll drown myself in my own tears after our third loss in four games).
masonio: Roma is in the same position at best. The attack has been reinforced due to the failures of last season's acquisitions and our backline looks more depleted than ever. Rudi regressed a lot last year, so if he can figure out a way to score again then things will be looking up. There's no reason to think that yet, though.
Sam: Last year I was really close to drinking the kool-aid, I loved the way we were playing and thought Destro was going to be our bomber. Suffice to say this year I am waaaaay more down to earth and that is mainly due to the state of our defence. Our team also isn't at all settled or ‘battle ready' going into the season.
NANF: My optimism levels are more are about the same. I think Roma are in the same position, more icing was added to a cake.
Dhaw: That backline is a disaster. This is Calcio. Your backline wins you trophies and Roma is in no position to win anything with that backline. I was confident of Roma winning jackshit last season and I am confident Roma ain't winning jackshit this season also. This is going to be a tough year - if last year was frustrating, then this year is going to be comical. My expectations are CL qualification. Let's see how hard Rudi can make it this season.
Eddy: Last year I was riding the wave of enthusiasm from Rudi's first season, a year in which I would have never imagined we would comfortably sit in second. Our big name threat was Iturbe, a player who may have not been ready for a stage as big and stressful as Rome and then a pickup in a (justly so) prospect aka Manolas, but we had lost Benatia. This year I feel far better. We picked up an established #9 in Edin that we had sorely missed since Batistuta, save the brief cameo appearance of Fritti Scampi e Chianti Calamari Luca Toni. We realized Iturbe is in a fragile year, and so picked up Falque, who I am growing evermore high on. But for me, Salah takes the cake. I think with him we gain an X-Factor threat we otherwise would not have had. The Romagnoli loss hurts, in more ways than one, but not as much as Benatia. Plus, Castan is essentially a new pickup, one I think will come with a point to prove and far outplay Romagnoli, for this season at least
2. Okay, regardless of your faith heading into the new season, what has to happen for Roma to topple Juve?
Bren: Well, they could get some defensive reinforcements for starters, but beyond that, Dzeko and Mohamed Salah really have to deliver, and Strootman returning to form would go miles to fixing Roma's problems.
Kevin: Roma has to be firing on all cylinders. It's true that Juventus is going through a bit of a reloading phase right now, but Roma still needs everyone at their best in order to have a chance at toppling Juve, especially with the lack of defensive reinforcements at this point in time.
masonio: The same thing that was needed last year: a repeat from Gervinho & Rudi (which did not occur) and Juve cooling off a lot (which also did not occur). Roma needs to avoid injuries, get good years out of whichever forwards will play the most and Rudi needs to be a better tactician than 75% of the league.
Dhaw: Turn the losses into draws. Turn the draws into wins. That probably won't be enough to topple Juventus but it surely will get us very close to them. The point difference won't be -17 for the third year running.
Sam: We need our form players to stay healthy and for the attack to be clinical and deadly. Best of luck to Morgan or Shez baby in minimising the bleeding at the other end. Oh and that Juve team actually has to lose some games too.
NANF: Roma can't draw one third of their matches. Hopefully Dzeko can help do that.
Eddy: The ties have to go. I think that will happen with our offensive additions. I will be shocked if we have anywhere near as bad a streak as the second half of last season. We need Castan to be back to 2013-14 condition. We also need to check our expectations and play week-by-week, rather than starting the season with guarantees of scudetto; Romans are too superstitious for that to work. But apart from that I don't see a big difference between us and Juve. Granted, there is still time on the transfer market for things to change, but Tevez, Vidal and Pirlo leaving will hurt. I'm not as sold on Dybala and think Mandzukic will not be as important to the Rube offense as Carlitos was.
JonAS: Quite frankly, Roma must NOT happen. Don't start with the Scudetto talk too soon. If they're still in top 3 come February and max. 5 points from 1st place, then we can dream. Until then: be humble, work hard, sweat for the shirt and the fans. And avoid brainfarts or injuries at all costs. A bit like Rudi's first season: try to rediscover the joy and fun of football. Then eventually everything will fall into place. Also, CL is nice and all, but Serie A should really prevail after January. If the group is doable, aim for top 2. I don't care about EL or Coppa this season, a third consecutive top 2 place and CL qualification is a must. Why? Monaaaaaaaay!
3. Level with us, where will Roma actually finish this season?
Bren: Sad to say, but I think we're heading for second place again. Juve has slipped but not that much, while our defense is paper thin, not to mention we have some serious competition below Juve as well.
Kevin: Have to agree with Bren on this one, it looks as if Roma is set to finish second in Serie A for the third year running. Not necessarily a bad thing for a club trying to achieve long term success.
masonio: Second if Roma can avoid injuries to positions with shallow depth and maintain reasonable form throughout the season.
Dhaw: In the Champions League zone. Maybe.
Sam: I'm leaning towards a tight 3rd place finish between Lazio and one of the Milans.
Eddy: I haven't been this excited about a Roma squad since Batistuta's first year. I embrace the Romanista effect on the nerves, which results in chronic belief that the sky is the limit. Call me crazy, but I think it will be a coin-flip for the Thing-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named. I see second place as expected, to say the least.
JonAS: *sips from Kool-Aid*.... I'm going for it: first place! Those second places have to end sometime and now with both Milan and Inter still searching, Juve losing important pieces and Fiorentina/Napoli/Lazio not 100% the finished article, this third season under Rudi is his best shot at silverware. IF they ignore the CL and Coppa and save energy for Serie A.
4. Besides Juventus, which club scares you the most? Why?
Bren: Gotta be Lazio. They're simply so balanced in all aspects of the game, they're going to be a nightmare to contend with all year, especially given how dramatic Roma can get in the winter.
Kevin: It's a tie between Lazio and Inter Milan. Lazio hasn't lost any significant players this summer, and Inter Milan has reloaded its squad. Even though they're battling FFP regulations, Inter should be a team to keep an eye on this season with Roberto Mancini at the helm.
Dhaw: AS Roma. Don't ask me why when you know the answer.
Sam: Both the Milans scare the shit outta me. We can't rely on them imploding midseason anymore.
Eddy: In terms of squad, I would say Inter. But Miha scares me as a coach. I think he has a world of talent and can really get the best out of his players. As a result, I think Inter may start off hotter but then give way to Milan, which will also have two ex-Romanistas.. hopefully the ex-romanista trend of playing the greatest game of their life against us ends this year.
JonAS: Frosinone and Carpi. You know why. This is Roma we're talking about.
5. Who wins the Scudetto?
Kevin: No comment.
Bren: Gotta be Juve, until proven otherwise
Eddy: I believe in jinxes and so will not comment.
JonAS: Take the last 2 letters from my name and add Roma to it. *spills Kool-Aid all over the floor*
6. Okay, come May, who are the top five on the table?
Kevin: Juventus, Roma, Lazio, Inter Milan, Napoli.
Dhaw: In no particular order - Juventus, Roma, Inter Milan, Napoli, Milan
NANF: Roma, Juventus, Inter Milan, Napoli, Fiorentina
Bren: Juventus, Roma, Inter, Lazio, Napoli
Sam: Juventus, Milan, Roma, Inter, Lazio. Its too tight a race to put them in order.
Eddy: Roma, Juventus, Inter, Milan, Napoli (in no order).
JonAS: Roma, Juve, Milan, Inter, Fiorentina
7.Who's getting the boot back to Serie B?
Bren: Frosinone, Carpi, Empoli
Dhaw: Carpi, Frosinone, Chievo
NANF: Frosinone, Carpi, Atalanta
Sam: Frosinone, Carpi, Sassuolo
Kevin: Carpi, Frosinone, Palermo
Eddy: Empoli, Carpi, Atalanta!
JonAS: Carpi, Empoli and Atalanta
The Great Roma Questionnaire Extraordinaire Archives
The 2013 edition, Chris' last one at the helm, touched upon everything from Erik Lamela to Roma's chances at an EL spot. It also included one of us claiming Benatia would be the best CB in the league.
The Great Roma Questionnaire Extraordinaire Archives
8.Pick your Capocannoniere? How many will he score?
Kevin: Edin Dzeko. I could see Dzeko bagging 23-25 goals this season, which should be enough for him to claim capocannoniere.
Bren:This is going to be a tight race, Dzeko, Toni, Icardi, Berardi, Higuain and even Mandzukic could threaten. That being said, Im going with Icardi with, lets say, 24 goals.
Dhaw: Higuain & Icardi. 23 goals.
Sam: Icardi with 25.
Eddy: It hurts me to say it, but I think it will probably be Icardi. 23 goals.
JonAS: I'm going to get burned for this but... Destro. He'll play a tonload of games in Bologna, obviously first choice attacker and he can repeat Toni's trick of last season. 22 goals should do.
9. Take off your Roma glasses, best Serie A transfer of the summer?
Kevin: It's a tie... and they both go to Inter Milan. Inter Milan brought in winger Jonathan Biabiany on a free transfer, and Stevan Jovetic will only cost the club a little over 14 million euros when his transfer becomes permanent. Both are great pieces of business for a team that already has capocannoniere winner Mauro Icardi in its attacking lineup.
Bren: Gotta be Dybala to Juventus. I mean he had 13 goals and 10 assists on a horrible Palermo team, and now you're throwing him into that lineup, forget about it. He might threaten 20 goals and 15 assists when all is said and through.
Dhaw: Best Serie A transfer has to be Edin Dzeko, especially when you consider the loan deal + option to buy figure. Roma has landed one of the most underrated strikers in world football right now.
Sam: Stefan Jovetic, he is criminally underrated (especially by the CDT comments chorus) and I think he will really flourish for Inter.
Eddy: It's impossible to take off the Roma glasses for me. I say Salah. As for non-Roma transfers, I would have to go with Kondogbia; I really see him killing it at Inter once he is back to 100%.
JonAS: Bacca to Milan. He's a good striker and with the help of Bertolacci, Luiz Adriano and Honda, he'll bang ‘em in like in his Sevilla days
10. Roma's best move of the summer?
Kevin: Edin Dzeko for 15 million euros is an absolute steal.
Bren: Well the window is still open of course, but its hard to imagine anyone having a greater impact than Dzeko. Even in the Sevilla friendly, you could just sense the energy was different.
Dhaw: Edin Dzeko along with getting rid of Holebas, Yanga, Doumbia & Cole.
Sam: Easily Dzeko and at the same time ridding us of Doumbia.
Eddy: It's a coin flip: Salah for his explosiveness, Dzeko for us finally fulfilling a need. I actually flipped a coin, and it landed on Dzeko.
JonAS: Digne. When was the last time we really bought a LB with international allures? Ashley Cole? Uhm ok, I'll shut up now.... I agree a big striker like Dzeko was what we needed but finally, a young LB full of promise. Plus, Garcia knows him. He'll play 40+ games this season and be our next Candela (who was also French just saying).
11.Roma's worst move of the summer?
Kevin: Victor Ibarbo... next question?
Bren: Can't argue with you on that one, Kevin. Not only is he redundant, he's just not that good; he can't even make use of his otherworldly athleticism either
Dhaw: Selling Alessio Romagnoli.
Sam: I concur with the cranky man with the strange name.
Eddy: Both transfers to Milan
JonAS: Since Ibarbo's got enough slack already, I'm going for Yao and his collapsed deal in Abu Dhabi. Highway robbery. Rüdiger - Gyomber as our two CB alternatives looks shabby as well.
12. Who could bring those supposed 12,000 fans to the airport?
Kevin: Only the return of the wonderkid could have Fiumicino in chaos like that. If Marquinhos were to return to Roma, the entire curva sud would be at the baggage claim to greet him.
Bren: Well, they sort of painted themselves into a corner saying it would be someone from France, so it would have to be Marquinhos, Zlatan, Cavani or even Verratti...basically anyone from PSG, I guess.
NANF: Spalletti might be on vacation in France...
Dhaw: No one.
Sam: A new owner to usurp Jimmy.
JonAS: A shirtless Totti covered in oil dancing Gangnam Style. I know I would surely fly to Fiumicino to witness that.
13. Random speculation: give me one player Roma should purchase in the winter?
Kevin: Wojciech Szczesny. If Szczesny is having a good season through winter, Roma would be wise to negotiate a price with Arsenal for the Polish international, as the affair could become long and drawn out if it occurs next summer after Szczesny performs for the whole season.
Bren: You bring up an interesting angle there, and it's definitely tough to predict who will be on the market come January, so their best move might be handling one of those loans, but they're going to need depth in defense or even a reserve forward, so I'll say Cyril Thereau, who they should've bought last summer.
Sam: A reputable F'in Right Back!
Eddy: Kevin nailed it. Szczesny all the way.
JonAS: I see Torosidis leaving in the Winter mercato so Roma should look for a capable fullback, short-term or long-term. If Bruno Peres doesn't come this Summer, then surely Walter must go all out for him in January. Or Criscito from Zenit, so we can loan Emerson. I wonder why Domenico's always overlooked by our management because he ticks all the boxes. Shame.
14. Iago Falque, did we really need him? How will he do?
Kevin: No, Roma did not need Iago Falque. Nor did Roma need Victor Ibarbo. But Falque is preferred to Ibarbo, and should be able to at least carve out a niche for himself in the squad.
Bren: They didn't in any way shape or form, but I think he's going to be an integral part of the rotation before long
Dhaw: Nope. He won't get many games to do anything worthwhile.
Sam: No. Unless Gervinho has a forehead injury, not much.
Eddy: Iago Falque is akin to when, in fantasy (american) football, one drafts the backup to a top-5 running back. He was bought as insurance if Iturbe fails to fulfill reasonable expectations. From what I've seen so far of him last year, and this pre-season, he has potential to leave an impact, as a cameo player alla Dmitri Alenichev in 1998-99.
JonAS: Famous Batman quote coming up! "Because he's the player Roma deserves, but not the one it needs right now." There are better ones, there are worse players out there. I liked what I saw from Iago in pre-season, plus he has a cool name. A good utility player, to put some pressure of Salah, Florenzi and Iturbe. He'll play approx. 20 games in Serie, scoring a goal or 4 and a couple assists. I predict nothing special.
15. Can Pjanic top 10 assists again?
Kevin: Pjanic will easily top ten assists next season. He might have that amount with just Edin Dzeko alone.
Bren: Yes, dammit, I should've raised the bar on this one, he might push 15 easily.
Dhaw: Aye. He will easily manage to do so.
Sam: Very yes.
Eddy: Not even a question. He may do that with Dzeko alone
JonAS: No because he'll be sold to PSG in January... *Creepy noise of Bren and Kevin strangling JonAS*
Part two should be on its way later today...