As a longtime Roma fan (13+ years), I'm not afraid to say I've seen some sh*t. Austria Vienna was just another chapter in the great Roman Book of Comical Clusterfucks written by the masterful hands of Spalletti, Iturbe, Jesus, Emerson etc. It"s the same thing over and over again: Bad results (Porto, Fiorentina, Torini) were followed by incredible and surprising results (Napoli, Inter). At that point everyone thought Roma was back on the rails, ready to begin a nice streak of convincingly wins, surely with teams like Austria, Palermo and Empoli waiting in line.
Ha! Gotcha, you fool! We all know how those hopes ended. With a slap in the face, back to reality and the state of things: The Giallorosso gave up a 3-1 advantage in the space of just two minutes against an Austria side of which we can't even sum up three players, even if our life depended on it with Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction, know your classics) holding a gun against our heads, screaming "Say 'what' again. Say 'what' again, I dare you, I double dare you motherfucker, say what one more Goddamn time! "
Right, next stop on the coo coo crazy train of this club: Palermo. Relatively easy fixture, no? So says the table: Palermo are placed 18th, at a relegation place with only 6 points from 8 games. Zamparini has already fired a coach this season (shocking, I know), Ballardini was out after two rounds and replaced by De Zerbi... who's probably worse than his predecessor but that's just how Zampa rolls.
Ironically, Palermo are performing better away from Sicily than at their Stadio Barbera. Even more surprising: They haven't lost away this season, as they gained all their 6 points on the road, including some difficult trips like Sampdoria, Inter and Atalanta. Reasons enough to worry about this fixture in my opinion.
The upsides? The attack force of the Rosanero is as silent as the grave: Palermo has failed to score more than 2 goals in a single game until now, while they got their ass kicked by Torino at home not so long ago, 1-4. Manolas and Fazio shouldn't have any problems facing the likes of Trajkovski, Sallai and co, while SES, Salah and Dzeko can do huge damage to Palermo's defensive wall. So tell me, this sounds too good to be true, but what's the catch?
One word: Roma. They only got one problem to face on Sunday and that's themselves and their mental state. Some need to step it up, some need to be dropped on the bench, some even need to be expelled from Rome for a long long time. Luckily, Roma's track record at home this season in Serie A is a perfect 12/12. Wins against Samp, Crotone, Inter and Udine confirmed Roma's strong reputation at thr Olimpico, yet it was totallly nullified by Austria Vienna two days ago.
On top of that, a lot of names are/will be missing from the sheet on Sunday: Rüdiger, Rui, Vermaelen, Peres for example. Mind you, that's an entire backline and a lot of quality on the sidelines. Perotti will also be absent but w-he won't be sorely missed as SES has already shown he is back to his best thanks to his two goals on Thursday.
Look for the usual names to be lined up by Spal, Manolas-Fazio with Florenzi as rightback, Radja and De Rossi to make war in the midfield alongside Paredes or Strootman, and the trio of Salah-Dzeko-SES up front. Really, that should be more than enough to grab the three points, as long as Emerson doesn't step on the pitch against his former club. The boy's a walking bad luck charm.
Expect the unexpected. With this Roma side it's impossible to predict anthing. Will we see another 4-0 trashing or do we need Totti to save the day once again after 80 minutes? Visit our Church tomorrow and pray. That's basically the only thing the fans can do at this point.