While I gave myself a pat on the back after posting my 1,000th CdT article the otherday, number 1,001 is not off to a flying start. I’ve been so enraptured by my beloved Chicago Cubs making the World Series, nothing else really matters: Work, CdT and personal hygiene have all fallen by the wayside, so please accept my apologies for this hasty review.
Anyway, on to it...
After their 4-1 drubbing of Palermo, which represented the rare instance in which Roma was able to take advantage of Juve’s misfortune on the table, Spalletti’s crew jumps right back into action tomorrow when they face Sassuolo, a/k/a Roma Jr.
Sassuolo v. Roma: October 26, 20:45 CET/2:45 EDT. Mapei Stadium, Sassuolo
Between their manager, Eusebio Di Francesco and their cadre of Roma youth (some sold, some loaned, some with buy back clauses), the Neroverdi are dripping in Giallo e Rosso. Thanks to some shrewd and not so shrewd moves by Walter Sabatini, EDF now presides over the young careers of Matteo Ricci, Matteo Politano, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Luca Mazzitelli, with Luca Antei also in tow, though he was permanently sold.
While that most likely angers and upsets many Roma fans, at least they haven’t been a threat to the club on the table. Through nine weeks, Sassuolo sits decidedly in the middle of the table, garnering 13 points through nine matches, though they have received impressive performances from Politano and Pellegrini in particular.
As far as Roma is concerned, after their rousing performance over the weekend, I wouldn’t expect too many changes ahead of this match, particularly not upfront where Edin Dzeko, Mohamed Salah and Stephan El Shaarawy were absolutely scintillating, accounting for three of Roma’s four goals.
Due to ongoing injuries, the backline should remain the same, but there might be one familiar face on the sidelines tomorrow, Antonio Rüdiger, the man for whom I learned the umlaut keyboard shortcut. Toni, you make recall, fell prey to the ACL gobblin over the summer, keeling over during Germany’s pre-Euro 2016 training, making this a rather tidy four-and-a-half month recovery.
On his returning centerback, Spalletti opined:
We’re close. He’s fit, he’s like a lion cub now. He doesn’t have 90 minutes in him, but he’s in the cage and he’s raring to go...He won’t play from the beginning tomorrow, because it’s risky. Tomorrow he won’t play from the start.
Given his age and prodigious talent, let’s hope Spalletti nurtures this one; Roma can (hopefully) manage Sassuolo without pressing him into service. With Federico Fazio’s steady play, Roma hasn’t been left wanting at the back...you know, centrally because the fullbacks have been atrocious.
Since their Serie A debut a few season ago, Roma has managed 12 points in six matches against Sassuolo, winning three and drawing three. Given Juve’s mini stumble last week, and a relatively light fixture against Samp, Roma can ill afford to drop points tomorrow.