So long 2016, hello 2017! 2016 can be described as a rather stellar year for AS Roma. Yes, I know we didn't win any prizes but the team still gathered a tonload of points and scored a bazillion goals on the process, the numbers prove it.
The return of Imperial Poobah Spalletti was of course the main reason for our Roman Renaissance. Some smart deals done by Sabatini, like SES, Perotti and Fazio, worked out very well. Edin Dzeko probably was the one who improved the most under Spalletti, as he finally found back his killer instinct and already has five more goals in Serie A than the entire last season. Finally, Francesco Totti almost single-handedly dragged Roma through some tough periods (double against Torino, the 3-3 in Atalanta etc). As he already did in the past 20 seasons or so.
Back in January, Luciano inherited a squad with zero confidence and aggression. The Coppa elimination and countless draws of Garcia were fatal, Luciano introduced a new (or should we say old?) system and safely led Roma to third spot. In 2016-2017 so far Roma has switched from absolutely brilliant and devastating to dreadful and uninspiring. Typical Roma. Yet they're still considered Juve's main rival for the Scudetto, not Milan or Napoli, and that remains something to be proud of.
What 2017 will bring is only is only a mystery to us, fans. Let's just hope Totti is involved a great deal in it, maybe even more than past year. Therefore, and as a fitting end to 2016, let's rewind the clock and relive 5 memorable games.
5) December 2016: Roma - Milan 1-0
After Inter, Lazio and Napoli, Roma also won its encounter against Montella's Milan side. This game was very important because it would determine which team would be Juve's main contender for the Scudetto, both teams had the same point total and in second place. AC Milan is once again sexy thanks to Montella (and his cheekbones) and the rise of talents like Donnarumma, Suso, Lapadula and Locatelli. The clash with Roma was a test, and for an hour it remained a frustrating stalemate. But then Radja, one of the stars of Roma 2016, released a rocket past five Milan defenders and Donnarumma, to send Milan back to Lombardy with zero points. Grazie Radja, grazie mille!
4) October 2016: Napoli - Roma 1-3
The Derby del Sole. Probably the least expected win of 2016. Roma win quite convincingly in the fortress of one of Italy's top teams. The San Paolo always is a hostile environment for Roma, but thanks to a reborn Dzeko and Salah, Roma dealt a blow to a Napoli side that is gonna hunt Roma until the last matchday for the CL spots. Come May this win might make a huge difference. One of the most satisfying wins of 2016, no doubt.
3) April 2016: Lazio - Roma 1-4
Another Derby but this one's the real deal. Although Roma has won (or at least didn't lose) pretty much every derby since that darned Coppa final in 2013, this win tasted sooooo good. Not only due to the three-goal-difference but also the display at the Olimpico. Four different goal scorers, including all three of Dzeko, SES and Perotti. It showed what Roma was capable of under Spalletti. They could be unstoppable if all the pawns are in place. Needless to say, every one of us walked around with a smile that day.
2) April 2016: Roma - Torino 3-2
Two weeks after the derby, we were once again blessed with a memorable game. While his Holiness Totti didn't feature in the derby in April, he had a big say in the outcome of this match. Roma were down 1-2 at home after 81 minutes, Totti came on in minute 86 and totally changed the flow of the game. Two goals in four minutes time, including a penalty. People were crying at the Olimpico that evening. Rightfully so, as they saw their Roman hero doing what he does best: Playing some great Goddamn football. "We have Totti, you don't". No truer words were ever spoken since then.
1) May 2016 Roma - Chievo 3-0
Since this is a personal list, I can't help but include this gem. My first ever live game at the Olimpico and what a win it was. The stadium was crowded, people were celebrating, players like Florenzi, Rüdiger, Radja and SES were playing out of their minds, the sun was shining... It was a perfect day. It also was Roma's last home game of 2015-2016 and the players did a victory lap around the pitch. Moments like these don't come round very often so I'll give it my obvious no1. And one day, I'll return. I have to.
So my dear readers, let me know what your favorite games of this year were in the comments below. Thanks for all the support and love shown for Totti Today, have a great and safe New Year and hopefully see you soon!