Given the club's recent history, a 1-1 draw is about as welcome as the bubonic plague, but today's one apiece draw with Bologna was a strangely satisfying moral victory. With Napoli winning over the weekend, Roma would have, at best, maintained last week's pace. And yes, I know, you're probably saying I'm a hypocrite because I excoriated Rudi Garcia many, many times for his string of draws throughout 2015, but I'll give you two reasons why this one was different: despite this draw, the club remains unbeaten in their past 11 matches and Francesco Totti played, and played well.
Of course, Roma probably should have won this match walking away. Statistically speaking, they dominated Bologna today, doubling their shot output and keeping nearly two-thirds of the possession. And, unlike many of their draws in the last calendar year, their shot selection wasn't an issue--they simply couldn't put them away when they needed to. Time and time again in the second half, Roma worked the wings at will, pumping in crosses and through balls across the face of goal, only to be left wanting. There simply wasn't anyone to latch onto what where otherwise dangerous passes.
It was far from Roma's best match, but more importantly, it was far from their worst. So, in the interest of time, let's take a quick look at the two moments that mattered in this match. First up, Luca Rossettini's 24th minute goal
Speaking of 2015, we saw a few of these last year, didn't we? While Kostas Manolas and Antonio Rüdiger have made tremendous strides this season, they're not without the occasional hiccup, and never was that more present than this goal. Watch as Manolas barely kept Rossettini onside, then watch again as Rüdiger lets him waltz past him...then, watch again as Wojciech Szczesny swats at the ball like a toddler chasing fireflies.
But then, something wonderful happened.
Rather than waiting for the 89th minute, Luciano Spalletti opted to give Francesco Totti a full 45 minutes of run, subbing in the eternal captain for Iago Falque at the start of the second half, and it wouldn't take long for Totti to make his mark.
Mohamed Salah: 49th Minute
Pardon my French, but look at that fucking pass! After taking the touch from Miralem Pjanic, Totti did Totti--intuitively and effortlessly picking apart a defense with a deft touch of the ball. And it was more than just that assist, the entire flow of the match was changed instantaneously by this change. With Bologna sitting back, Totti was able to pick up the ball where he pleased and spray it out far and wide, hooking up with Salah and Perotti several times in the second half. It was a joy to behold and a reminder of what this man remains capable of contributing to Roma.
Totti or no Totti, if you're looking for a culprit in today's draw, look no further than this:
18 - Roma have now hit the woodwork 18 times: more than any other side in the current Serie A. Centimetres. #RomaBologna— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) April 11, 2016
You win some, you lose some, but that's an awful lot of would-be goals going astray. However, as we so often say around here, we have Francesco Totti, and you don't.
And today that was much more than a simple sentiment.