How swift the brisk winds become warm, seasons change, days become shorter, longer, and shorter again. And our hopes too, so transitory that we are never truly sure when they begin and when they end.
Something is happening. Something that hasn’t happened since the beginning of the Garcia era. Remember? The 2013 campaign when Roma started with ten successive wins? Suddenly this team looks solid again. The Olimpico is an impenetrable fortress. Both tactically and mentally tenacious, Spalletti’s Roma is showing signs of being a true contender. Roma happened is a phrase less heard because, well, Roma isn’t happening. The fragility that once haunted this team seems dormant, for now. Ugly wins beside beautiful wins. An intimidating scoring record along with a stout defensive record. Roma has been on quite the tear since losing to Juventus back in December. Spalletti has had this to say about Roma’s revolution:
Are Roma’s Scudetto hopes possible this season? I will just say I get the sensation we are serious about this, our players are serious and the fans have realized we are serious. We feel this wind lifting us up and we don’t know where it can take us, but it means we have to do everything for Roma. This is a serious team that is doing things for real.
When did the winds change? When did the bleak days abruptly end? The pseudo-three man backline led by Federico Fazio, the reemergence of Kevin Strootman, the Multiple Man, Radja Nainggolan, and the deadeye Edin Dzeko have all contributed to Roma’s stunning form as of late. However, it isn’t just these names, the whole team looks unified. Hell, even Rrraun Jesus doesn’t look all that bad. Spalletti’s tactics have been a joy to watch. The shifting of a four-man to three-man back line deserves credit, for this tactical change has been the catalyst for Roma’s success. Moreover, the team’s ability to keep grinding out games without Salah is impressive to say the least. It seems that this Roma is indeed the real deal. Yet, how long will the winds blow strong?
To Believe or Not to Believe
Why does believing feel so wrong? Is it because this team has disappointed us for so long? Can I really continue to rhyme basic words unintentionally... I want to believe. Screw the S word. We should be saying it at this point. Scudetto. Scudetto. Scudetto. However, along with Spalletti’s shrewd tactics, certain things need to happen in order for Roma to reach the top. Firstly, Juventus needs a slump. It’s obvious logic, but for some reason it appears that Juventus’s squad is beatable. True, the 2-0 thrashing of the Goad F—fondlers may have proved their recent fragility false, but c’mon, Lazio isn’t as good as their table position would lead you to suspect. If Higuain manages to lose his stride and Juventus drop some points there is reason to believe that a she-wolf can leap over an old lady.
Another necessary component for Roma’s championship run is squad depth. Although reports suggest Roma may not be adding reinforcements this January, it is imperative that they do. A lack of the numbers in the midfield is precarious. Sure, right now Spalletti is content with a near healthy squad; however, all it takes is a red card here, or an injury there and all of a sudden the squad is porous. Additionally, the loss (gain?) of Iturbe has made room for another attacker. The Defrel rumor is heating up, and his signing would undoubtedly strengthen Roma’s attacking depth. Yet, with three competitions to fight for, the Giallorossi must build their midfield. I’m not talking about a big signing. All we need is a Serie A veteran who can can hold his own and give starters a rest from time to time. Maybe that is too much to ask for.
With a pesky schedule ahead, five games in three weeks, it is imperative that Roma maintain their sparkling form. Arguably, Europa League, you know, the red-headed stepchild of the champion’s league, is a distraction for Roma’s title hopes, but I don’t care. Totti winning a european competition is enough for me to support a hearty fight. Villarreal will be no easy task. As Spalletti said, there is something brewing at the Olimpico. The coach feels it, the squad feels it, and the fans feel it. This is our time to ride the wind into the horizon. And let’s hope that the wind doesn’t die.