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Roma Rocked By Sampdoria

Roma did her best to make sure this twisted week got even worse, throwing away a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 against her bete noire; Sampdoria.

Paolo Rattini/Getty Images

Has there ever been a time when a Roma match has been so over shadowed by current events? Both calcio and global?

While the trip to the Luigi Ferraris has about as much gravitas as a stroll to the corner shop to grab milk and the newspaper, the three points were no less crucial.

Spalletti resumed his three at the back with the Belgian mystery man Vermaelen taking the place of Manolas for reasons unbeknownst to your humble scribe. The rest of the team lined up unchanged apart from the hideous highlighted pink and orange kits thrust upon them by their Nike overlords.

No sooner had we all sat down and watched Vermaelen miss a few tackles, Roma was a goal to the good! On their first attack of the match Emerson launched a speculative effort with a bit of fire behind it which the Samp keeper, Puggioni, charitably spilt straight into the path of Bruno Peres who slotted calmly into the open goal.

If you thought this was a signal for you to sit back and ponder the obscenities of the transfer mercato for the next 80mins, you were incorrect.

Shortly after proceedings resumed, Dzeko shouldered a gettable chance and then Sampdoria jumped with both feet onto the accelerator. Shez baby was forced into a few timely interventions as the now Belgian tainted back three looked out of shape and was set upon by the Samp attack.

Our midfield presented all of the stiff resistance of a Kleenex as the home side poured forward with complete impunity into Roma's defensive third. It was inevitable that the levy would break and sure enough that's exactly what happened in the 20th minute when Praet prodded home while his countryman Verm stood there gaping.

Sampdoria kept the pressure up deep into the half and seemed the side more likely to go ahead.

Rudiger looked to have nicked one against the run of play when he battled the keeper to get on the end of a DDR set piece, but the ball was clawed off the line and a free kick was awarded to the home side.

And shortly after another Vermaelen heart in mouth moment, the half time whistle was blown.

Roma's lack of focus in this match was as glaring as the pink on their shoulders as the Samp players swarmed forward at every 50/50 ball and made good use of the gaps between Radja and DDR. This was a completely unrecognisable Sampdoria from the victims of the Coppa Italia, pinning Roma in their own half for minutes at a time.

Coming out for the second half, Roma needed to dig deeper than Roger Federer in the fifth set to break Sampdoria's serve and give themselves a shot at the points. Suffice to say, Spalletti wasn't interested in putting any future sales onto the pitch at the start of the second half.

Dzeko was played through on the 52nd minute but couldn't keep his left footed effort on target as he shot passed the rushing keeper.

As the game ticked along, Roma's best moves seemed to be down the left as Perotti and Emerson became more assertive.

And it was this connection that resulted in Roma taking the lead. Emerson picked up his second assist of the match as he fed Dzeko an enticing ball from the left, which the Bosnian expertly shoved into the space between the keeper and his near post. 2-1.

Roma had so far given us no reason to consider the points were safe and sure enough Samp's sub paid testament to this as Schick equalised with a poacher's special.

If one needed further evidence of the importance of controlling a match against a dangerous opponent, the goalscorer pinched the ball and took off on a dangerous run before flinging himself to the ground as Rudiger and Fazio closed him down. The ref rewarded this recalcitrant behaviour with a free kick smack bang in the danger zone.

Luis Muriel stood up and with a twinkle in his eye; unleashed a cannon which deflected off the wall and dropped under the bar to give Sampdoria the lead. Why does this man dislike Roma so much and why does Roma fall to pieces against Sampdoria whenever we have a sniff at greatness?

Spalletti (reacting 10mins too late) threw on both SES and Totti for DDR and Bruno to try and peg a point back from the death.

In the 84th Totti looked like he had done a Totti by serving up a dime for Dzeko who dispatched it, only to see the offside flag raised. Seconds later SES was clean through on the left but couldn't beat the keeper.

The final roll of the dice came in the 86th minute as Leo -€” why should I even bother for you Judases -€” Parades was flung on for the soon to be uber scrutinised Thomas Vermaelen.

The final minutes turned into a complete shit show as Roma couldn't get that final ball in and Samp were a simple pass away from putting in a 4th, stopped only by a fine Shez save and Rudiger's clearance.

Totti was given a shot with a late free kick, he slipped and then was granted another one that Puggioni was able to palm wide.

The football gods had spoken. Roma's 2017 suddenly switched from eying Juventus to nervously looking back at an onrushing Napoli and Inter.

Well how does one sum up this monstrous calamity? Do we pin it on the unrecognisably frail back three or the overworked midfield that wasn't able to protect them?

The writing was on the wall coming into the halftime break, Spalletti's decision to persist with the status quo was a major contributor in Samp launching their comeback and eventual winner. If only Roma had a regista they could turn to, who could slow play down and control possession...

I promised I wouldn't mention Leo, I promised I wouldn't mention Leo, I promised I woul.... Aaaaaaaaagggggghhhhhhh!!!

Alas, he is surely as good as gone. Throwing him on in junk time and expecting a result is simply counter intuitive for a player who should be dictating the rhythm from the centre of the pitch.

Further to this, the absence of Manolas looms pretty damn large considering the bags of money that are being slung around the Roma vault this week. His absence was keenly felt in this match and let us all hope that it was indeed a fitness issue that contributed to Verm getting the nod on the day.

Roma have once again been dropped back to earth with a thud. The schism between them and the Champions elect is there for all to see. All hopes and talk of the Scudetto will now seem as distant and dreamy as the Obama presidency.

Today Roma had her pants pulled down while her head was in the clouds.