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Looking Back at Our 2017 Roma Resolutions

We did all right his year!

MotoGP of San Marino - Race Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

We’re really in the doldrums here, folks. Not only are we in that awkward period between Christmas and New Years, where reality is devoid of time and space, but the Serie A news cycle has completely ground to a halt. Beyond the farcical notion that Juventus will buy Kevin Strootman over the summer, there has been precious little news to pour over, real or otherwise.

So, what better time to review our 2017 resolutions than now? Last year we kicked off the New Year with a five prong planned for Roma in 2017, call them the five points of light, but how did we do?

Point #1: Stay Healthy

AS Roma v Genoa CFC - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

What we said

We’ll start with the most obvious one, Roma’s deplorable record in the physio room. While the catastrophic knee injuries suffered by Antonio Rüdiger, Mario Rui, Alessandro Florenzi, and even a couple players in the youth ranks, were disconcerting, they were ultimately freak accidents. I’m not an expert in kinesiology, but I can’t imagine there are many training methods aimed at preventing ligaments from snapping, but the sheer number of niggling little thigh and groin strains this club suffers should make you question their training and/or remediation methods.

What Actually Happened

Hmm, did Roma have any major injuries this year? I honestly can’t recall!

Emerson Palmieri, Luca Pellegrini and Rick Karsdorp, all fullbacks, were bitten by the ACL flu this season, with each injury representing a different type of slap in the face. For Palmieri, it was disastrous as he was just beginning his climb to the top of the international left back heap. His performance under Luciano Spalletti last season put the Karate Kid in the conversation among the game’s best attacking leftbacks, making his six or seven month stint on the sideline a bitter pill to swallow.

Pellegrini and Karsdorp, meanwhile, were easier injuries to endure, though no less depressing. For Karsdorp, his Italian adventure lasted, what, 45 seconds before his knee imploded? We still have no idea how his game will carry over to Serie A—is he even an upgrade over Alessandro Florenzi or Bruno Peres? Pellegrini’s tale is more of an opportunity lost. In the wake of Palmieri’s injury, Luca had a chance to get some significant minutes behind Aleksandar Kolarov this season, but now that Palmieri is back, young Luca will have to settle for the youth team once he’s back to full fitness.

Beyond those catastrophic injuries, we saw the usual spate of niggling thigh and lower leg injuries, but in 2017, much like the several years that preceded it, Roma just can’t shake the injury bug.

Point #2: Beat Who You’re Supposed to Beat

Juventus v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

What We Said

While we all had high hopes that Roma would topple Juventus a few weeks ago, and truth be told, after the first 15 minutes or so it was a dead heat, the real bogeyman haunting Roma’s Scudetto dreams are the losses and dropped points against clubs like Empoli, Cagliari, Atalanta and even Fiorentina. Between those four fixtures, Roma dropped 10 collective points, had they even taken half of those, Roma would be in first place. Matches like these can no longer happen if this club is to take the leap to the next level.

What Actually Happened

Point #3: Get to Europe and Stay in Europe

AS Roma v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

What We Said

Prestige and money may be the bane of a true Buddhist’s existence, but in the world of calcio, they’re as essential as water and air. Prestige begets money and money begets prestige, and neither one can exist for long without the benevolent graces of the Champions League. Sure, I’ll cheer like hell if Roma makes it to the finals of the Europa League, but that’s not the prize we want.

Roma doesn’t have to win the Champions League, but regularly qualifying and advancing in the world’s most glorious competition will go a long way to boosting the bottom line and giving Roma some much needed street cred on the global scene.

What Actually Happened

While Roma eventually crashed out of the Europa League, they ended 2017 on the highest of European highs, not only advancing out of the Group of Death in the Champions League, but besting Chelsea to win the group. No complaints there whatsoever; if Roma can make hay in the next round, they’ll be flush with cash.

Point #4: Depth, Depth and More Depth

Atletico Madrid v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

What We Said

As we’re so often fond of saying, Roma’s top XI is actually quite stout, stocked with top players at nearly every position. With Edin Dzeko in the form of his life, the one glaring weakness from last season’s starting lineup has been eradicated. Kostas Manolas and Antonio Rüdiger form one of the best tandems in the league, the midfield trio is tough, versatile and effective, while Mohamed Salah is one of the hottest properties in the game. But beyond them? Yeesh.

Granted, some of this has been mitigated with the additions of Perotti and El Shaarawy, not to mention the emergence of Emerson Palmieri and Federico Fazio, but there is precious little behind the midfield trio—Gerson and Paredes simply have no defined role yet—and literally no backup center forward. Until these issues are remedied, Roma is an injury or suspension away from crisis.

What Actually Happened

Well, quite frankly they knocked this one out of the park; this is the deepest Roma team we’ve seen in several seasons. With the additions of Maxime Gonalons, Hector Moreno, Rick Karsdorp, Cengiz Under, Lukasz Skorupski, Gregoire Defrel, Patrik Schick and the improvement shown by Gerson, Roma runs two-deep and nearly every position.

While Mohamed Salah hasn’t been fully replaced, and the club still has no reserve striker—not while they continue to insist on playing Defrel out wide—Roma has been able to weather the multi-competition storm thanks in large part to that depth. Now it’s simple a matter of whittling down the rotation patterns to imbue a bit of consistency into the squad.

Point #5: Give Totti Whatever He Wants

AS Roma v Genoa CFC - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

What We Said

Francesco Totti’s diminished role this season, thanks in large part to those previously mentioned spate of minor injuries sweeping through Trigoria, pales in comparison to last year’s low water mark. However, much like last season, when Totti has played, he’s been instrumental, chipping in two goals and six assists in only 11 appearances (all comps)...

Considering all that he has achieved in the past two decades, and the numerous times he’s pulled the club’s ass from the fire in the past several, Totti deserves the right to dictate his own future, so if he wants to play another year at age 41, Roma needs to abide that request.

What Actually Happened

It was an unmitigated disaster from top to bottom. No one, not the club, not Totti and certainly not Luciano Spalletti, emerged unscathed from Totti’s “retirement.” The worst part of the entire ordeal was exactly what we harped on a year ago: Totti could still play in small spurts. And as we’ve seen so far this season, a 40-year-old Totti held more creative spark in his little toe than any current member of the squad.

There was blame to go all around, but you couldn’t draw up a worse way to handle the “retirement” of a club legend than this; Roma completely screwed this one up, no ifs and ors buts.

Look for our 2018 resolutions in the next few days, but what about you? How did your predictions for 2017 turn out?