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Roma Spring Back Into Serie A Action Against Verona

After an unplanned break, Roma continue their domestic campaign.

AS Roma v FC Internazionale - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

With two successive stinkers against Inter Milan and Atletico (though to be fair, the defense and goalkeeping was outstanding), Roma is in need of a victory, and a decisive victory at that; anything short of three points tomorrow at the Olimpico may turn those whispers of complaints into deafening roars. Call it fate or simply coincidence, but the Serie A schedule makers have seemingly served Roma up a soft one, a home tilt against the newly promoted Bulldogs of Verona.

Yesterday we discussed some potential changes Eusebio Di Francesco might make ahead of this match, most notably giving Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman a brief respite in favor of Lorenzo Pellegrini and Maxime Gonalons, respectively. While we won’t know for sure what, if any, changes EDF will make until kickoff, something has got to give sooner rather than later.

How Soon is Now?

I’m an unabashed Smiths fan, and for some reason that song title just popped into my head, but take one look at the lyrics and tell me you can’t find a bit of Roma in there.

There's a club, if you'd like to go. You could meet somebody who really loves you

So you go and you stand on your own and you leave on your own

And you go home and you cry and you want to die when you say "it's gonna happen now"

When exactly do you mean?

See I've already waited too long

And all my hope is gone

A bit maudlin? Sure, but that’s The Smiths, that’s what they peddle. That and long sideburns. But to those of us who are less than enamored with all the stopping and starting and the unfulfilled promises of the grand project, Morrissey hits at the heart of the issue—How soon is now?

Roma v. Verona: September 16, 20:45CET/2:45 EDT. Stadio Olimpico, Roma.

While things aren’t quite as desperate as the last days of Rudi Garcia, when Roma churned out 1-1 draws with assembly line-like precision, given how close Roma was to upsetting the table last year, this sputtering start has plunged us Spalletti-files to new depths of despair. After years of being promised a grand new future, one in which Roma could go toe to toe with Europe’s heavyweights, we’re still stuck in neutral, waiting for our Moses to lead us out of the desert.

I’m not quite sure where this is going, except to say that by now I’ve written several hundred of these match reviews and sometimes the Xs and Os just don’t do it for me, so I’ve deviated from the well worn path of match previews.

Will tomorrow’s outcome make or break this season? Of course not, but a negative result will surely bring a maelstrom of criticism Di Francesco’s way. Much in the same way Spalletti was a victim of circumstance—ushering Roma to a record breaking season in the midst of Francesco Totti’s swansong, where no matter what choice he made or how convincing his side looked he was public enemy number one for benching Totti—Di Francesco is a victim of simply having to follow Spalletti.

Spalletti already had the recognition, the record and in some ways the panache to be a Roma icon before his return, but rescuing the club from the Garcia mess as quickly as he did, and setting a club record last season, set a nearly impossible standard for his successor.

In the few still moments I get per day, I can recognize that Di Francesco has received a bit of a raw deal, and that I have been as guilty as anyone of making snap judgements, but excuses only take you so far, and the reality is that EDF voluntarily walked into this hothouse, fully knowing that every move is dissected and amplified in the Eternal City.

Point being, the reality of leading Roma is sort of akin to leading House Lannister...The lion does not care about the opinions of the sheep. Only in this instance, the city is the lion and calm, rational thinking is the sheep.

So if Di Francesco wants to avoid the same fate as Tywin Lannister {Spoiler Alert if you just started the series}, he needs to get off the proverbial toilet before the imp breaks the door down.

Is that it? Yeah, I guess that’s it. Verona ceased being interesting the minute they cut ties with Luca Toni.

Prediction: Roma 2, Verona 0.