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Roma and Sampdoria to Square Off in Make-Up Game, Finally

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The mythical game in hand is here at last

FC Internazionale v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Back when Roma was mingling with Juventus and Napoli at the top of the table, we spoke of their game in hand against Sampdoria as if it were some secret Scudetto weapon. After all, if Roma could beat Chelsea, what chance did hapless little Sampdoria stand against EDF’s mighty wolves?

My how times change. In the ensuing weeks and months, Roma has been discovered and exploited by virtually every opponent they’ve encountered, where scoring one goal has become akin to scoring over a 500 on the MCATs while drunk. What was once an overlooked match and/or assumed victory, has suddenly become a do or die affair for Roma.

After conceding a late equalizer to Inter Milan, dropping two points in the process, Roma slid to fifth place, sandwiched (ironically) between fourth place Inter and sixth place Sampdoria. So we’ve gone from a game in hand to a veritable six-pointer. Oh, and they play again this weekend. Yeesh.

Coupled with the ongoing Edin Dzeko transfer affair and the dwindling results under Eusebio Di Francesco, things are looking pretty chaotic for Roma at the moment. So, what’s a Roma manager to do?

To Dzeko or Not to Dzeko?

We’re less than 24 hours away from kickoff, and we still have no idea if Edin Dzeko will start this match, much less remain a Roma player. Aside from the ever present financial concerns, one can safely assume that the co-pilot behind this impending sale was the desire to turn the keys over Patrik Schick, Roma’s €42 million man, so I suppose it’s somewhat, well not ironic, but odd, that there’s even a question about who should lead the line tomorrow versus Samp.

If the future truly is Schick’s and Roma has no qualms about selling the defending capocannoniere in the middle of the season, one in which they are not only competing in the Champions League, but still fighting to qualify for next year’s, then fuck it, play the kid now. Why stand on ceremony? Dzeko is being ill-served by this offense anyway, so why all the mystery? Just move on with it already.

But this is Roma, so that won’t happen. Dzeko will throw the number nine on his back barring some midnight maneuvers between Roma and Chelsea. Making matters worse, Stephan El Shaarawy remains in doubt for this match, meaning either way we’ll see a hodge-podge frontline, but if the Dzeko deal does indeed go down overnight, we could possibly see, what, a line of Schick, Diego Perotti and Cengiz Under?

For a club that is currently drowning in uncertainty, the tides don’t seem to be in their favor.