Yesterday was a holy day in the Eternal City, a day in which the King of Rome received the highest honor his boyhood club has to offer, a spot in their hall of fame. However, as we’re all well aware, that was the lone bright spot in Roma’s Tuesday. With Real Madrid putting Roma in their place during the second half of yesterday’s match, which was preceded by Stephan El Shaarawy leaving after only 20 minutes with some sort of muscular malady, we can almost say Gareth Bale and company added insult to Roma’s injury—after all, what could be more rude than showing up Roma with Totti in the house?
Well, my friends, as you may have heard, it’s gotten worse. Joining El Shaarawy...and Daniele De Rossi...and Javier Pastore...and Edin Dzeko...and Lorenzo Pellegrini on the injured list is one of the club’s youngest players, Ante Coric, the Giallorossi’s 21-year-old Modric in the making.
Now, in and of itself, this is no big deal—Coric has played all of 45 minutes this season (yes, 45 minutes)—but in the broader context, this is quite worrisome, as it’s yet another in a long line of muscular strains that has plagued this club for the past several seasons. Seemingly every week, Roma loses someone to a strain or sprain which requires weeks, and in some cases, months to remedy itself. I’m not sure if this is unusual compared to other teams, just that it seems to happen...often.
In the immediate sense, this puts Eusebio Di Francesco in an incredibly tenuous position. Following their capitulation to Udinese over the weekend, word let loose that EDF had a two match lifeline, giving him 180 minutes to save 18 months of hard work. And, well, as we saw yesterday he’s now 0 for 1 in that quest.
Without alllll those names listed above, an already difficult task—defeating third place Inter Milan and their +15 goal differential—becomes almost impossible. It will take all his tinkering capabilities to cobble together a lineup capable breaking down Inter’s defense, whose 10 goals allowed are second fewest in the league.
So, if that two-match stay of execution is indeed true, it may be the man he replaced flipping the switch on Sunday.