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Desperate for a Win, Roma Look for Season Sweep of Verona

But will 19th place Verona simply roll over?

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-CHIEVO-ASROMA Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

It’s that time of year again, the time when I ask myself why on God’s green earth do I wake up a 6:30 in the morning on a Sunday to watch soccer on a 15” laptop screen? The good news is that, win lose or draw, you can move on with your day before most people are even awake, so we’ve got that in our pocket at least. The bad news...Roma hasn’t delivered much beyond draws lately, so what are the chances we avert another disappointing weekend with Roma?

Well, if the first match was any indication, we might be sitting pretty.

Last Match

September 16, 2017: Roma 3, Verona 0

In case you’re new to the sport, that little white orb the men in black are kicking around is a “football”, for which the sport was named. The point of said sport is to put that orb in the back of the giant, netted barn door looking thing called a “goal”, to which Roma has shown a great aversion over the past few months. However, your eyes do not deceive you; on this particular evening, Roma put that synthetic orb into that net THREE TIMES....THREE TIMES! I shit you not, Roma actually scored more than one goal. What a novel concept. Radja Nainggolan opened the scoring and Edin Dzeko followed up with two more goals—we’re worlds away from that Roma right now.

EDF: Eusebio _______ Francesco

So, what does the ‘D’ in EDF stand for you might ask. Well, early in the season it may have stood for ‘determined’, as the Giallorossi seemed determined to take the league by storm, knocking back all the detractors by exceeding expectations after another summer of upheaval. Times were good.

Verona v. Roma: February 4, 12:30 CET/6:30 EST. Stadio Bentegodi, Verona.

But that was then and this is now. With points dropped in nine of their last 12 matches, that ‘D’ now alternatively stands for ‘draw’ or ‘disappointment’ or ‘damaging to one’s health.’ Di Francesco has looked increasingly frustrated and completely bereft of answers over the past few months, to the point where the once faint calls for his head are now becoming deafening.

So, what's a beleaguered manager to do? Why, blame your players, of course!

Anything could happen, I tried out a few things in training. I am not accustomed to sending out a team that doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be doing. I am without Daniele De Rossi and Maxime Gonalons, but I could still use 4-3-3.

Recently we have played the 4-3-3 badly, but we did well with the same system before that. It’s an issue of mentality, of moments, characteristics and situations.

Source: Football Italia

I am not accustomed to sending out a team that doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be doing. Those are words. Words an actual manager said, about his own team. EDF, in this sense, is a bit like a certain politician under fire, who, in the process of trying to defend himself, provides further ammunition to his detractors.

Well, geez, Eusebio. Why do you think they don’t know what to do? Hmm, whose fault could that possibly be? Let me think....

As Roma fans we’re used to Luciano Spalletti lashing out at the media and even the fans, and we even grew to view Rudi Garcia’s pathetic excuses as sort of cute in the end, but I’m not sure we’ve ever seen a manager indirectly (and possibly unknowingly) blame results on his own shortcomings. It’s pretty impressive actually.

Di Francesco then spoke about the much ballyhooed 4-3-3, to which he is loyal to a fault.

If I change, it is for the good of Roma and to bring home positive results.

I have won trophies using 4-4-2, I started out with 4-2-3-1, all systems are dynamic and fluid. The important thing is not sending the players out unaware of where they are supposed to be going.

I’m not sure to which trophies (emphasis on plural) he’s referring, but something about that phrasing if I change, it is for the good of Roma, bothers me. As if he’d be doing us a favor and not actually realizing that, you know, he’s been doing a horrible job. If I change, it is because I realized what I was doing wasn’t working....there, fixed that for you.

As I mentioned last week, it’s not as if EDF is an incapable manager, but he seems increasingly like the worst possible man they could have picked for this job. His tactical intransigence was bad enough to begin with, but now that it’s peppered with yeah, buts and when I was with Sassuolo we won it just smacks as pathetic.

Which leaves us with only one question to ask: is 19th place Verona bad enough for this pathetic version of Roma to beat?

If not, this could very well be the tipping point for the Di Francesco regime.