As I've mentioned before, I'm not really one for making New Year's Resolutions. While I understand and appreciate the concept, something about setting such arbitrary deadlines always unsettles me; I once made a resolution to not eat pizza for an entire year and, quite amazingly, made it about a month before caving in during a friend's birthday party, but it was literally (well, not literally, but I do love pizza) all I could think about for several weeks. Every time I came home too tired to cook, I was haunted by visions of molten mozzarella and tender yet crisp crust, and knowing that I made this promise, this resolution, a word seldom seen outside of New Year's incidentally, made my inevitable capitulation a full on spiral of shame and self loathing.
Pizza wasn't created to make us feel guilty, yet because I felt the need to make some sort of resolution, I almost damaged the most important relationship of my life. And I'm sure there are several people reading this that have already broken their resolutions and know that pang of self loathing all too well. Set goals, make yourself promises, sure, but tying them so blindly to one moment in time seems to ensure doom, no?
But I digress, when it comes to making resolutions for someone (or something) else, then I'm all for it! So, without further delay, my nine Roma resolutions for 2019.
#1: More Yellow But Less Yellow
The annual kit makeover is one of the strangest aspects of European football. I simply cannot imagine an MLB or NFL team completely changing its uniform each and every year. For a variety of reasons, they're almost sacrosanct; change the shade of red on Detroit's hockey sweater or adjust the kerning on the NY in the Yankees cap and people will flip their lids, but not in football. Annual changes to the kits are beyond commonplace, they've become a part of the sport in and of itself. From fan mockups to kit leaks to grandiose unveilings, it would be hard to imagine modern football without these regular makeovers.
When Roma's 2018-2019 kits were released, I was mildly intrigued. I found the subtle chain mail on the home kits interesting, loved the contrast between the red/yellow/gray on the collar of the away shirts, and was absolutely blown away by the yellow alternate kits. Sure they were bright, but they were a bold departure from the prior year's brown/black amalgam.
But we've hardly seen them this season, so in 2019 I'd love to see these beauties, especially the sponsor-less women's ones, more often. And while we’re on the subject of yellow, let's all pray they've finally ditched the red kits with yellow sock look. Yellow socks may seem good by design by seldom translate to reality.
#2: The Strikers Need to Score
Whether we're talking about Edin Dzeko on the men's side or Martina Piemonte on the women's side, Roma's hitmen are struggling mightily in their basic job description, scoring goals. The reasons for this are varied, but certainly the quality of service they're receiving is a factor, but Dzeko still leads the club with 4.3 shots per match, over half of which come within the penalty area, so at a certain point you have to face the source of the problem; Roma can't win if Dzeko isn't scoring goals. At least on the women's side, Annamaria Serturini has picked up the scoring slack, but there is no consistent goal scoring threat on EDF's squad. If Roma stand a chance for a successful 2019, Dzeko needs to get back on track full stop.
#3: Don't Sell Anyone!
This one goes without saying, right? Late last week Monchi opined that the public was finally starting to see understand his plan; a plan presumably built on jettisoning expensive and aging vets in favor of younger, more multifaceted talent; kids who defy traditional labels and can assume a variety of roles. It's not a paradigm shifting move, but by capturing the likes of Cengiz Ünder, Justin Kluivert and Nicolo Zaniolo, Monchi is doing just that. However, what good is that if they're sold off to the highest bidder every summer? I understand that some of this is beyond his control, but Monchi simply has to draw a line in the sand at some point.
#4: Beat Who You Are Supposed to Beat
This is pretty much an annual inclusion in these lists simply because Roma continues to baffle us all with their penchant to play down to competition. While you never want to underestimate anyone or assume victory, how this club can erase a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona one minute and lose to the likes of SPAL or Benevento the next still amazes me. Scudettos and Champions League places aren't won against Juventus or Napoli, they're won in the trenches as it were, on a shitty, rainy night in Bologna. Dropping points to lesser squads is annual rite for Roma, but it's one they have to avoid in 2019 if they want to retain their place as a top four club.
#5: Avoid Another "Retirement” Scenario
By now you're all aware that official CdT law decrees that, when discussing the end of Francesco Totti's playing career, you are to put quotes around the word "retire.” Totti's forced exit was and remains a hideous pock mark on the face of this club, one they'd be wise to avoid the second time around with Daniele De Rossi, the Son to Totti's Father. Whether it's in 2019, 2020 or even 2021, the end is coming for DDR and, much like Totti before him, he's earned the right to dictate his own exit. Roma could win ten Champions League titles in a row, but the manner in which they handled Totti's exit will forever be a yeah but for me. De Rossi holds nearly as large a place in the heart or Roma fans as Totti, so I hope for the sake of everyone involved they have a better exit plan in place.
#6: Hash Out a Plan for the Youngest of the Young
Roma and Eusebio Di Francesco have handled the budding careers of Cengiz Únder, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolo Zaniolo remarkably well, but when it comes to the likes of Ante Coric and Luca Pellegrini, among others, the path isn't quite as clear. Coric is firmly buried behind Pellegrini, Zaniolo and Bryan Cristante in midfield, while Luca Pellegrini doesn't seem quite ready for starter's minutes, so it is imperative to their careers, and the future of the club, that they handle the next 18 months of their careers correctly. Put simply, they need to play...somewhere, anywhere.
#7: Get Schick Sorted Out
For a variety of reasons, Roma simply must figure out what's wrong with Patrik Schick and fix it asap. Roma has some €42 million tied up in this kid and to date he's been an absolute and miserable bust. With that much money potentially invested in Schick, it behooves Roma to put him in a position to succeed. They didn't do it with Juan Iturbe, and to date they haven't done it with Schick. Is he a wide striker? A lone striker? A second striker? Something else entirely? The extent to which Roma answers that question in 2019 will have long lasting and far reaching implications; that's a lot of money by any standard, but could be particularly crippling for the cash conscious Roma.
#8: Figure Out the Stadium
Last December we passed along word that, at long last, the House that Totti Built, better known as the Stadio della Roma, was given final, official approval. Following that approval, the general consensus held that the stadium would be ready at some point during the 2020-2021 season, which, believe it or not, is only 18 months or so away. And of course, despite that approval, the project appears to have been waylaid again, and at this point I'm not sure what else the club can do; they've made all the necessary adjustments to their plan but nothing seems to seal the deal. With so much wrapped up in this project, further delays could be damaging to the club as a whole.
#9: Just Win...Something
It's been over a decade since Roma won anything...at all. So, whether it's the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia or Monchi's summer beer pong tournament, a trophy in 2019 would be nice.