It's not as if Roma ever needs any actual, substantial reason to stir up drama, but after their complete no-show in the Derby della Capitale on Saturday, Roma headman Eusebio Di Francesco is reportedly facing yet another ultimatum; beat Porto on Wednesday or kick rocks. And if that sentiment, whether it's real or not, sounds familiar there's good reason—this is (depending on your sources) either the second or third such edict issued to Di Francesco this season.
The over-reactive bunch we are, Roma's loss to Lazio over the weekend was greeted with all the poise of lemmings to the sea. In truth, as ugly as it was, Roma's 3-0 blanking left them no worse for the wear. Thanks to Inter Milan suffering a similar fate on Friday against Cagliari, Roma are still in fifth, three points behind Luciano Spalletti and the rest of Wanda's walking wounded. An opportunity lost for sure, but not necessarily a death knell in Roma's quest for fourth place.
However, when coupled with the Giallorossi's sluggish start to the season (one win in their first seven matches) and their late fall/early winter swoon (only three wins in a ten-match stretch between November and late December), EDF's detractors will point to the derby defeat as yet another symptom of Di Francesco's mismanagement of a rather expensive Roma side.
And with another in a long line of critical matches this Wednesday at the Dragão against Porto in the Champions League, folks around Rome are riled up over rumors of yet another ultimatum issued to EDF: beat Porto or start your summer holiday three months early.
While that rumor could prove as baseless as the ones we saw during the holiday season, with Monchi being courted by Arsenal and EDF's rumored replacement, Paulo Sousa, meeting with Bordeaux on Wednesday about their opening, this story is, if nothing else, infinitely more complicated.
Oh, and we haven't even discussed the notion that Christian Panucci could leave his duties as manager of Albania to serve as interim manager through June, at which time Roma will presumably pursue Maurizio Sarri.
Win, lose or draw on Wednesday, it sure seems like we're headed towards another tumultuous summer in the Eternal City.