DerbyBy: Pepe | March 10th, 2011
Job done against Palermo, Sculli gets his goal balance rolling, Ledesma is showing his quality again and A.S. Roma capitulates disastrously in Europe. Surely the omens are good for this derby?
Of course, as we all know, trifling matters such as form and omens matter not when the Derby della Capitale is concerned. I would love to take a sterile view of the game and place it within the context of our Champions League aspirations but alas, that is just not possible. Revenge is demanded. A.S. Roma’s shameless victory in the last derby (I am referring to the pathetic refereeing display we witnessed in that game coupled with the fact I have not seen a less deserved victory in quite a while) means nothing less than a totally spirited, committed and passionate performance will do. The three points would go down a f*cking treat as well.
Let’s look back on where we both are this week starting with the enemy.
Roma’s run of riding their luck finished a few weeks back, Tyche (Fortuna) has now turned her back on the lupi and about time too. It was becoming a frequent topic of unbiased analysers of the game (outside Italy at least) that A.S. Roma’s luck could not last. And it didn’t. They have collapsed in spectacular manner and less gracious enemies might mock them for it; but I won’t spit in the face of Tyche any less than not acknowledge her help when she gives it. But all the underlying problems facing A.S. Roma are now surfacing; the horrible ownership situation, potential bankruptcy, star player contracts, the Totti debate and wastrels like (the now departed) Adriano bringing them down. Now I do not wish to see A.S. Roma as a club fail, we all need our enemies (“Molti nemici, molto onore”) so let’s hope their financial woes can be resolved so they can give us a game twice a year (sometimes four times a year).
If there is one thing in this world that keeps me permanently happy is that this is record that will NEVER be beaten, the poker, the four of a kind, the untouchable. Yes, four derby wins in one season. Unforgettable, unkillable, irreplaceable; it can never be topped. We will always have that year, something the merda will never have – the Poker.
Their game against Lecce on Friday finished in a 2-1 win for A.S. Roma, but not without relying on a last minute penalty and several near misses for Lecce. They will be worrying about some of their injury problems although there is a good chance that Totti, Cassetti, Vučinić and Julio Sergio will play.
So onto home affairs, where are we standing at the moment? The display last weekend against Palermo was perfectly acceptable but it wasn’t wholly convincing either. I think the fact that we scored two early goals led our players to drop the tempo thinking that it’ll be better to save the energy for next week. Zárate and Floccari made their comebacks to the first eleven and neither did much to impress but for two different reasons. Zárate couldn’t have been playing more out of position if he’d been asked to actually play at left back; it was a carbon copy of what Nasri was doing for Arsenal on Tuesday. One big difference though, Palermo are not Barcelona. Now we’ll never know if Reja asked Mauro to play so close to his own goal but it’s either that or Mauro is so petrified of losing his place if he doesn’t appear to be working that he does it himself. Either way it’s no good; far be it from me to question the judgement of man with so much experience in the game (something I think us amateurs do far too often) but I cannot see the point of it. If you really do want a back four that permutates to a back six then surely Gonzalez is the man to play or Del Nero for example. Zárate is pretty useless at defending, but more importantly you can visibly see him lose confidence after every mistake when he’s out of position. So this smacks of a lack of courage by Reja, if you want to play that formation then put someone in who can do it, if you’re going to play Zárate then stick him in attack where he can do something. Floccari really didn’t do anything of note in this game but what’s important is that he got a good run out before this weekend.
First photo I put of the mister and it’s after accusing him of cowardice. Sorry Edy.
Now the big question, who will be fit for Sunday? On Friday Brocchi and Mauri will rejoin the group for training, whether that will be enough to see either of them fit for Sunday is an entirely different prospect. What is being said is we’re hoping to see them fit enough to feature on the bench which means unless this is a clever ruse, we won’t see either of them starting. Unfortunately there seems to be very little hope for Andre Dias so it’s looking more and more like we’ll be seeing Big Willy Stendardo again which really gives us a slow centre half pairing. Dias will return to training tomorrow but I’ve seen the word miraculous used to describe what it will be if he plays this weekend.
This leaves us looking at a traditional line-up: Muslera; Lichti (rested last week) back in at right back, Radu on the left and the aforementioned Willy – Biava partnership in the middle. The Matuzalém – Ledesma axis stays in place with what is admittedly a tasty looking quartet in front of them (Sculli on the right, Zárate left, Hernanes trequartista and Floccari up top. Granted, it isn’t Real Madrid but I think the four we have balance each other out very nicely on paper; whether they click on the pitch however…
We certainly need Hernanes to play at his best, in fact it is imperative because the magic ingredient to the foursome is Mauri and he’s still missing, he is the conduit that links all the pieces. Hernanes can do that but he needs to focus on doing purely that and not just trying to etch his name into Lazio hearts by trying to score.
The derby atmosphere is really heating up in Roma and we have one piece of excellent news for this game; the return of the Curva Nord. The ultras will be back in force this weekend and they are planning an extravaganza of choreography to mark their return. There will be much mockery of A.S. Roma’s fantastic luck this season at the hands of referees, and they are preparing some very big pieces with the return of a certain Massimo “Disegnello”, the iconic Lazio artist who has painted some of the most loved pieces to be displayed over the years in the Curva Nord. But, to repeat, most importantly, the long-suffering fans will be back to encourage our boys to the last so let’s hope our players understand the gravity of Sunday and maybe one of them can do what Zárate says “score a goal on Sunday, and they’ll never forget you”. With posters like “life or death” being posted outside Formello, I think the players will get the message.
In other brief news, our youth team sent to Viareggio have been knocked out in the second round. They defeated Torino 2-1 (Adeleke bagging both goals for Lazio) in the last group game but went out at the first knockout stage with a 0-2 reverse against Parma. Also more good news after signing his contract for our young gunslinger Kozák, he’s been informed that he will be called up for the next two senior Czech Republic games (against Spain and Lichtenstein) so congratulations and best of luck to him. Gonzalez has also worked his way back into the Uruguay squad, thanks to him breaking into the first team at Lazio.
Right, I’ll be back Saturday night/Sunday morning for the last minute team sheets and any news that comes in, until then…