La Lupa

the best blog for AS Roma news in English

Blanc to be appointed new manager?

This is a cool video. Hopefully Blanc is as awesome as he seems in it. 

http://www.corrieredellosport.it/video/calcio/2013/06/04-65817/%C2%ABDimostrami+che+hai+fame%21%C2%BB.+Ecco+Blanc+allenatore-attore

 

We can only hope for the best after Pallotta has had to “settle” for his second choice. To be honest, I know little about Laurent Blanc, but his track record does show he’s a capable manager. Choosing an “outsider” (i.e. a non-Italian) is always risking, however. 

As we all know, pressure in the capital is very different than elsewhere. 

Coppa Italia Final, Roma-Lazio 0-1, May 26, 2013

 A banner in the Curva Sud today read “You with grit, us with heart.” It might as well have read “You with grit, us with ?” That would pretty much sum up the whole season for Roma, perhaps all the more disappointing and painful than last season because of the failed attempt to salvage something with a Coppa Italia… at the hands of Lazio. At least last year Roma didn’t even have the chance to win a trophy. There was simply nothing to hope for, so hearts remained broken but not fractured into a million pieces and rubbed into the dirt.

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What went wrong? Entire dissertations could be dedicated to this question, but from the final we all just witnessed, we can pretty much summarize the issue with several points:

  1. Lack of Direction
  2. Lack of Balance
  3. Lack of Chemistry
  4. Questionable Signings 

In terms of direction, this can be extended to both on-the-pitch execution, with no one in the center of the field, (a registra to direct the action alla Pirlo) two disappointing managers, and owners who perhaps still haven’t got the hang of creating a team of Champions.

In terms of balance, a lot of this could be solved with an effective registra, because there was simply no connection between defense and offense. Up front, Destro was largely isolated and ineffective, especially when paired with Osvaldo, in the center De Rossi had without a doubt his worst season ever, and at the back Marquinhos’ talent was undermined by bad goalkeeping and bad organization. Burdisso demonstrated that he is largely done performing his best, and despite all of his shouting and punching the ground, the backline with Castan and Marquinhos was left constantly exposed, certainly not helped by Piris or Balzaretti/Dodo’. Where was Torosidis against Lazio? I don’t know, but he is perhaps the most reliable of the bunch.

 In terms of chemistry, besides the multiple bust-ups created by Osvaldo, most recently his “go” at Andreazzoli to cap off his angry season, none of the various elements of the team jelled. Perhaps this is a locker room problem rather than a tactical one, or perhaps too many changes over two years has left a squad with little identity. Unfortunately, more big changes during the summer have left me quite pessimistic, that this problem is something that will persist.

Questionable signings? Here goes: Piris, Goicoechea, Marquinho, Tachtsidis, Balzaretti, Dodo’…and they add to the list of others who have seemingly washed-up: Burdisso, Taddei, De Rossi. So there we go, an almost entire line of players undeserving of wearing the Roma shirt.

Where do we go from here? It can only get better, right?

 A shout-out to The Last Legion NYC, watching the Coppa Italia in full force at Pizzeria Numero 28, and supporting Roma every minute of every day. Hopefully they, and Roma fans everywhere, will soon have something to cheer for. 

Milan – Roma 0-0 May 12, 2013

Dirty tactics, bad decisions, and tired legs marks an uninspiring penultimate game to the season. 

A message to Sabatini, Baldini, and all the other members of AS Roma’s management: Stop worrying about finding new players, new talent, new managers, etc. Go and find the best sports psychologists in the world, and hire one for each and every player. Because Roma have seriously the worst mental approach to the game I have ever seen, and with such an approach, they’ll never do as well as they should. They’ll stay as professional underachievers for the rest of their history. Us fans will whither away without leaving a trace except for tears and sweat and frustration.

Psychologists around the world should already be flocking to watch Roma games. Forget Stockholm Syndrom. Please study AS Roma. Please cure them. Forget the penalty not given on Lamela. Please help explain why a team can play so well against Milan in the first half only to suffer when Milan is reduced to ten men for 50 minutes. Please explain why a team that can beat Inter, Juventus, and Fiorentina can find it so difficult to break down the likes of a nothing-to-play-for Chievo and an already-relegated Pescara. 

Although I could offer a thousand reasons of what’s wrong, it will do nothing to change things for the better. It would be but angry ramblings. It is beyond my ability to make a change. But, that is exactly what must happen. It can’t go on like this any longer. Perhaps Mister X will do the seemingly unachievable, and actually manage to take Roma where they belong. Another year out of Europe? Please salvage the season with a Coppa Italia win. But for now…I must say…I can only hope…nay pray…for the best. 

Fiorentina – Roma 0-1 May 4, 2013

Osvaldoooooo! 

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There is something incredible satisfying about Roma winning a game they probably should not have won. Because thinking about how many times Roma should have won key fixtures, only to fail in the end with some ridiculous blunder, controversial call, or some Zemanesque comeback, perhaps there is a small sign that there is hope and justice in the footballing world. Hope that Roma might one day win that illusive scudetto. Well, I don’t want to get too ahead of myself.

I heard an Inter supporter recently say, “We are born to suffer.” I couldn’t believe my ears. Yes, born to suffer five consecutive Serie A wins, a couple Coppa Italias, and wait…you must have really suffered with that recent Champions League win. 

The reality is, to support a team that has always been on the brink of greatness only to fail in the end, is the most difficult. Supporting a bad team is admirable, and certainly difficult, but when one does not expect much, disappointment is pretty minimal. On the other end of the spectrum, supporting a team that wins often obviously can be heartbreaking when expectations are so high…look at Barcelona fans. However, there is always the promise of only a short period of mourning before celebration begins anew. 

So when Roma were under the cosh for 92 minutes, to be able to grind out a win, and for once (or twice) not concede a goal, due to some good fortune and good defending, is extremely satisfying. 

I say keep Osvaldo. I love him yet again. What a weird shirt he wore, though. 

Roma – Pescara 1-1 Apr. 21 2013

Familiar situation isn’t it, foiling another opportunity? Coming off a good string of form, a chance to push for a European spot, a favorable outcome with Lazio losing, a home game to a pretty much already relegated side…and what do we do? Play down to their level, concede a terrible goal, and only wake up after the break when they have already solidified their catenaccio. At least it was not a title-decider like we’ve seen in the past.

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Pescara have drawn 1 and lost 12 of their last games. There is no excuse to now find that Roma are back on the edge of a European spot. It’s simply too dangerous to have to rely on winning the Coppa Italia. Although now that it probably comes down to it, that is exactly what Roma must do. 

More proof of a mercurial Osvaldo, a resurgent Destro, an immortal Captiano, a getting-better-but-still-not-great De Rossi, and deep-set reoccurring mental fatigue that Roma have never been able to shake off. Perhaps winning just one of those scudetto’s that Inter stole would have been the cure. 

 

 

Inter – Roma 2-3 Apr. 17 2013

Derby for the Coppa Italia final? Yes, please.

Already there was a good chance at making the final with 11 of Inter’s players missing due to injury. The absence of Cassano and Guarin was especially taxing on Stramaccioni’s selection for his starting lineup. However, just as Roma started the first 10 minutes or so strongly, they soon let Inter play their tactics, breaking down the Roma attack before dishing the ball off to Alvarez, who had acres of space in the middle of the pitch. It was a simple yet effective tactic for Stramaccioni, the whole world knowing that counter-attacking football is the achilles heel for Roma. And it proved to be just that, Inter taking the lead after what was an incredibly beautiful series of one-touch passes, ending with Jonathan’s low strick landing into the corner of Stekelenburg’s net.

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Roma were again culpable for too many stray passes in the middle of the field. Marquinho proved effective going forward, but as a left-back he simply left Alvarez free to run at the defense every time he lost the ball (which was indeed very often). On the other side of field, Torosidis seemed to be nonexistant, failing, like at the weekend, to make his penetrating runs. The result was an unbalanced, almost frenetic attack, reminiscent of Zeman’s Roma. Luckily they continued to press, however haphazardly, and De Rossi proved effective and comfortable cleaning up the midfield with Bradley. The weakened Inter side almost conceded twice before the break, but Handanovic proved again to be one of the strongest keepers in Italy.

Andreazzoli certainly did something right during the halftime break. Perhaps he brought in Tachtsidis to finally make him useful, but as a translator rather than a midfielder. Whatever the case, Torosidis in the second half was playing that aggressive soccer that we’ve now come to expect from him. An injury to Florenzi, furthermore, cleared up the issue with Marquinho, the addition of natural left-back Balzaretti allowing Marquinho to make those attacking runs without risking too much.

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It all paid dividends, thanks to an impressive performance from Destro. Two goals to put him surely on the starting lineup so long as he’s fit. Perhaps we’ve seen the last of Osvaldo. And how about that goal from Torosidis? The audacity to hit that ball after sombreroing his way into the box. New favorite player? Maybe (Obviously excluding Totti).

It could be a defining moment for Roma. The chance for a European spot, a trophy, and all at the expense of Lazio. What could be better?

Torino – Roma 1-2 Apr. 14 2013

Strangest starting lineup by Andreazzoli? I think so. It makes sense that he would want to rest some key players for the Inter game midweek, but certainly didn’t imagine Dodo’ to be playing up front. Actually, still don’t know if Dodo’ should be playing at all. He has consistently showed that he is a liability as a defender, and up front he merely showed talent with little else. What ever happened to Nico Lopez?  Look at that beautiful face! What role will he play at Roma?

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And Osvaldo is back? I never imagined that, expecting Destro to get some more match fitness before the Inter game. Despite this, Perrotta showed his worth in the center of the field, and made a good pairing with Bradley, both hustling to win the ball to allow Pjanic to work his magic. Two defensive midfielders are furthermore required when Piris is on the field, as he has improved significantly as the season has gone on, but is in no way fitting for the Roma squad. He’s quite fast, granted, and hard working, but his inability to clear simple balls in the box make my stomach lurch anytime he’s given that opportunity. 

Overall, it was a pretty lackluster performance. If anything, Roma were fortunate to have taken the three points after Torino hit a post and a crossbar, forcing some miraculous saves by Stekelenburg. To think his place on the team was ever in any doubt! I don’t care if he still can’t speak Italian, he’s still twenty-five times the keeper Goicoechea will ever be.  Cerci was causing all kinds of problems down the right-hand side and from freekicks, eager to prove Roma wrong for having sold him. Thanks to him, Balzaretti will be suspended for the next match, after finally demonstrating he remembers how to put a ball in the box. It took an absolute stunning strike from Lamela to bring us through, and like always, we made things difficult for ourselves. 

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After all that has been said about Osvaldo, I guess it was fitting that he would score the first goal. Even if he didn’t do much else. But as I mentioned earlier, Osvaldo enjoying his football is a very good thing, and goals certainly help. Perhaps he can bag a few more and prove us all wrong and send poor Borriello out to another club on loan.

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