In our last Club Focus we dared to suggest the derby win against local rivals Lazio was potentially due to the extra motivation such games induce. By winning their third game in eight days, there was no reason for us to think the crisis was over. However, there was no doubt about the manner in which Fiorentina were dismantled on Wednesday night, as the Giallorossi produced a scintillating performance, marred only by the misleading 3-2 score line. Claudio Ranieri’s team dominated from start to finish, and for once looked like the team that almost snatched the scudetto title last season.
Fiorentina, also a team trying to haul itself up from a difficult moment, had no answer to this new and improved Roma. Ranieri used once again the 4-3-1-2 system from the Lazio game but this one resembled more a diamond 4-4-2. He has been able to find a better position for the still off-colour Daniele De Rossi, at the base of the diamond. ‘Capitan Futuro’ has failed to help the team in an attacking sense all season. But, in the more withdrawn position just ahead of the defence, he has still been able to win and recover possession as well as he always did. Potentially we are seeing, for the time being at least, De Rossi as nothing more than a ball winner – but a very good ball winner.
The ex-Chelsea tactician decided to rest Mirko Vucinic and Simone Perrotta in favour of returning Francesco Totti to the team and giving Leandro Greco another chance to prove his worth. Totti, although yet to score in the league this season, played a major part in the game especially towards the end as he held up the ball and took foul after foul to ensure his team kept possession. Greco also played his part and does not look overawed in any way since his promotion to the first team. His addition to the first team squad has been of significance, as his inclusion has coincided with this recent run of victories. Of more interest is the position of Jeremy Menez at the tip of the midfield rhombus. It is not the first time we have doubted his effectiveness in this area of the field and we will continue to bury our head in the sand and suggest we at Club Focus are still unconvinced. Much of his superlative ability was on show out wide, in fact Roma’s second goal was engineered by the Frenchman’s ability to dribble down the right and cross for Marco Borriello to tap into the net. He failed to be as effective in the middle especially when faced with such colossi as Cesare Natale and Alessandro Gamberini. He is currently Roma’s most dangerous weapon without a shadow of doubt, but all his good work has come from the wings.
Defensively, Nicolas Burdisso and Philippe Mexes were immense and only one minor distraction from the argentine allowed Alberto Gilardino to sweep his shot past Julio Sergio. We should allow him this one lapse as his first half miracle goal line clearance was worth a goal itself and apart from Gaetano D’Agostino’s incredible free kick, the defence easily repelled every Viola attack. The performance really was something akin to what we watched last season. The away game at the weekend with Juventus will affirm once and for all whether, as proclaimed last week by Vucinic, if Roma are truly out of their crisis.
November is becoming a fruitful time of year for I Lupi, last season they won four out of five games during the month and things are being replicated this year. The squad is also dealing with the player absences better than it has done all season. This is a true mark of a dangerous team. Whereas Inter struggle to manage with injuries to the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Walter Samuel, Esteban Cambiasso, Maicon and Julio Cesar the Giallorossi appear to be now be coping without Rodrigo Taddei, Juan and David Pizarro.
Looking forward to the match against the Bianconeri, Roma are catching La Vecchia Signora at probably the best time. Riddled with injuries, Luigi Del Neri has stated with the suspension of ex-Roma fullback Marco Motta, he will need to ‘invent’ a new right back. Juve are very much ‘ripe for the picking’ and even with the Giallorossi playing away, they should be favourites for this tie. We strongly suggest a glance over at the Juventus Club Focus this week to read how delicate the current squad situation is for Del Neri’s men.
We will end this week by joining Francesco Totti in his words of encouragement to Milan striker, Filippo Inzaghi, who has sustained a season ending cruciate ligament injury. Er Pupone has publicly stated his admiration for ‘Super Pippo’ and his website sends out a personal message of support to his former Azzurri teammate. We shall do the same – we wish you well Pippo.