Club Focus – Roma – Sometimes you need a bit of luck

The Fiorentina-Roma match-up on Sunday night was a difficult game to watch. Not that it was a bad match, because it was extremely entertaining, but Roma went from looking quite threatening in the first half, to worryingly subdued in the second.

The game plan was to draw Fiorentina out, letting them have possession and then hitting them on the break but at times it looked as though the plan was to rely on fortune, and even Claudio Ranieri admitted that his side got lucky. Had the result been the other way around, then this Club Focus would be moaning about bad fortune, but sometimes you just have to take the gifts handed out by the football gods without question, in the knowledge that at some point it will happen to your team.

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Typically, Mirko Vucinic, who looked characteristically relaxed to the point of being disinterested, turned up at the right moment to get that chance, and with Francesco Totti off the pitch, it could not have fallen to a better man. As infuriating as the Montenegrin striker can be, he is not a player that the Giallorossi faithful would swap for anyone, and proved again on Sunday why he has been linked with moves to some very big clubs in the last year. Hopefully Roma’s excellent run of form can help Vucinic rediscover his form from last season, where he terrorised Chelsea in the Champions League.

The fitness of Totti remains an issue, and Er Pupone’s performance on Sunday was very laboured, looking like a man who still needs games to rehab fully from injury. But if – and this is a big if – Roma are to mount a challenge to Inter, then il Capitano is going to play a very important part, both with what he provides in a footballing sense, and the psychological edge he gives when the other team see Francesco Totti lining up against them.

One man who seems especially happy with la Magica’s recent form is Philippe Mexes, and the French defender is convinced that the team’s spirit can see them compete in all competitions: “With this spirit, we can go far. How far? Game after game we’ll give our all to remain up there.” He was also philosophical about the manner in which victory was achieved, saying: “You need a bit of luck, but you must look for it. That’s football: When things go bad for you, no-one lets you get anything. But we have now found consistency.”

After the news last week that Ranieri may be in line for a new four-year contract, it seems that the disease is spreading as Rodrigo Taddei and Julio Sergio have both been rumoured to be getting big extensions to their current contracts. Taddei is 29 and Julio Sergio 31, and for both players to get four-year contracts seems utter madness, even though their current deals end in June. Taddei has been a great servant to Roma, and loves the club as much as anyone, but four years takes him until his is 33, and will he be able to perform at his current level until then? The deal for Julio Sergio seems even more crazy, a 31-year-old former back-up goalkeeper who, although he has been playing well this season, is certainly no Gianluigi Buffon. And what message does this send to Alexander Doni? He is a top quality keeper even though he has not played a great deal this season – but may begin to reconsider his position at the club if he feels that he has been replaced.

Still in the Europa League, Coppa Italia and now second in Serie A – Milan have a game in hand – Roma look like they have a good chance to win something this season. They may also break the club record, set under Fabio Capello, for going most games unbeaten. The future is beginning to look, at the very least, encouraging.

Roma Club Focus 2009/10

Week 1


The senate is adjourned
– August 25, 2009

Week 2


Houston, we have a problem
– August 28, 2009


The time of Penelope
– September 1, 2009


Good move, bad timing
– September 4, 2009

International week (Georgia-Italy, Italy-Bulgaria)


Break means homework time for Ranieri
– September 7, 2009

Week 3


A win that means more than three points
– September 15, 2009

Week 4


Ranieri chases team spirit
– September 18, 2009


Champagne!
– September 22, 2009

Week 5


Children of Chaos
– September 25, 2009

Week 6


Catania is beginning to get on our nerves
– September 29, 2009


Ranieri has yet to stabilise i Lupi
– October 3, 2009

Week 7


A solid win at a heavy price?
– October 6, 2009


Rumours as IFFHS ranks the Giallorossi as best in Italy
– October 9, 2009

Week 8


The strange attractor of two inherently chaotic teams
– October 16, 2009


The sound and the fury
– October 20, 2009

Week 9


The importance of being Francesco
– October 23, 2009


A shot in the foot
– October 27, 2009

Week 10


Waiting for Godot (and the rest of our men)
– October 30, 2009

Week 11


Win as a team, die as individuals
– November 3, 2009

Week 12


Into the nest of snakes
– November 6, 2009


A promise of spring
– November 10, 2009

International week (Italy-Holland, Italy-Sweden)

Week 13


Purgatory is not enough
– November 20, 2009


The first leaves shiver
– November 24, 2009

Week 14


The ghost of a future derby
– November 27, 2009

Week 15


The front needs work but the back looks good
– December 1, 2009


The only game in town
– December 4, 2009


We need an alternative, fast
– December 8, 2009

Week 16


Black Wolves rising
– December 11, 2009


The Imbecile
– December 15, 2009

Week 17


Pass the Parmesan, please
– December 18, 2009


The defence does everything, where is the rest?
– December 22, 2009

Winter break


The man to give (us) a shove
– December 29, 2009


It’s quiet…too quiet
– January 5, 2010

Week 18


No offence intended
– January 8, 2010


All I know is a door into the dark
– January 12, 2010

Week 19


The halfway buoy
– January 15, 2010

Week 20


Standing ovation. Seriously
– January 19, 2010

Week 21


A song of ice and fire
– January 22, 2010


Marching upon the ashes of the fallen
– January 26, 2010

Week 22


The unfortunate tale of Stefano Okaka
– February 2, 2010

Week 23


The De Rossi effect
– February 5, 2010


Sometimes you need a bit of luck
– February 9, 2010

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