Posts Tagged ‘Luciano Spalletti’

UEFA Champions League Playoffs: A Preliminary Look at Our EPL Opponents…

Friday, December 19th, 2008

UEFA Champions League Playoffs Draw - Italian Teams

Fabio Capello dubbed it “diabolical“. Given the picks obtained by Inter, Juventus, and Roma in Friday’s UCL draw, the term might indeed be appropriate. For how else can we define the incredible “Serie A vs. Premier League” showdown bestowed upon us, as our beloved Italian teams face off against Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal in February?

With the matches still months away, a preliminary presentation of our EPL opponents is in order. In particular, a general guess on what kind of games we will be looking at in 2009.

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Chievo 0-1 Roma: And Then Came the Day of Jérémy Menez… (Serie A Matchday 15)

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

They had tagged him as the next big hope of Les Bleus, the player destined to solve all of Roma’s offensive problems this season. But instead of becoming a master on the Stadio Olimpico grass, Jeremy Menez‘s expertise extended to far more humble topics, such as the type of wood on the Giallorossi bench or the colour of Francesco Totti’s favorite water bottle. So much so the player had lamentedIf I am not playing regularly, then I would rather leave the club” earlier this week, something which strongly suggested the possibility of a move during the Christmas break.

Until today.

After Chievo vs. Roma, there’s a good chance Menez revised his travel plans for January. The ex-Monaco player’s stroke of genius, which decided a contest dominated by Roma but for which the Giallorossi struggled more than they should have (due in particular, to a boatload of missed chances from close range and a Super-Sorrentino on the other end), promotes the French midfielder with full marks. Not only for his beautiful goal, but also because he was Roma’s constant source of danger and finally showcased the stuff for which the Sensi family paid good money for. Time to step into the spotlight…

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CFR Cluj 1-3 Roma: Giallorossi Back in the Driver Seat (UEFA Champions League 2008-09)

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Roma seem to have taken a fondness for 3-1 wins lately. After Bordeaux and Chelsea, CFR Cluj was the third team Wednesday to fall to the hands of Spalletti’s boys in Europe, enabling the Giallorossi to take sole command of Group A with one match to go.

And indeed that last match against Bordeaux will be determining to seal Roma’s fate: a draw would ensure their mathematical qualification to the next round, but with the first spot of the group on the line, even better would be for them to win.

But speaking of Roma wins, now that is something no man with a sane mind would have bet on just a few weeks ago. Roma were losing match after match in the Serie A, and their 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge seemed like the final nail in the Champions League coffin, a campaign which had already started with the shocking 2-1 loss to Cluj on matchday 1 and could only seem to get worse. Or so we thought.

Instead Roma recovered, recuperated their captain Francesco Totti, and they are back. Alive & kickin’! And kicking is what they did today.

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Roma 1-0 Lazio: Light at the End of the Giallorossi Tunnel? (Serie A Matchday 12)

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Derbies are always fun. No matter what the teams’ ranking, no one wants to lose them and there’s a big entertainment factor involved. For Roma however, winning this week-end’s edition of the Derby della Capitale was oh so… capital. Effectively, Julio Baptista 50th minute header brought an end to a 5-game winless streak for the Giallorossi, and offers hope to end a results crisis that Totti & friends have been dealing with for quite some time now.

As for Lazio, Delio Rossi’s squad put an end to a three-match winning streak, but did so by losing with dignity. Despite playing with one man down (after Ledesma’s red card in the 66th), the Biancocelesti held tight all the way till the end.

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Bologna 1-1 Roma: Totti and Cicinho, the Two Faces of Roma… (Serie A Matchday 11)

Monday, November 10th, 2008

The good news? Francesco Totti is back. The Roma captain celebrated his 400th Serie A appearance by scoring a beauty on Saturday, and while he may still not be perfectly fit (his running efforts are limited, and he’s still not confident enough to take players on one one) his passing game and ball control can do without the stamina element. His goal was once again class & technique exemplified.

The bad news? Roma still isn’t “there”. And I’m not just talking about the mind-boggling own goal scored by Cicinho in stoppage time. If there’s anything that Saturday’s match showed, it’s that Roma’s midweek win over Chelsea (as good as it felt) did little to solve all the problems the Giallorossi have been struggling with since the season started. With the good news limited to the positive performances by Juan, De Rossi and Totti, this team seems to be cruelly lacking ideas: Spalletti’s game plan never really took off and the players’ contribution overall was average. Oh and also? Doni got injured.

As for Bologna, they played their hearts out. Despite some very evident problems in midfield, the Rossoblue created more scoring opportunities than the visitors, and in extra time of the second half managed to give their new manager, Sinisa Mihaijlovic (of Inter Milan and Roberto Mancini-assistantship fame) something to smile about in his Serie A coaching debut.

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