Roma 3-1 Gent

Motta, Mexès, Riise, Tonetto
Taddei, DDR, Pizarro, Guberti
Totti, Okaka

Inspired by Francesco Totti, and in front of a surprisingly large and supporting crowd, Roma turned around its fortunes tonight as a half time result of 0-1 became a somewhat comfortable 3-1 win over Gent. The first 45 minutes, however, were endlessly frustrating as Roma struggled to break through a five man defense. Defensively, Roma managed to be less than sound despite Gent hardly attacking: Riise showed on the away goal why he's only played one game before this in central defense, and was more lucky than anything not to give up more goals. The worst blunder was obviously the goal, where he not so much lost, as let the striker he was supposed to mark just wander free, with much space in front of Artur to position himself for the header.

After the break, Totti once again proved why he is football royalty: His free kick deflected off Mexès for Roma's opening goal, and he was later brought down for a penalty which he himself executed flawlessly. Roma's third was a great move, as Pizarro moved up the pitch before threading a perfect through ball for Vucinic, who took it around the goalkeeper.

Here's what I liked:

- Guberti. Not only was he one of Roma's best throughout the game, he looked like he's been playing with his team mates for years. Has had a seemingly flawless transition into the squad. Is very nifty when cutting in, but could become predictable if all he's ever going to do is cut in to create the shot for his right foot. With an expanded arsenal he has the potential to become a genuine threat.

- Pizarro. Not the most imposing opposition in terms of pressure applied, but for what it's worth he never folded and was always trying to make something happen from midfield. I have my doubts whether he'll be too exposed in this type of midfield against, say, Inter and their gazillion defensive midfielders not afraid to kick some shins. But for now, one of the guarantees in this Roma.

- Cerci. Promising performance, Alessio looked capable and familiar with his role. Provoked Gent's red card, which was a good indication of the difficulty they had in containing him down the right wing.

- Totti. My man. Looked very fit, and more agile than during the past season. Expect heroics, for he shall deliver.

What I didn't like:

- Riise. Not his position, I understand that, and some slack has already been cut in accordance. But he can't play in central defense, it's not a sustainable solution. Main culprit on Gent's goal, and but for poor finishing and interference from Riise's team mates it could have been so much more.
That doesn't mean he's an unacceptable presence at left back, but that's all he should play.

- Okaka. He's only 20, and some prolonged game time somewhere in serie B will only make him better, but this was painful to watch. He couldn't control a ball, he couldn't control where to run, he couldn't hit the goal even if he was standing in it. He can't play for Roma right now.

- Andreolli. He didn't play, so this could obviously be construed as harsh. But if you're not good enough to make a case for playing in your natural position over Riise the natural disaster, you
must have slacked off in practice.

- Mexès' hair. I urge you to try to disagree.

In trying to make some sense of all the inane rambling above, Roma looked ok. Not great, but still dominated the game, which could only end in one way. Makes sense? No, but all in all some encouraging signs, in particular Totti, and the second half response to going down.