Genoa 3-2 Roma

That certainly had an eerie sense of 'been there, done that'. New season, same pit falls, same mistakes. Kind of. What was new was who was at fault - DDR. Can't complain about having seen that movie too many times before, whatever comfort that is on a night like this. Some, I guess, after all.

Of course it's depressing, and repetitive, to see defensive lapses of concentration and other easily avoidable mistakes lead to a loss. Especially if, as Spalletti said in the post game interview, the third Genoa goal came off a rehearsed set piece the team had studied and prepared for. The mistake leading to the second goal was also frustrating, following up on a horrible clearance by DDR, who just three days ago talked about the need to focus and not lose concentration.

But--and I feel a bit like an enabler here--I saw more than a few reasons not to start cancelling season tickets and tv subscriptions for the season. The defense was actually good. Why, yes, I am aware Roma let in three goals actually, thanks for asking. The thing is, none of the goals came from the type of game play situations we have come to expect, and Burdisso and Andreolli formed a quite good central defense. Both were near flawless, and never at fault for any of the goals scored. Oh, and that whole third Genoa goal that happened? It obviously shouldn't have, with Biava committing a clear red card offense on Ménez a while before. Any referee not in bed with Moggi and/or Preziosi having a better day would have given it, and the draw many (myself very much included) would have considered a very good result pre game would have happened, at worst.

What's more, Ménez rocked my world. He had a lot of responsibility tonight, as the tactic was more or less give it to him and let him dribble 8-10 players before finding an open team mate. Despite heavy attention from Genoa midfielders and defenders, he always forced them to stay awake and keep up, and was the spark he needed to be. He's much too good right now to drop or force back into a straight jacket (also known as playing the wing), and the odds of my dreams harbouring visions of him playing trequartista behind Totti and Vucinic are lower than the odds of Mexès slapping, punching or kicking a juventino next Sunday.

An inevitable discourse on Totti, then. Many complained during the game that he was useless, that he was too bad. We can imagine the next line of argument ourselves: 'too old', 'finished', 'cooked', 'too slow, too unfit'. Fuck that, he showed once again tonight why people continually betting against him are good candidates for the Darwin Award. It was he who forced Amelia to spill the ball to an open Taddei for Roma's opening goal. It was he who put Roma ahead with the second goal. And don't even try to tell me that was a fluke goal, or that he didn't know what he was doing--he knew, that was pure intent.
The criticism reminds me of when he came back during last season in time for the derby. Then, too, was he accused of being finished, that he couldn't contribute any longer--it's true that his play then, and tonight, wasn't vintage Totti, and everyone surely has seen better. But here's the bottom line: he's decisive. In a way that no one else in this team can be, he almost always is involved vitally in what Roma does offensively. That's why taking every sub par run of play as an excuse to weather the same old tirades is always a foolish thing to do. He'll find a way to punish you, and make himself relevant.

I don't know what this loss means, and how much it says about anything. We don't know how many teams will be able to get a result away at Genoa this season, but I do think so few that doing it should be considered an accomplishment. So losing, while it is always unpleasant, is not as bad as it looks on the surface. It's not all to throw away, there were some good things tonight coming from places and people I didn't expect at all. Maybe that makes me an enabler, I'm not sure.