Estate Romana

Rome's summers are--without known exceptions, ever--torrid affairs. The heat slowly suffocates life in the city, coming close to forcing its inhabitants to flee to the coast. (If I by this seemed to imply that the hoards of tourists swarming the city, with their infinite stamina for monument watching and gladiatorial mingling are immortal beings that are ostensibly indifferent to normal human suffering, then mission accomplished.) There, Romans recuperate and enjoy the refreshing water. I do not know if AS Roma consciously tried to emulate that experience in their planning of this summer's pre-season, but much like the people, the club fled the city for the fresh air of cities by various coasts of the Mediterranean. The analogy starts to veer off when you realize that the R&R for AS Roma consisted more of getting slapped around and ending up in ice cold water, the realization shocking you and jolting you back into full consciousness: things could be better.

I don't give credence to the notion that the four horsemen of the apocalypse took friends and cousins with them, that they all dressed up in red and white striped kits and played AS Roma in football in Athens. That result--however discomforting and bad--is nothing but numbers written down somewhere. The five goals in and of themselves, they don't mean anything (especially not when conceded with the trifecta of Doni-Loria-Andreolli playing D, a detail I strongly suspect makes the game susceptible to annulment by CAS). What's more disconcerting is the way in which the wheels have come off the wagon; it's the bigger picture, not the detail. The preseason agreed with me greatly up until the mini tournament in France, after which little is the same. The beginning of that exercise had, up until to that point, been good to us. Drawing Bordeaux, quarter finalists in CL a mere handful of months ago, with a team made up of predominantly second and third choice players was a good sign, and the following day's PSG game held fine prospects as well. Don't really know what happened then, don't know how much importance to attach to it. Roma has looked lackluster, indecisive and confused since the weekend in Paris, which has manifested itself differently. Before Greece, the team looked solid if indecisive in offense against a veritable who's who of unknown teams, while Olympiakos exposed the defense and lack of urgency in a way we haven't seen since an evening in Manchester three and a half years ago. 

The Italian idiom that a fine day is noticeable in the early hours of the morning, as much as some insists on its relevancy, seems out of place and contrived in this context. Chelsea didn't win the six last games of their preseason, and responded to the questioning voices that had grown as a result by scoring six goals in the season premiere. Let's dispossess ourselves of the notion that this is inevitably a sign of doom right now: we do not know. That's not to say, however, that there aren't legitimate concerns for the Inter game the coming weekend. Contrary to Roma, Inter have looked sharp so far this summer, and rationally little suggests anything but the expected result and another Roma loss. (Except for the intangibles like motivation, not playing Loria, and more motivation.) But as much as I will edit the hell out of the next sentence in the case of an improbable Roma win: it doesn't matter, either. Not really. Losing wouldn't mean season over, so let's not start scaring each other with doomsday predictions over this one game.

We'll have to talk more if anything similar to the Olympiakos game happens though.