Roma 3-2 Fiorentina

Remember the silly days of long agoI think it was last monthwhen Roma was perpetually teetering towards the brink of crisis? Me neither. Four wins in a row later, and it's remarkable how different some things are everything is. Sure, Fiorentina did score two goals (both of which were so good I would have applauded them were it not for being busy looking for the closest available cigarette), but it never felt as close as the score line hinted at. Apart from a brief sensation of nervousness as D'Agostino's fantastic free kick went in, I never fretted. Because this game was over two seconds after he scored; he and his team mates were having much too fun marveling at brilliance of the goal to start rallying for another, third goal.

The joy of this Roma is contagious. Seeing Vucinic on the bench having about as much fun as he's had since he did this was very fun indeed. Seeing Totti be genuinely happy on his blog for Simplicio's first goal for Roma was heartwarming. Seeing Borriello kiss Ménez' cheek as he thanked him for the assist was endearing. Hell, seeing Ménez just play was a gift. His entire being is an advertisement for true love between man and ball. I could just copy and paste what I wrote about him after the Basel game, he was once again just that good, but my conscience won't let me. Players like Ménez don't set a personal benchmark and consistently repeat that through the years, a description which instead conjures up an endless loop of Lampard goals. (Which is impressive and worthy of respect as well; it just doesn't capture the artistry Jerry possesses). Ménez instead finds a million different ways in which to beat you, to get past you. His game is based on the impulsive, as if he keeps his next move a secret even to himself in order to not give anything away accidentally. We know it's probably going to include either rolling the ball under the sole of his foot and throwing his spider-like limbs in all places to confuse before setting off in the only direction the defender didn't think to go, a no-look pass or (unfortunately) a scorch-the-earth shot, but he mixes it up enough to keep it fresh. The first thing that comes to mind as I search my mind for an analogy is the producer J Dilla, who despite taking his music in very diverging directions at times always was identifiable as signature J Dilla. Many do some of the same things as Ménez and J Dilla, but they're the only ones who can mix them together in so many different ways without losing the overarching sense of continuity in their respective work.





(Which isn't to say Ménez is at this point yet a legend, but the out-there yet true-to-himself feeling makes it a natural analogy to me. As well as the cult following, rather than love of the masses.)

Any game recap would be incomplete without mentioning Mexès and Burdisso doing well enough in Juan's absence, something which seemed utopian even last season. So there it was, I just mentioned it. As long as I'm going on, I could also point to Simplicio, whom Totti was so happy for, who's proving his signing a wise decision, and Daniele De Rossi who has quietly had his best run of games in over two years. But as important as the three points themselves, Roma is getting its groove back. That which was perhaps the most important factor in the world's most unlikely title challenge last season, and has been missing since a Veronese afternoon in May. With said groove in place, we know defensive stability is not far behind, with goals from everywhere a close second. Still a lot of work to get there, but the team is definitely moving in the right direction.