The Hustle, Knocked

Last night against Siena marked another step into the wilderness for this Roma. It was a step, and as such we should feel comfort since we're supposed to grow with every single step along the way. The problem is, this was a step into the fog. It certainly didn't advance Roma one bit, and it's more likely that once we stepped into the fog we slipped and rolled down a big hill.

There are ways in which to portray this game as progress and as a good outing. They all involve not watching the game, an activity sure to rob you from any sense of positivity. It was slow, horribly slow. And that's it really, all problems Roma had begins and ends with that one overarching silverback of a gorilla: the team plays so slow and predetermined that the only way we were going to create chances were if Siena developed amnesia in the time it took Roma to approach the penalty box and forgot everything. Thankfully Luis Enrique gnaws his teeth at the same problem, as he explained in the post game press conference. So we know that this isn't a an intended part of the design, it is a flaw which will hopefully be removed. Whether this intention will amount to anything is another question which we'll need time to answer.

The problem with Roma's slow pace can be explained in part by the types of players used in attack last night: neither Borriello nor Osvaldo (nor Totti, while we're at it) possess the nimble feet and quickness to go around and confuse serie A defenses very much. They are what they are, and can be a handful in their own way (Borriello's action on the goal was worthy of applause), but asking them to put a thousand quick daggers in a Siena defense that sees them coming from a mile away seems like a big ask. Still, I would appreciate it if they didn't accept my skepticism as default and instead tried to prove the theory wrong. I don't want to do what every article worldwide written since June has done and lazily refer to Barcelona, because A) it gets old real quick, B) it's not an honest comparison, both because of the material available in the two teams and Luis Enrique's explicit assurances that he's not trying to bring Barcelona to Rome.
          That said, let me compare Roma to Barcelona for a second: Barcelona consistently penetrate defenses, not only because they're naturally faster than this Roma, but also because they refuse to be focused in on. They're in constant motion, denying opponents a set target to focus on. (A parallel can be drawn here to Spalletti's Roma, which thrived off the same confusion, which was created with lesser players showing it's not just about the quality of Barcelona's starting eleven.) When Roma moved in attack last night, they might as well have taken out full page ads in that morning's Gazzetta dello Sport announcing their intentions to move and change positions. It was predictable and slow in both body and mind and it needs instant improvement. Siena did very well last night and full credit goes to them, but they're a dime a dozen in serie A. The same thing will keep on happening until Roma gets more cut-throat and quicker near goal.

Sabatini says he wants Roma to be even more arrogant. Right now, I'd settle for merely a modicum of assertiveness.