Payback at Olympico

January 5th still fresh in our memory, the match in Turin against Juventus is the anti climax on how Roma approach the game, how we hold and play the ball, how we dominate the pitch on opponent stadium and Roma force them make Juventus change their approach to play 10 man behind the ball.
On paper statistics Roma dominate the possession by 59% with only 9 players in the pitch, also on paper the end result statistics Juventus 3 – 0 Roma. This statistics did not add up.

Where is that result impact in Serie A standings? Wider gap between 1st and 2nd position by 8 points. Yes, that’s almost cost 3 winning games. The match itself marked as the 19th giornata, half of 2013/2014 season from 38 total match. The home game is scheduled on the 38th giornata at Olympico, well that’s a bit far off.
However, holding the grudge and waiting until the rematch at the end of the season is unnecessary, payback can happen early, Coppa Italia.

Coppa Italia seed

Roma will hosting the game at Olympico against Juventus on 21st, 2 and half week after their first match this season. Thanks to Napoli, we got Olympico as its venue due to Coppa Italia seeding rule and Roma have a higher seed than Juve.

  • Team with the higher seed plays at home.
  • Napoli have higher seen than Lazio.
    Napoli will play at home.
  • Had Napoli lost to Atalanta, Lazio (who have a higher seed) would play Atalanta in Rome.
  • Lazio have a higher seed than Roma from winning the final last May.

Who wouldn’t get thrilled with a chance for revenge? We know we were play better and we learned from our mistakes. Rudi Garcia had analyze the first game, he mentioned some points

  • Roma weakness at dead-ball situations.
  • Roma loose composure causing 3rd goal.
  • Rudi didn’t expect at all to find Juventus parking the bus.
  • Juventus efficient in their attacking attempt.

Response after defeat

All and all it was big disappointment 3-0 and it need to addressed quick and early.
An important 1-0 win at Coppa Italia against Sampdoria quickly elevate morale in Trigoria, followed by Serie A match with another impressive performance against Genoa where they fail to make a single shot at Roma goal, 4-0. Roma also hosting Livorno with 3-0 win.
That is kind of response I’m expecting for big club who dream big eyeing for Europe competition.

New faces on line up

Three consecutive win is an assurance to keep the momentum.
Rudi Garcia set Roma starting XI with new face on Left Back, Torosidis is starting instead of Dodo. No Miralem Pjanic but newly sign player Radja Nainggolan step in on Pjanic spot.
On Juventus side I’m questioning Antonio Conte line up on the Coppa Italia ambition, no Buffon-Bonucci-Pogba-Lichsteiner-Llorente-Tevez. Juve have decent backup thou, but I didn’t really care much.

It turn out the choice works really really well, it’s beyond my expectation that Vasilis Torosidis protect Left Back very well and contribute on attacking phase and he manage to send couple of crosses, cross ball is the one that missing from Dodo. Dodo will face tough competition with Torosidis if he not level up his game.
Radja Nainggolan is impressive, he really connect with the team it seems like we already sign him from summer 2013 his movement, passing, and how he defend his area blend well with Rudi Garcia ingredients. Radja combative style will be very interesting in this match if the formation allow him to take one-on-one with Juve’s Arturo Vidal, I guarantee it will be more than tattoo war. Anyway, Strootman own Vidal on this match.

The plan was to let the team battle for an hour and then send in Miralem, and thanks to his technique he provided a lot of attacking quality to the team.

Pjanic factor

Rudi had planned that and it pay. Miralem is the decisive factor on this match with his fresh leg on 75′ he steal the show.
First he steal the ball from Bonucci while the wild ball is closer to Gervinho but Mira keep his pace to chase the ball, Mira movement signalling to both Strootman quickly flanking on his left and Gervinho who let Mira take control on the ball and opt to flanking on the right, that give options to pass when he slow down near penalty box to Strootman on the left, Strootman pick up and pass back to the middle where Bonucci ready to intercept it but Gervinho quickly run pass Bonucci unleash karate moves to change the score board 1-0. Gervinho run even faster to Curva Sud.

20140123_GervinhoJuve-800x480

New threat on Europe

Roma advanced to the next round by kicking Juventus from Coppa Italia. We’re still not achieve anything yet, but we do make a point that Roma is strong and title challenger. Work still need to be done and it is important to keep the feet on the ground. A quote from Danielle De Rossi

I didn’t see Juve looking particularly superior in Turin, nor were we particularly superior here. The two teams are on a similar level and I am pleased to say that.

We still dream big.

Squeeze fatigue into history, the 5th win

After Roma win the derby, which pointed by Mister Rudi Garcia that none of those team beaten by Roma is strong team, comes the first test for his team, the busy schedule on midweek, 3 games in single week.

Rudi know it well how his players physically tested during this week, however his objective remain clear to treat upcoming opponent with great respect which means keep the winning team as long as possible in the pitch. Let’s back again in 3 games in a week, this is what Rudi mentioned in press conference in the derby eve that he will take advantage on Lazio’s physical situation, yet he did it to grab win in 2nd half.

Fatigue’s cost

Now, it become his challenge against Sampdoria in midweek, Strootman was tired to take penalty on the derby yet he still play him (Strootman still play with grinta thou), rotation need to be made, as starter 2 new players as starter Borriello for Totti and Marquinho for Florenzi, keep another IX the same, keep the foundation strong.

In the first half Roma able to keep the possession however in 34′ come the problem, Maicon asking for substitution, so it’s clear that physical is the main issue to deal with. Since Vasilis Torosidis, the Maicon vice is not in his 100% condition, enter Dodo to replace Maicon just to make Balzaretti take Maicon position in Right-back and Dodo plotted to his original position in Left-back, surprisingly both of them did a good job.

Sampdoria keep 7 players behind the ball, it’s very difficult for Roma to find a leakage on them, midfield always a constant battle for trio Strootman-De Rossi-Pjanic and counter attack from Sampdoria make Roma’s fullback not able to join the attacking phase. Critique come for Marquinho who lack of strength to keep the ball, he’s not able to come battling with Sampdoria defender, this make lacking of ball supply in right side and instantly frustrate him in the field, Totti was brought on to replace Marquinho in 62′ to fix this hole. With Totti on the field, there is disruption in Sampdoria defense line.

Benatia 1st goal, slalom

Then the heroic effort come from Mehdi Benetia in 65′ who come from behind, asking De Rossi to cover up his position, make a slalom passing 5 players, get tackled in penalty box but he still manage to tuck in the ball with his long leg and put his name in score board. Absolute grinta. Absolute game changer. Superb signing.Roma-mehdi-sampdoria

Gervinho 1st goal, millimeter finish

Benatia goal make Sampdoria open their play a little bit, since they try to steal point in their home ground (as a note Sampdoria supporter who come to stadio Luigi Ferraris has been amazing, they give constant support to their team), as a consequences for tactic change, Roma get what they like room and space in opponent defensive line. Florenzi come in 83′ to replace Boriello, to give pair of fresh leg, and turbo charge in each flank.

Then the opportunity is coming in counter attack lead by Totti running directly in Sampdoria goal accompanied by Gervinho in his left and Pjanic who sprinted in his right, and here is the interesting part, in penalty box Pjanic has better position to shoot however Totti make a millimeter precision pass to Gervinho who convert it superbly in  88′ to seal the win.

Welcome to Serie A, Rudi

In the beginning of second half, Marquinho get dangerous challenge by Sampdoria defender but no whistle from the Referee, hence Rudi clapping to the referee and reported saying “do you have eyes to see” then he has been sent out by the referee and commanding his team from supporter seat.

Roma-rudi-sampdoria

The final whistle is history in the making. This Roma squad put their name in club history with 5 consecutive win from starting Serie A campaign.

W-W-W-W-W

Vengeance and Liberation, Roma derby

“Il mio nome e` il simbolo della tua eterna sconfitta”
“My name is the symbol of your eternal defeat.”

In Roma derby day, no one remember it’s the 4th giornata, a home match, or a 0/1/3 point(s), none of that, it’s rivalry, passion,  emotions. It’s beyond.

26th May still clouding over roman heads, the defeat on the Coppa Italia’s final. AS Roma as a group wasn’t able to take all the blame, Danielle De Rossi crying, the always energetic Alessandro Florenzi look sluggish dragging his feet after the final whistle. I will stop it in here, no need to rub it off.
Roman tifossi love their roman players, they couldn’t put the blame on them they need to find antagonist on that day, which nominated to 3 person:

  1. Aurellio Andreazolli.
    For his (viewed) tactical flaw to put DDR and Michael Bradley together in the midfield.
  2. Pablo Daniel Osvaldo.
    How many minutes he play on that day really? A good striker but somehow tifossi easily put hate on him.
  3. Frederico Balzaretti.
    On that match, he’s weak as left fullback, not able to penetrate on opponent territory, loosing in one on one.

We know what happen with the first two. Andreazolli was taken off from his position as head coach, the job which never for him, so I think he take the dismissal lightly. Osvaldo was herded away from the capital to Southampton for €15 m, a very good deal.

For Frederico Balzaretti, it went wrong for him in any aspect since his arrival in Roma. Balzaretti was signed after his impressive gig at Palermo with his 12 assist in 2 season and strong performance in Euro cup, then Zeman’s Roma and Andreazolli fail to bring him to his top form. No more solid defending, I think he will take the blame Zeman virtuous football, and his crossing barely touching his own teammates. Then Coppa Final close his season for him, from those 3 antagonists he’s the last standing.

Under Rudi Garcia, he still first choice in left back, I don’t think Dodo will take him over soon, But his performance until 3rd match this season still below expectation, whatever bad mark I just mention previously still in him, Roma visit to Parma and Parma breaking Roma clean sheet is partly on him, 1 match before the derby. He still has the burden.

Derby day

OK, let skip the first half. Nothing in here, both team play extra careful, fear to make a mistake, hence it’s fruitless.
Roma’s forward wing Gervinho and Florenzi running around tirelessly with it’s occasional long pass through trying to break Lazio flank, they just got the run, not result.
Lazio try to take initiative to score first just ended up in our 2 solid defender, Benatia and Castan. The home side, however, take the tension and draw 2 yellows.

Second Half

Talking about second half is talking about Rudi Garcia and we try to recall what he said in pre-match interview, he know how it feel to play extra in Europe competition to players physic and he try to take advantage on that. Roma not start get things eazy in 2nd half, Lazio has 2 key moment in the beginning to score, then Adem Ljajic come in for Florenzi and Roma players starting to roaming around in Lazio defensive zone from Lazio’s goalkeeper Frederico Marchetti view in first half the Roma ball flow only happen in his left and right flanks, now he starting see the ball travelling around in front of him.

After numbers of attacking attempt, Balzaretti ‘s first shoot hit the post, cloud coming in his head asking on his luck, but the tireless 37 years old captain, Francesco Totti sent another ball from right flank over 11 players in penalty box connecting only to Balzaretti who just running back to his position and take his submarine volley shoot in 63 minutes.

Balzaretti goal break-him-down-into-tears. It liberate him for all the burden he has, and hopefully put his confidence back then convert him to what an promising player he is as effective and efficient left fullback again.

Balzaretti-derby

In the next minutes, performance on both team went separate ways, Roma get more confidence and more stamina, all the pass is connecting while Lazio show shaky performances and all their attack intercepted by our 2 shock absorber piston, Danielle De Rossi and Kevin Strootman, and in the end they face another wall in form of Mehdi Benatia and Leandro Castan.

Everything went uphill battle for Lazio after Andre Diaz red card on 81′. Totti orchestrating the event when he make Cana stumbling over lob pass and immediately take the ball forward to find him in open space only left with Andre Diaz as last defender to make him draw the fault. With 1 extra players, it doesn’t take long for Roma to take final conclusion on the result, starting with Borriello open header straight to Marchetti, to me it’s a goal, then Ljajic got tackled in penalty box, where Ljajic himself take the penalty after he get De Rossi blessing.

Protagonist

I’m not sure why Strootman doesn’t get high mark on this match after he become the man of the match on Parma visit. To me he’s the reason why Lazio machine stop working, he mark their axis of attack Hernanes and shut down ball coming to and going from Hernanes.
Castan looks good at the back, he pull off his agility and trick again Lazio runners, and again to me partly is credit to Benatia, he’s so solid until no one dare to test him anymore and take another route through Castan.
De Rossi is one of the hero that day, he make clean crucial tackle from Ederson left side where he found position to make it one on one facing De Sanctis, the lost ball was taken by Castan out of the box move it away from the danger position. This heroic action grant DDR 2 points higher on his rating.
Totti? can you believe he’s 37 years old? even Italia’s Cesare Prandelli consider him to start for national team again.
Maicon. He is moving tank in defending and attacking, no one can pass him and he split 2 defender when he try entering opponent box.

Final Score: Roma 2 – 0 Lazio.

Roma have 4 win out of 4 games, 100% win where it reach top of the table with 1 goal difference with Napoli, also Roma repeating history in season 1960/1961. Can Rudi Garcia extend his winning strike? He might put his name in Roma history since on the next game Roma will visiting currently 16th place, Sampdoria.

The 3rd overturn, a Parma – Roma review

Reading the game

Parma – Roma match is the last match on 3rd week in Serie A. Looking on the table result from previous match, only Napoli who maintains 100% win in 3 games gaining 9 point.

This game could be Roma chance to join on the top, under newly appointed coach Rudi Garcia Roma able to maintain 2 consecutive win pocketing 6 points. On the paper Roma only loosing once in eight years to Parma, the atmosphere were high on The Capital side to win the game. However these once lose was happen last year when Roma under Zdenek Zeman, and Parma’s still with current Mister, Roberto Donadoni.

Parma were on 10th table last season, a refreshment on the squad were take on especially by signing game changer, troubled striker and former Roma’s fan favorite Antonio Cassano, to match up with current squad Amauri, Massimo Gobi, and Jonathan Biabiany. Considering Parma squad is an upgrade, Parma campaign this season wasn’t good at all by only collecting 1 point, draw with Chievo on first match followed by 3-1 flop in Udine.

Rudi Garcia take, it will always a danger to take on wounded opponent who want to prove themselves. Historical record meant to keep aside.

First Half

Donadoni has broader experience with Italia national team, keep his 3-5-2 preference and try to nullify its opponent advantage in the wing, Parma side applying tight pressure on the wing with Mattia Cassani – Jonathan Biabiany and Massimo Gobi – Nicola Sansone always tracking Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi and Adem Ljajic respectively, in tandem when defending and attacking. Clearly, one man mark is not enough to nullify Roma attack from the wing.

This tactic is working very well, Roma not able to penetrate Parma from both side, blocking most of Roma cross, as a bonus, 2 Roma full back, Douglas Maicon and Frederico Balzaretti not able to roaming around joining Roma attacking stream, they didn’t have the freedom, supply completely shut down from both flank. In the attacking phase 25 years old Biabiany take advantage his speed and prime over 31 years Balzaretti, although the first goals not fully Balzaretti mistake, Parma right flank duo caught him out of position when Biabiany scoring a header from Cassani’s cross.

Parma’s approach to the game is to keep watching Roma’s attacking winger pull all players closer to goalkeeper Mirante around penalty box. Here is Roma take to breaking the game, long shoot. Roma always scoring goals from the box in each game, their conversion rate from long shoot open their 6 points rewards, in the first 45 minutes 2 out of 3 long shoot attempts were made, one shoot successfully blocked, two other shot are on target.
Donadoni need to do something about this.

Second Half

So far so good for Parma side, first half assessments were right to cut off supply from both flank, leaving one problem on Roma long shoot. Hoping defender to block all shoot weren’t possible; pushing the defender high is his choice to lowering chance for long shoot. Roma cannot shoot that long.
Donadoni is good tactician, however Roma’s Rudi Garcia reading the game.

After Florenzi quick shock goal in the beginning of second half, Parma intention to push the defender up looks clear and Rudi Garcia open up his turf card, Gervinho. With the defender high up true that it will get difficult to shoot from this range but it will leave room and space between defender and goalie, and Roma have other things that they excel at: speed and killer pass through.

Roma have taken the overturn now, with quality passer from midfield Kevin Strootman and Miralem Pjanic both of them combined has produced numbers of key pass, notably Strootman pas to Francesco Totti who escape from offside trap, to make a mark on Roma 2nd goal. He even get a moment to trick Parma keeper before shooting.

Third goal coming from counter attack with combined speed from Gervinho, he beat last defender who have no choice to fault him in penalty box. Strootman convert it perfectly to the roof of the goal and mark this as his first goal for AS Roma.

Final score: Parma 1 – 3 Roma.

Next giornata, 1 point Parma will pay visit to zero point Catania. This win for Roma will be a good motivation for derby della capitale against Lazio.

Ferguson Pensiun

Gw suka nonton pertandingan sepakbola dan juga halhal yang berhubungan dengan sepakbola. Apakah gw pernah cerita tentang sepakbola? sepertinya tidak, karena sudah terlalu banyak orang lain yang menulis, mengulas sepakbola, hehe, bloated banget.

Sir Alex Ferguson, manager sepakbola tersukses di liga inggris, mungkin di seluruh liga dunia juga -kecuali fact bahwa dia belum pernah menangani tim nasional- lebih dari 20 trophy dia kumpulkan di lemari piala MU, juga gelar prestisius treble winner 99, orang scotlandia ini sudah beberapa kali membuat keputusan untuk mengundurkan diri sebagai manager Manchaster United, tapi selalu dibatalkan. Tapi menurut gw, untuk kali ini, dia lebih memilih pensiun.

Alasan utama Fergie pensiun adalah karena keluarga dan umur, tapi dia selalu kembali lagi ke MU, lebih dikarenakan passion dia menjalankan role di MU. Gw juga melihat kalo Fergie pintar membaca situasi Liga Inggris -la iyalah, masa iya ngga pinter-, tahun 90an MU mulai mendominasi Liga Inggris, pesaing utamanya adalah Arsenal dan Liverpool, keputusan untuk pensiun dimasa puncak karir kurang berarti untuk Fergie, he enjoy doing his job, dan karena dia masih bisa mendominasi Liga Inggris, smart decision.

Sampai mid tahun 2000an, Chelsea dan Jose Maurinho dengan uang Abramovicnya masuk bursa penantang Liga Inggris, mulai saat itu banyak investor yang mengincar klub2 liga inggris. Meskipun banyak pro dan kontra tentang pemilik klub yang bukan berasal dari inggris, dengan melihat kesuksesan Chelsea sebagai penantang serius di liga inggris, banyak investor yang menindaklanjuti dengan serius. Liverpool dengan George Gillett and Tom Hicks, Arsenal dengan Emirates, terakhir Manchaster City beralih dari Thaksin -ex. PM Thailand- ke Konsorsium Investasi Dubai. Dominasi MU di liga inggris akan sangat rentan.

Keputusan yg tricky buat Fergie ya? mau pensiun sekarang atau nanti tapi dengan berdarah2 -lebay-, tapi kayanya bakal pensiun deh dia 😀 . Selain berurusan dengan pesaing di liga, Fergie juga dijamin pusing sama ulah Ronaldo, si CR7 ini benar2 mupeng mau ke madrid, padahal hampir setengah dari gol MU musim lalu datang dari dia. Hanya semangat mengalahkan rekor Liverpool di liga inggris aja yang bisa membuat Fergie meneruskan jabatannya.

Setelah Fergie pensiun, MU bakal kehilangan icon, sepertinya ngga cuma Ronaldo aja yang bakal pindah, banyak pilar2 lainnya juga. Menurut gw, kandidat paling ideal adalah Roy Keane of Sunderland yang bisa meneruskan kerja Ferguson di MU.