I hate Lazio.
I always typically root for Italian teams in international/continental competitions. I feel it's good for the national team as well as the nation as a whole, and provides an element of pride for Italian football when its clubs represent well in competitions abroad. But there are two teams that I never root for, regardless of whom they're playing. One plays in Milan, begins with an "I," ends in an "R," and is owned and operated by the closest thing to a full-on Bond Villain in Italy (think a greasier, smarmier Roman Abramovich). The other is Lazio.
When I met my wife, she had what could kindly be described as an indifferent relationship with soccer, albeit a somewhat working knowledge. She enjoys sports, and enjoys watching them with me. But her ex was a Lazio fan. She asked me if I liked them, and I explained Lazio to her (coughMussolini'scough).
Strike one. Well, she never drank the Kool Aid, and her then beau wasn't the type that cared much for explaining things to her and cultivating her enjoyment of sports.
Now she's one of us.
Tomorrow marks the next edition of what I've called the "Derby Della Sua Cuora." Only unlike in real life, I don't always win. Last time, a fortuitous last-ditch effort by Mr. November Milos Krasic bailed us out.
This time, well…who knows. I’m getting tired of getting excited, so I’ll temper my expectations like a good Italian cynic. I mentioned last week that in a sort of sick, twisted way, drawing in Florence wasn’t the worst karmic result. After a draw last week, there are four games left, and four in a row is a possibility. I’ll take these odds for now.
After today’s car accident calendar of games, Juventus remain in 7th, six points behind both Roma and Udinese who lost this weekend. It could be three or four, but right now I’m sending a big FU to Rome. My father is from Bari. I know the Galletti will never be Scudetto contenders, but after accepting relegation, I felt some joy today thinking that my little Southern minnows would take Roma down a peg while simultaneously helping my beloved Old Lady. But alas, you really can't make up the shit that happened today, as a 9-friggin-man Roma came back to win.
We are also seven behind Lazio. Let's make it three and four respectively tomorrow boys, please?
Bring back the grinta. There have been flashes of it this season. Time to step it up. There are four games remaining, and our destiny is not in our own hands. The only thing we can do is win every game.
Bad news first.
I don't know what happened to Marchisio, but he's been ruled out with a bruised foot. How this happened, I don't know.
Bring on the good vibrations.
Three syllables: Chiell-i-ni. Or is it four? Chi-ell-i-ni? It doesn't matter, all you need are four letters to describe him: C, L, A, S, and repeat the last one. He's back, and our defence will be better for it.
GTL. At least one of last year's Juve/Lazio tangos included a sunkissed Fabio Grosso. Let's take that as a good sign.
Roma won, it blows. But they did accumulate two straight red cards to two key players. Daniele De Rossi confused Simone Bentivoglio with Brian McBride, Simone Perrotta acted equally stupid and got sent off as well. I know that a direct red usually means a multiple game suspension, correct? I thought it was at least two or three games, but I think Serie A just makes up this crap as it goes along at this point (more on that later), so who knows. At the very least, they'll have to finish the season, or at least most of the remaining part, without two of their better players.
Things that I'm coming to terms with.
I've often believed that it's easier, perhaps lazier to keep a cynical outlook, so as to only be pleasantly surprised at any positive outcomes one may encounter. After the past two weeks of Serie A, I'm thinking that it's healthy and necessary.
Three minutes of injury time turns into five, a complete bullshit farce of a handball call, and Juve gets robbed of an additional two points.
Today Roma goes down to nine friggin men, never leads the entire game, Totti misses a friggin penalty, and...they win.
FML. FU calcio in Rome.
Also, Wordpress is sucking right now. I had a few pictures to upload with this entry, as I normally do. Right now, the software is loading more slowly than Cannavaro's pace from last season, and none of the pictures are loading into the entry. I know none of the readers will likely care, but it bothers me.
Probable my best guess of a lineup (4-4-2): Buffon; Grosso, Bonucci, Chiellini, Motta; Pepe, Melo, Aquilani, Krasic; Del Piero, Matri.
Editor's note -- as I am writing this, it is being reported that Osama bin Laden has been killed. This has nothing to do with Juventus, soccer, or anything that I am obliged to blog about. I will not comment further, nor will I ever get political on this blog...but it's worth noting, and thinking about, and remembering that for as much as we love sports, and our teams...there is far more to life. This sure is a nice distraction though.