By now, having the guy who occupies the same working title at sister blog Chiesa Di Totti isn’t a new thing for you readers at Black & White & Read All Over.
The difference this time around is that Roma went out and did the following just a few short hours before Juventus’ wild win over Torino in the Derby della Mole:
- Had the chance to go to second in the Serie A table.
- Played like crap and allowed Cremonese to claim its first Serie A win of the season.
So, not exactly how Jose Mourinho and his squad wanted to enter one of the biggest fixtures still remaining on the schedule for both Roma and Juventus.
To gauge how things are going with Roma, we reached out to that aforementioned boss of CDT, Mr. Bren, to find out what the vibe around his favorite club is these days. With a race for a Champions League spot as well as being one of the other Italian teams in the Europa League Round of 16, Roma are certainly just as busy as Juventus can consider itself these days.
But how are those who support Roma feeling entering Juventus’ trip to the Stadio Olimpico?
That is what we’ve gotten Bren for. So, away we go. Here’s Mr. Bren to tell us about Roma heading into Sunday’s big matchup in the Italian capital.
BWRAO: So, upon further review, what the heck happened to Roma against Cremonese? Pretty bad way to go into such a big fixture like this weekend’s matchup is, huh?
CDT: Well, I had the good fortune of missing the match in real time, but even watching it after the fact was depressing as all get out. But you can remove the word Cremonese from the question since this is axiomatic for Roma: they save their worst for the worst moments. It could be Cremonese or Cluj or Siena or Spezia or Bodø/Glimt … doesn’t matter; this is just part of the Roma experience. They’re good for a monumental f**k up like this once every 18 months or so.
And yes, this was a horrific precursor to Sunday’s match, but it could be a blessing in disguise; there isn’t much to say after a performance like that — just put it behind you and move along.
BWRAO: There will be no Jose Mourinho on the sidelines for Roma this weekend after he got sent off against Cremonese. Will this be a big deal or do you think Roma will be able to cope without their high-profile manager?
CDT: Well, as far as I know, he’s appealing the ban and was actually at the FIGC headquarters earlier this week to plead his case, so don’t count him out just yet. But his backup, Salvatore Foti, is nearly as batshit crazy as Mourinho, so we may be looking at a third-string QB thrust into the spotlight kinda thing here … haha.
But to actually answer the question: I don’t think it will be a deciding factor; once the match gets going, it’s all about individual execution on the pitch anyway.
BWRAO: It’s taken until the third question to get to Paulo Dybala, who is obviously somebody we know quite well around here at BWRAO. How has season been to date and how far has he surpassed even Roma fans’ lofty expectations?
CDT: Amazing, and yes. He’s clearly the best player we’ve had since Francesco Totti, and he has a similar effect on the pitch — he just makes everyone better. With Dybala, Roma is fluid, unpredictable, and dangerous. Without him, they’re rudderless and utterly hopeless. The symmetry with Totti is uncanny.
The minor injuries haven’t been fun, but apart from that, he’s exceeded our expectations.
BWRAO: In a way this could be considered a follow-up to Question 1. How would you describe Roma’s form entering Sunday night’s big game?
CDT: All over the map. Three wins, two defeats, one draw. There were good moments, like their 2-0 win over Salzburg in the Europa League or a gutty 1-0 victory over Verona, but then there’s, you know, Cremonese.
But, like I said, that embarrassment could spur a momentous turnaround against you all, or we could sink even further into the infinite abyss.
BWRAO: Up until recently it looked like Tammy Abraham was starting to round into form. Is that still the case or do you think the injury that has caused him to sport that badass mask suddenly slowed down his steps forward?
CDT: He’s been all over the map this season, too. He had a dreadfully slow start to the season, but much like last year, the New Year was awfully kind to him. He started off 2023 with three goals and two assists in a seven-match stretch, so he definitely seemed like he was coming out of his funk.
But yeah, stitches in your lower eyelid … oof, that’ll slow you down.
BWRAO: You got a prediction for this Sunday? Let’s hear it.
CDT: You know what? I think we got this. I’m sensing this will be a frenzied five or six-goal game, but somehow we’ll come out on top; maybe El Shaarawy will score a wild match-winner.