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Wednesday February 6 2013
Zemanlandia closed for business

Roma’s 4-2 loss to Cagliari proved the final nail in Zdenek Zeman’s Giallorossi coffin. Luca Cetta believes his sacking was inevitable.

The writing was on the wall following a start to 2013 which garnered just two points from a possible 12. Director Walter Sabatini then added fuel to the fire. “Zeman’s work is satisfying under certain aspects, but it is clear that there are less positive things. It’s is time to start asking ourselves some questions and, amongst the considerations, we’ll also think about a change of Coach – even if only marginally.”

Friday’s humiliating defeat increased the margins considerably. Less than 24 hours later, Zdenek Zeman was sacked. Thirteen years after his first stint at Trigoria ended, the polarising Czech and his Zemanlandia were shut down eight months into this spell. Director Franco Baldini insisted it had to happen. “This was the only decision we could make.”

Given the results, you cannot blame the club for taking this path. The blame could lie in their decision to hire Zeman, but after spectacularly guiding Pescara to the Serie B title in May he was the flavour of the month. Given his Roma past, it seemed a dream move. Fans thought so too. Out went the unpopular Luis Enrique, in came the mystical Czech. Season ticket sales increased. Expectations too. Sadly for the Giallorossi, the points tally has not.

Roma are one point and two spots worse off compared to the corresponding stage last term. This is with a squad that should be challenging for the Champions League, not one sitting behind Catania and nine points adrift of third-placed Lazio. A symptom for this is their defensive deficiencies, having conceded 42 goals, second worst behind Pescara. The manner in which the goals were conceded highlights the worst traits of Zeman’s football. The Cagliari loss can be seen as a microcosm for the season – defensively terrible with the occasional flash of attacking brilliance.

There were happy days. The Week 2 San Siro showdown versus Inter was perhaps Zeman’s finest day in charge during this stint, Pablo Osvaldo’s goal something special. 4-2 victories over Fiorentina and Milan are other positive memories, but those aside the memory pool is shallow. When it all clicked it looked great. Otherwise it was a mess.

A stubborn disposition and desire to stick to the high-tempo, all-action style which defined Zeman proved his Roman downfall. Even with a defence as fragile as the Giallorossi’s there was no change. They looked more like cubs than ferocious Lupi. Zeman failed to realise that there is nothing wrong with a desire to play attacking football, but there is a problem in shirking defensive duties.

The Daniele De Rossi and Maarten Stekelenburg situations were handled less than ideally. The Italian international went from pivotal figure for club and country to the periphery. He would be as relieved as anyone to see the 65-year-old go, securing his future. Roma fans would have breathed a sigh of relief when the transfer window shut and Capitan Futuro remained. The Dutch goalkeeper did not feel any relief as his proposed transfer to Fulham did not go through. A Gigi Buffon he is not. But Stekelenburg proved a good set of hands. Pushed to the outer in place of Mauro Goichoechea, that move took a spectacular plummet with his calamitous error on Friday.

While those two butted heads with Zeman, others thrived. His unabashed policy towards youth saw Alessandro Florenzi and Mattia Destro become regulars. Miralem Pjanic, Leandro Castan and Michael Bradley were others to flourish under the Czech tactician and their ongoing development as footballers will be better for it.

Where to for Roma? Aurelio Andreazzoli – a technique Coach who has worked with the club since Luciano Spalletti’s reign – takes over for now. He is expected to revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation and a starting XI which includes De Rossi. The new boss wants to “install some enthusiasm in and around the club.” Andreazzoli’s first test is away to Sampdoria.

As for Zeman, he has no plans to call it a day. “They’d have to shoot me first,” he exclaimed. Has Zeman blown his last shot at the big time? Possibly. That doesn’t mean this is the end for him, but Zeman must be aware the cavalier approach has its limits.

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Have your say...
the sampdoria loss today was bad. andreazzoli is an amateur head manager. roma missed the opportunity and the time to hire a manager to help. now, roma will possibly lose to juventus next weekend and fall further down the table. reinstate zeman if no one is better qualified to take the team at this point to take to the end of the season. andreazzoli will not be able to stir this ship. today's performance in genoa raises more questions then answers.
on the 10th February, 2013 at 7:46pm
Very superficial summary. Not all wrong but details (Destro did not exactly become regular under Zeman - only when Ozzy was suspended/injured) show you only read headlines and not really analyze. Overall, I agree that Zeman had to go. Was it occasionally entertaining, yes, for sure but after 8 months (and only 1 point in 2013 while players like DDR and Stek were pushed out for Bradley/Taxi and Goicochea) we cannot live with potential and could/should have beens any longer.... Forza Roma !
on the 10th February, 2013 at 8:59am
Do those backing Zeman here actually believe he could have pulled it back? He was a stubborn old man who, despite his age, fails to understand that football isn't just about "fancy football".What's the point in entertaining the fans in the stadium, just so they can go home and see that we've dropped even further down the table?!!!Ridiculous. I wish Andreazzoli the best of luck though.He seems to know exactly what he's doing and if he watched closely working under Spalletti, we're in for a treat.
on the 7th February, 2013 at 11:27pm
zeman is out of place in a country with a rich defending tradition like italy. he has never been successful with a good team - attackers may win you matches, but defenders win you tournaments.
on the 7th February, 2013 at 2:19pm
Zeman's latest stint with Roma showed little signs of improvement. He has been known for leaving his defences open but too many of Roma's errors looked elementary.

His chance of coaching a big team has gone and now he should stick to what he knows best; coaching teams in the mezzogiorno, promoting young attackers and fitting them into his 4-3-3
on the 7th February, 2013 at 10:26am
Zeman should have kept absolutely. I'm sad. Been watching every game. Most entertaining and courageous football in Italy. Free and strong man. Defence would have devoloped in time. But to grow together is usually too much for a business orientated mind. 'Today football is more business than a game' -Zeman
on the 7th February, 2013 at 6:35am
I could easily see some players intentionally didn't put any effort into the game ,Baldini should have been sacked long ago he lacks the very basic ability to do his job and all his proflie is because of Capello on his side .
on the 7th February, 2013 at 3:33am
I believe this year Zemanlandia actually started to work for Roma , as the team started to get results before Christmas . I have a half-ass theory about what happened underneath , I think Zeman didn't agree on the pointless trip to USA and as zeman characteristics is to be loud-mouthed so there is a high possibility that the argument went further than was it was about . I don't know if you noticed baldini went to see Pep guardiola on 13 jan 2013 , even before the first game Vs Napoli .
on the 7th February, 2013 at 3:30am
Yes, Zeman defense was horrid. But, his all attack football was a thrilling show. I would rather watch this Roma side than watch last season's under Enrique. Let us not forget, Zeman put his confidence in youth and the result was Marqhinous and Florenzi. The clubs board chose Zeman and should have stuck with him until the end of the season. What is the benefit from sacking him now? Zeman definitely did not deserve this, in the manner that it happened. In the end, thanks Zeman.
on the 7th February, 2013 at 3:25am
I feel the guys below have actually said enough to cover my views.But all I'll say is we need to stop buying youngsters and bring in at least 3 or 4 world class players this summer.I'm starting to think that these owners(who really need to stay in Rome because to me they don't even know about the club)are really cheap and are just trying to save money here.Baldini was there when we last won the league so why is he pretending that the main reason we won the league wasn't the massive transfers.
on the 6th February, 2013 at 8:42pm
Hopefully Mr Google aka Zemanlandia has left Italian football for good. His continued stubbornness (blame it on age) & lack of ideas lead to his downfall. The guy only has one approach and that's to attack, really ??? How about trying something else for a change...

I agree, the Roman board of directors are to blame. Last season they could have had Ancelotti & this season Montella but instead they opted for one dimensional & so called entertaining football without any postive results...
on the 6th February, 2013 at 7:40pm
Romanista,
I totally agree with your comment. A few more goals from the forwards and we would be praising Zeman. Sure maybe he didn't focus much on the defense, but, they are professionals. If they aren't good enough than why werent' they looking for some help during the transfer window
on the 6th February, 2013 at 3:45pm
The American board is at fault they have no idea what they r doing. The biggest mistake other than firing Zeman was hiring Baldini. Roma's defense was horrible because the players they have r either rubbish or very young and inexperienced. As for stekelenburg I thought he was solid until I saw him play he's rubbish. De Rossi he hasn't done anything for Roma in 3 years trading him for verratti would have been a coup. Just call him captain future that never was.
on the 6th February, 2013 at 3:11pm
highs & lows of this article. just like the highs & lows of roma so far this season. more consistent play is whats needed in the end. with zeman, we were ALL entertained. no question about it! 3-3 draws, 4-2 wins, 3-2 loses. months ago i said hold on to your seats, its going to be a roller coaster ride of a season for roma. ...but, the favorable results rarely came so a change MUST be made. i like zeman, but he had to go. maybe the timing didn't work in his favor. but, zeman was good for serie a
on the 6th February, 2013 at 2:43pm
Zeman did a couple of things such as Marquinhos being played at a young age and performing. Totti played out wide to preserve him at this age.
Imagine how good Marquinhos would look if this manager had an ounce of respect for defensive strategy.
Zeman all out attack does not work in the big leagues...times have changed . All teams knew how to beat Roma because the defense was left stranded too many times.
His approach is outdated.
on the 6th February, 2013 at 2:12pm
The board should have shown Zeman more loyalty, at least until the end of the season. He was their choice afterall!! They should have shown faith in Vincenzo, he was the perfect man for the job at the time. What next . . .
on the 6th February, 2013 at 1:47pm
I agree that it was never really going to work. Saying that, with better finishing (Destro)Roma could easily have had nine more points and would therefore be in joint 3rd place. It was not just the defence but also the attack. Lamela also missed a whole host of sitters! Even Osvaldo missed a good number. In my opinion, Roma still need a 20 goal a season man They also need a reliable manager... Not like Enrique or Zenman. Old school like Lippi or Trapattoni.
on the 6th February, 2013 at 12:55pm
Good riddance.
Of all the managers Roma picked they went for Mr Disaster. Hopefully thats the end of his Serie A life.
Only good with small teams, the old Foggia days were his best.
on the 6th February, 2013 at 11:04am
For some reason you have forgotten to mention Marquinhos, easily the best young player at the club and probably the best teenage defender around.
Also Zeman's resurrection of Totti..
on the 6th February, 2013 at 11:00am

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