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Monday October 28 2013
Perfect Roma show resilient side

While everyone waits for them to stumble, Roma keep churning out victories. Giancarlo Rinaldi rounds up the weekend’s action which saw the Giallorossi maintain their amazing pace.

We already knew they were good but now we know they have guts. Down to 10 men for most of the second half, Rudi Garcia’s Roma kept their 100 per cent record intact on a tricky trip to Udine. A single Michael Bradley strike was enough to make it nine wins out of nine.

The doubters had the Stadio Friuli pegged as a potential venue for the table-toppers to trip up. It was not so much the quality of the opposition as questions about how they might cope with adversity which raised such suggestions. With the ever-influential Francesco Totti and something-of-a-revelation Gervinho both ruled out with injury, it would have been easy for the Giallorossi to drop their first points. But this team has replaced the comic collapses of last season with a real ruthless streak.

“This is a tough place to come to,” said Garcia post-match. “We knew that they had not lost at home for more than a year and then we went down to 10 men. In the first half we struggled with their counter-attacks and left them too much space, but in the second half we made some changes and things went better.”

Injured skipper Totti was more colourful in his praise. He reckoned his team had shown the physical attributes most often associated with courage. “It doesn’t matter who plays,” he added. “We are all Roma.”

The capital club can banish all doubt over who holds the record for the best start to a Serie A season with a midweek win over Chievo. Fabio Capello’s Juventus also managed nine wins out of nine but that was a campaign which ultimately saw them stripped of their Scudetto. Garcia’s side can put that debate to bed with one more victory.

Their closest pursuers both needed penalties to help keep the five-point gap unaltered at the top of the table. Napoli converted two spot-kicks through Gonzalo Higuain to down an off-colour Torino side. The referee could easily have given neither of them, but Giampiero Ventura was honest enough to admit his team was off the pace for most of the match.

Meanwhile, in Turin, a was-it-in-the-box-or-not decision helped Juve bounce back with Arturo Vidal breaking the deadlock against Genoa from the spot and Carlos Tevez adding another. The machine-gun celebration stayed in its holster this Sunday.

In his post-match interviews Antonio Conte did, however, take a potshot at journalists who he claimed were trying to destabilise the club. He dismissed reports of a rift between himself and director Beppe Marotta as “nonsense”. “Stick to talking about football and how the team plays,” he thundered. “Don’t go inventing things about the relationship between myself and the club.”

A little further down the table, Inter and Fiorentina kept themselves in European contention with wins over the two halves of Verona. The Nerazzurri saw off Hellas in a six-goal Saturday night battle which left their boss Walter Mazzarri raging about their lapses in concentration. Last season those kind of blackouts cost the Milanese giants dearly, but this term it seems they have a little more focus. No doubt, however, their Coach has work to do to eliminate them entirely.

As for the Viola, they have clearly acquired a taste for winning matches from a losing position. In the opening weeks of the season they threw away a number of matches they were leading, but on Sunday they came from one goal behind to see off Chievo. It was the Juan Cuadrado show with the Colombian netting a double to turn the game around. Little wonder the flying wide-man has half of Europe tracking him now.

There was a morale-boosting win for Lazio who were jeered off at half-time during their Sunday night clash with Cagliari before Miro Klose helped bring them to life. After last week’s rumours that Vlad Petkovic might be on his way out, it was a vital three points. The feel-good factor from the Coppa Italia win over Roma has vanished quicker than the snacks at Antonio Cassano’s birthday party.

Talking of FantAntonio, he had a part to play in plunging Milan’s Serie A season into further misery. He scored one of the goals in a 3-2 Parma triumph over Massimiliano Allegri’s side. If you wanted an emblem of their campaign thus far it was the way a defensive wall fell apart to allow Marco Parolo to thump home the winner after the Rossoneri had fought back from two goals down.

Elsewhere, Sampdoria and Bologna both got wins which gave their League position a more healthy look, but there would be no such tonic for Catania at home to Sassuolo. Despite dumping boss Rolando Maran last weekend, the Sicilians could do no better than a goalless draw. Only time will tell whether appointing Gigi De Canio was really the answer to the problems at the Massimino but it looked like a typically Italian panic measure at the time and that impression remains. Hats off to the likes of Chievo, Bologna and Sassuolo who have – at the time of writing at least – resisted the temptation to follow a similar course of action.

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Have your say...
Juve fans always have an excuse when they are behind
on the 1st November, 2013 at 11:40pm
Postponing a friendly a cheating? LOL, that's the dumbest thing I've read in months.
on the 1st November, 2013 at 4:55pm
At this rate ASR are a genuine Scudetto contender, no if and buts, and I sincerely hope they keep showing their worth week in and week out.

@MH, trust me... Allegri wont be sacked, Milan will wait for Prandelli.

@Anon, it's an established fact since 2008 that Moratti and his corrupt associates created Calciopoli, you can use "Palazzi" and "Inter" as your search keyword, now do us a favor and enlighten yourself.
on the 31st October, 2013 at 3:46am
Good choices MH! The trouble is finances, can Milan afford the compensation (as these coaches are under contract), & then their salaries? Since Ancelotti's departure, Milan have gone for the cheaper options: promoting from within or signing a relatively inexperienced coach in Allegri. It would be great to see Klopp in Serie A, but I just cannot see that happening. Should Allegri go, I can see Milan replacing him with either Seedorf or Inzaghi.
on the 30th October, 2013 at 7:05pm
Mr. Italian in Canada is just rather being afraid of getting his prediction wrong. Whatever Roma do shouldn't be your concern anyway. If Roma haven't had playing obligation as many as Juve had then why? You already predicted that Juve will finally be a winner of the championship, and i'm sure you have all the reasons and consideration. Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for your prediction validity, week by week..patiently.
on the 30th October, 2013 at 6:07pm
Italian in Canada; why would there be an outcry of "cheaters" if Juve cancelled a friendly? I am not sure there would be. If it was proven they did actually do something that would be considered cheating then you would expect an outcry. Cancelling a friendly match is not an act of cheating or breaking rules, is it? Am I missing something here?
on the 30th October, 2013 at 4:36pm
The funny thing about calciopoli is that Juve were caught cheating. So therefore it wasn't won on the pitch but in the ref's pockets. Next thing you're going to say is what.. world war 2 never happened?
on the 30th October, 2013 at 2:12pm
Now we read that Roma will not be traveling to Jakarta for a friendly during National week because of injuries, etc. But there's no outcry of "CHEATERS!" that would be ringing in our ears if Juve did the same. Roma has no other competitions going but the league, and they can't even play a friendly. What would they be doing if they did have other playing obligations? Would they cop-out there too? Sad.
on the 30th October, 2013 at 2:08pm
Why is everyone talking about Milan? I think they are great! Am very impressed by Allegri. Hope he stays forever. Milan dont need a replacement for Balotelli; he scores penalties! He trains hard for that lol? Allegri is right, 90 min on the pitch is to long for him. Playing football is dull for him, that's why he gets into trouble, he needs the attention from the media, he gets booked and injured on purpose. How many games has he missed this year so far? How much was he? To much! Great buy lol
on the 30th October, 2013 at 1:15pm
PS if you asked me to suggest a few names right now I'd go for Jürgen Klopp, Michael Laudrop or Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton. That's just off the top of my head....
on the 29th October, 2013 at 4:43pm
@ Dan I remember you asking the same question before the summer. Milan could've gone for Garcia, Mazzarri or dare I say it Benetez. Instead we stuck with Allegri. I can't say now who'd best replace him but it's Galliani s job to find one. I'll have to question tassotti. While we did not concede on a set piece (as such) and actually scored from one for once since he's been involved we've had a shocking record on set pieces at both ends. It's a clear sign of an issue with training and preparation.
on the 29th October, 2013 at 4:37pm
I'd sell Hernanes too Mr Lazio! He is too consistent & looks like his mind is elsewhere. Maldini's Heir, who would you (realistically) like to see replace Allegri? He seems to have completely lost it now. The squad, whilst not great, is a damn sight better than what they are showing. I rate Honda: him, Kaka, & SES (interchanging), behind Balo in a 4231 would be interesting. With the work-rate of those 3, the team team would defend better from the front & ease the pressure on the suspect defence.
on the 29th October, 2013 at 2:44pm
Time to go Allegri
on the 29th October, 2013 at 11:29am
Roma has 3 home games vs relatively 'easy' (Chievo, Sassuolo, Calgiari) teams the next 4 games so they will only strengthen their position.

Napoli hasn't had many difficult games yet but will have a difficult program the coming weeks so I bet they will go further behind.

Juve are the only team that will keep the pressure on Roma the coming weeks.
on the 29th October, 2013 at 9:25am
It's great to see Roma doing so well, it really does go to show what a good squad and a manager that can bring them all together can do. Although a Milan fan, they are getting just what they deserve after a below average transfer campaign and a manager that lacks in ideas and inspiration. I hope to see a good battle for the top 3 spots by teams that deserve it. Roma, juve, napoli and inter. Sadly big changes need to be made for Milan to be there again. This season is one too far.
on the 28th October, 2013 at 7:32pm
Garcia is doing a great job at Roma, but for those of you who think its the same cast of players as last season clearly dont follow the team or league. Benatia, Strootman, Gervinho, Lljaic, Maicon, & De Sanctis are all new to the club and making significant contributions.
on the 28th October, 2013 at 5:32pm
Milan are a complete mess. UGLY. They aren't doing anything this year..
on the 28th October, 2013 at 3:15pm
Hats off to roma, 9/9 is the prefect start! I dont think they will sustain this until the end tho, its a team that are not used to the pressure at the top so sooner or later they will slip. Its just how bad they will slip! I think Milan will slowly get better, Napoli will give it a good go but in the end Juve will clinch it. Inter are the surprise dogs, they will grab 2nd just ahead of Roma/Nap. All in all its great for serie a!
on the 28th October, 2013 at 2:17pm
The clubs hierarchy have a lot to answer. Another summer where milan bought lots of average players. While inter, Napoli and Roma were making key managerial signings milan were being linked with seedorf. The other top teams have moved up such a level that I don't milan have a hope of getting near the top 3. With juve s stadium ownership, inter's new investor and Napoli s small fortune milan will simply be unable to compete with the current ownership structure.
on the 28th October, 2013 at 2:07pm
I think it's time for allegri to go. The squad is not great but I guarantee it's better than what allegri is making of it. Is this squad worse than Parma, Atlanta and Verona? Why are those teams above us? As Garcia has shown at Roma it's remarkable how the same players can be transformed under the right manager. Average players can become above average with the right manager. Allegri is not the right manager and should go
on the 28th October, 2013 at 2:06pm
Milan were quite frankly disgraceful. They were lucky to be level and they got what they deserved. For Allegri to say Balotelli had a bad game is a joke. He did not have a great game but he had to play next to robinho. And so he also announced we re signing honda. And whose place will he take? And what about our defence which is one of the worst in serie a? Rami better have magical powers to sort out our defence especially when we play two wingers at full back.
on the 28th October, 2013 at 2:06pm
Your correct Dan, top 6 is all we can hope for but playing like we have been we would be 10th!! Best we can hope for is sell Hernanes for as much as possible and use money strengthen in other areas of the team, or Lolito sell club to a rich man and do a Monaco!
on the 28th October, 2013 at 1:57pm
when you suffer, there is always something to gain. which i believe is true. roma suffer for 90 minutes against udinese this weekend (even when roma had 11 men on the field and udinese hit the post few minutes into the match). the gain was that they were able to find a goal very late into the game. that goal obviously made all the difference of bringing home 3 important points. most of the game i felt it would be the day that roma would bring home 0 points. they showed a lot of courage on sunday
on the 28th October, 2013 at 1:04pm
The pathetic digs at Juventus by the author are clear for all to see. Calciopoli or no calciopoli Juves titles were deserved and won on the pitch. Inter's default titles are just as suspect. Good for Roma, winning nine in a row but let's see what what happpens by the end of the season.
on the 28th October, 2013 at 12:28pm
eeuuh Roma does not play CL so have al reason to be up there! just need to concentrate on domestic games...This could be their year but a club like Napoli deserves it more because they a running the club over there for years as an example for the rest of italian clubs....
on the 28th October, 2013 at 11:35am
Mr Lazio, expectations are too high at Lazio. You have a fine coach & about 5 good players. Overall the squad is fairly average IMO. There are at least 6 better squads in Serie A. Lazio need to keep Petkovic, he over-achieved last season given the players at his disposal.
on the 28th October, 2013 at 10:51am
Not the most convincing display from Roma. Udinese had 2-3 great opportunities in the first half, as Roma left themselves open to counter attacks. Florenzi had a quiet game & Totti's composure/vision in the final 3rd was missed, as was Gervinho's penetrative runs. Once again, De Rossi was exceptional-my player of the season atm! Juve have looked much better in their past two games. Still not 100% convinced by Napoli or Benitez's constant rotating. Milan are all over the place-sad to see!
on the 28th October, 2013 at 10:42am
Lazio who were jeered off at half time = rightfully so shocking performance 1st half. Klose saved us thankfully.
on the 28th October, 2013 at 10:17am

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