This Sunday in Rome there will be a football match between my club, Fiorentina, and another club called, from what I have been able to gather, “Roma.” Fiorentina, of course, is one of the greatest and most-loved clubs in the world, currently sitting in fourth place in Series A and in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup. It has been difficult to gather any information whatsoever on this “Roma” club, however. There’s hardly any mention of them at all on the internet, and here on theoffside.com, it’s as if the club doesn’t exist. (Apparently there’s some guy here who does occasionally follow the results of the club, but he seems largely indifferent to their fortunes.)
Anyway, here’s what I’ve been able to gather on “Roma,” through some rather diligent research.
1). Apparently they play in the beautiful city of Rome. Huh. I thought that was Lazio. My bad.
2). They have a decent record in Series A. They currently sit second, but they are just one point in front of Juventus, and seven in front of the mighty Viola.
3). They are also playing in some obscure club competition called the “Champions League.” Apparently they played, much like themselves, a small and insignificant club from Spain I’ve never heard of. Anyway, you’ve probably never heard of this little tournament, just as I haven’t (I don’t think they televise the games) but I guess they did pretty well in their match.
4). Occasionally their players just randomly start kicking the shit out of each other.
5). Their star player, Francesco Totti, (I’ve never heard of him, either) has not found his best form since coming back from injury, Juan is hurt again, and their player Mancini, who is allegedly a minor member of a royal house (they call him the “King of Stepovers”) is out on suspension.
6). They have lost two out of their last three in the league, and are pretty desperate not to give up second place to their rivals from Turin.
Fiorentina, meanwhile, has had a very good ten days. They’ve won their last three games, including a thriller last weekend in the league vs. Catania and both legs of their UEFA cup matchup v. Rosenborg. Unlike Roma, they are almost injury free, and thus coach Prandelli can potentially put out his best lineup. Frey seems to be fully back from his injury, and the stars of the team, including Mutu, Pazzini, and Liverani, seem to be hitting on all cylinders at the right time.
Thus everyone is expecting an exciting, attacking game on Sunday. Roma wants the win to stay in front of Juve (who are expected to get their three points vs. Reggina) while the Viola, least we forget, are fighting to keep their noses in front of Milan for that fourth Champions League (now I remember what that is) spot. Sometimes these potential “great games” turn into murderous nil-nil draws, but I am hoping for a blockbuster on Sunday afternoon in the Eternal City.
Recent Form (all competitions)
Starting Lineups (AKA The Blind Guess Department)
Roma: Doni; Panucci, Mexes, Ferrari, Tonetto; De Rossi, Pizarro; Taddei, Perrotta, Giuly; Totti
Fiorentina: Frey; Ujfalusi, Dainelli, Gamberini, Pasqual; Donadel, Liverani, Montolivo; Santana, Pazzini, Mutu
Who’s Not Playing?
Juan and Mancini are out for Roma. Bobo looks to be out for the Viola, and even though Frey played Thursday night, he will probably still be a game-time decision.
Both teams play attractive, attacking football and want this game badly. Both teams are in fine form after midweek wins in Europe, although Fiorentina played Thursday evening and will be a little more tired. On the other hand, the Viola are healthier. Roma is obviously playing at home, but I honestly believe this one could go either way.
It has been 16 years since Fiorentina won away at Roma. On the other hand, I predicted four or five games for the offside.com before I got one right. Message? All streaks must end at some point. I say Fiorentina wins 3-2 in the match of the year.