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C-90 Cassetti unspools, throws his poise out the tram…

November 7, 2011

Serie A Sat 5 Nov 2011

Novara 0 – 2 Roma

Luis Enrique rejigged his defence once again, going for a back four of Taddei – Cassetti – Burdisso – Rosi. He also swapped De Rossi and Gago’s positions in midfield, with the Argentine having one of his best Roma games in a slightly deeper role. Ahead of him, Erik Lamela made his third start of the season tucking in behind Osvaldo the fifth musketeer.

Side A

At the end of their defeat to Milan last week, Roma looked to have perked up, so it was sad to see Enrique pull his coat hood almost over his face, as the ball almost immediately sailed clean through the Roman box, asking only for a touch goalwards. Taddei, at left back, was off the pace, and while gli hardly Osvaldo tracked back admirably, he was wont to give away cheap free kicks in his own half.

Cassetti C-90

Lamela lost the ball in a soft challenge, but immediately won it back, and even put up with Porcari pulling on his shirt. Sadly, the defence was less battling, and more brittle. Cassetti got to 12’ without making a mistake – he didn’t do anything else, but he didn’t make mistakes – but then he started to unspool. A ridiculous body check, arms raised, making a skull and crossbones with Takayuki Morimoto’s skull earned him a booking and could have got worse. The free kick sent the ball bobbling in the area like a pea in a whistle.

Four minutes later, Cassetti did the exact same thing. Again the dead ball wasn’t dealt with, Mariannini stepping off his marker and heading in, only to be called offside.

Cassetti was obviously magnetic in his ineptitude, as Miralem Pjanic, who was booked versus Milan for pettiness after losing the ball, was shown yellow again.

Morimoto continued to torment Cassetti, the striker co-owned with Catania finally looking like the ‘Japanese Ronaldo’ he has been labelled in the past. Cassetti caught up with him in the six-yard box, and managed to take the ball off the Morimotoes. With a header. While sliding off the pitch on his stomach.

Side B

Memento Morimoto

Roma started the second half as if they meant to go off. Rosi and Cassetti continued to get into a tangle on the right of defence, while Osvaldo and Pjanic squandered chances to get balls into the box at the other end. Morimoto and Meggiorini, with the ever-faithful Mariannini backing them up from right-back, caused havoc, beating Taddei back and forcing Burdisso over from the centre to deal with the threat.

Much is made of the artificial pitch at the Stadio Silvio Piola, but Roma were being shown up with their refusal to acknowledge the weather conditions. Their long attemted passes skidded out ahead of their target regularly, with not one of their midfield architects rectifying the error. Pjanic’s shots from free kicks were better, but even then Fontana was hardly perturbed in the Novara goal.

So Enrique’s grand experiment was at the same stage as in so many of their matches. Flashes of flash, passages of passage, without much to show for it. But Novara is, literally, a ‘new place’, and the introduction of Boy Bojan Krcic on 64’ might just have reset their course for the season. The Spaniard gave his side a shot in the arm with a lovely goal from Pjanic’s chip, and Osvaldo added to the cheer with a shot across his brows ten minutes later. He nodded in a corner while taking a step away from the goal, with placement and finesse in a crowded area. There was enough time for  Novara to be pushed back, and for them to hit back, but Taddei had been moved round to right back, so Cassetti was less exposed.

Overall, it was more of a battle for Roma than it should have been, and they cannot always rely on the surprise of Bojan coming on to win matches. For all the talent in their midfield – Gago is in the most recent Argentina squad, though that’s mainly due to injuries – this team requires focal points up front. That might come from allowing Lamela to play in the middle , or from playing Bojan with Osvaldo, who have not started together since the derby defeat. Whatever the options, it’s quite enjoyable not knowin who’s going to be playing where…

 

 

 

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