Marco Polo in Reverse
As a result of this line-up, I’ve seen more of Roma in a week here than I have all season. That Mirko Vucinic is pretty tasty, isn’t he? It turns out that Roma’s boss, Signor Spalletti, has been serious about implementing the 4-6-0 plan I advocated this summer (prego, Luciano) and the results have been – interesting. This month’s issue of Champions described the formation as defensive in outlook, but this is nonsense. Loyalty to in-laws forbid me from supporting anyone but my adopted Palermo, but to my mind Roma play an enjoyable and attacking brand of football and are a pleasure to watch.
It may well be, though, that Spalletti doesn’t quite have the players to make the most of 4-6-0, which demands above all else that players be able to make quick and intelligent off-the-ball runs. This squad is intelligent, but I’m not sure they’ve got the pace to really make the most of the formation. There’s probably a couple of English squads that do have the right players for this kind of set-up, but either don’t have the inclination (Man U and Arsenal) or the tactical discipline (West Ham) to pull it off.
Still, there’s no arguing with results: Roma could be serious contenders this year if they could just sharpen up at the back a bit. And overall the quality of play in Serie A seems to have picked up somewhat. Some teams still have the incredibly annoying habit of ceding midfield after losing possession so they can run back and pack the defensive third (that’s an Italian trait that will be incredibly hard to break) but generally this stuff is a little easier on the eye than it used to be.
The fans don’t seem to be coming back yet, though. I’m watching Cagliari-Sampdoria right now and there’s almost nobody there. Granted,