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Welcome back Giallorossi fans to the Roma Review! I hope all of the Serie A Weekly readers and writers in the States had a nice Thanksgiving holiday. Roma had a big week and many of us, still hungover from Champions League action, were hoping for a better performance in Palermo yesterday. It was definitely a week of highs and lows. It raises many questions for us fans, who are wondering what is going to happen to the team once they get new owners, and what movements will happen in the Winter transfer. Also on our minds are the remaining games in Champions League and Serie A.

I think that the Champions League match against Bayern Munich was weighing heavily on the minds of the Roma players. They did not want to lose at home, and they knew that a win or at least a draw was going to keep them in the competition. I was pleased to see that Totti was left as a substitute, and that Borriello, Vucinic, and Menez were starting up front. De Rossi made it back from an injury he picked up playing with the national team. Leandro Greco earned a starting position, but an early yellow card got him subbed out after the first half. The game seemed to be going Roma’s way with a couple of early chances. However, the confidence that Roma was feeling shifted as Gomez drew first blood and got Bayern on the board. Then minutes later Mueller sniffed out a bad pass from Roma’s back line. He passed the ball to Gomez who was already making a run in the box. Gomez added another goal, and things were looking dire for Roma going into halftime. As I watched the teams come back onto the pitch for the second half I thought, the only thing that could get them back into the game was an early goal. Roma seemed to determined to do just that. Jeremy Menez was the driving force as he out ran Bayern’s defenders and crossed the ball into the box. Marco Borriello missed his initial chance on the ball and fell over with the defender. Borriello did not give up though and tapped it in while he was on the ground. It was a fantastic goal. Menez continued to give Bayern’s defense a tough time through out the second half. He created several chances for Roma to tie it up. Totti came on as substitute for Brighi with 15 minutes left in the match. I think that Totti’s presence and the fact that he can be a play maker towards helped Roma. Before Totti had his moment of glory, Riise made sure to give De Rossi a second chance, as his low cross found him on the other side of the goal. De Rossi tapped it in, to bring Roma level with Bayern. A few minutes later Totti made a long pass to Borriello who got a touch on the ball before Kraft took him down in the box. There was no question that it was a penalty, and the referee pointed to the spot. Totti took the penalty and became the hero once more, as he scored the goal that made it 3-2. Roma kept their lead as the final minutes counted down, and kept their second place position in the group table. Now Roma travel to Romania for one more game against Cluj, where they only need to tie to earn their spot in the next round. However, things could come down to goal differentials should Roma lose and Basel defeat Bayern in Germany.

Before the match with Palermo, I told a friend of mine that I don’t think Roma will win. I thought that this game would end in a tie. Both teams were very close in the table, and Roma weren’t going to lose to Palermo after beating Bayern Munich. I also know that Palermo can be tough to beat at home. Boy was I wrong on that one. It seemed that Roma left their better side in the first half of the match. Even though Roma came out strong in this game, and peppered Palermo’s goalie, they could not get a shot past him. Salvatore Sirigu blocked shots from Riise, Totti, and Menez in the first half. Roma’s defense left too much open space when Palermo counter attacked, and that is how Miccoli scored the first goal. Palermo looked content to let Roma attack, and then counter attack as soon as they got possession. Roma’s defense is not as consistent as last season. Even though Roma dominated the first half they were a goal down. I thought for sure that they would get back in the game in the second half. Things seemed to go from bad to worse. Pastore looked to score early in the second half, but Julio Sergio pulled a fantastic save. I have thought that as good as Palermo have been playing, during some games it looks like they are relying on Pastore too much. That was not the case in this game, as Palermo played like a well oiled machine. My hopes for Roma getting back into this match were cut off when Josip Illicic scored and put Palermo up 2-0 and less than 4 minutes later when Nocerino made it 3-0. Roma could only pull one back as Totti scored in the final minute of the match. I think this match showed that there are some weak links in Roma’s defense. There are rumors that Phillippe Mexes could be leaving in January. However, I don’t think that he is the weak link, on the contrary I think he is a fantastic defender. I think that Riise has not been consistent in the back. He is great on the wings, and he has a powerful strike. I think he should be playing in the midfield on the wing. I think that it will be hard for Roma to find a consistent center back if Mexes leaves. Roma do have Burdisso, who is good, but he has already picked up two red cards this season. They also have several defenders who do not usually start, but may be called upon to play more often if Mexes leaves.

Roma now sit in 7th place, but they are not far behind on points. A win next week could easily put them into 5th or 6th place. Next week they travel to Verona to play the Flying Donkeys. This is a game that Roma should win. Chievo have been falling down the table recently, and Roma need to pick up points against them and Bari before their final league game of the year against AC Milan. I think after the AC Milan game it will become clear if Roma can get back into the Scudetto race, or concentrate on gaining a Champions League spot. Can Roma pick up the pieces and start another run of unbeaten games? We’ll have to wait and see.

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