In honor of the resurrection of Rafa, and despite having not actually watched any of our last two matches, I would hereby like to offer some questionably accurate FACTS about our current situation:
FACT: We all knew that there was going to be a comedown after the streak we were on, so no one should be surprised. What matters now is our ability to pull out of this rough patch before it becomes a nightmarish death march of doom. And the difference between the two is one of attitude as much as anything else. With Mou, we had rough patches; with Ranieri we had a nightmarish death march of doom.
FACT: For all his brilliance in certain matches, Strama still has a lot to learn, particularly when it involves changing tactics on the fly. When we see him sit and watch 80 straight minutes of obvious garbage before making his first sub, we see that inexperience in action. But inexperience is what it is, and that’s very different from incompetence.
FACT: Our squad is broad, but not deep. We have cover for every role, but at times the gulf between first and second choice is immense. Silvestre is not an adequate cover for any of our three starting CBs, Alvarez is not adequate cover for Sneijder or Cassano, and Jonathan is not adequate cover for anyone. It‘s a little like trying to fit Volvo parts into a Ferrari engine. Plus, the only member of Strama’s Primavera squad currently capable of playing a first team role is doing so in Spain for a different club. When you have an epic number of injuries – including, ironically, long term injuries to designated cover players Chivu, Deki and Mudingayi – and aging key players who need to be rotated from time to time, this becomes a serious problem.
FACT: Marco Branca is a priest on a mountain of sugar.
FACT: This team has never found a replacement for Motta or prime-years Deki. Not coincidentally, we have suffered from defensively fragile and/or offensively toothless midfields ever since. While I agree that we could probably use a vice-Milito, if we spent some of that Sneijder money and found a solid, non-injury-prone CM with spot-on passing this next transfer window, it would completely revolutionize this squad. This team needs a sofa, and we can’t keep buying more lamps.
FACT: Thanks to a combination of shitty ref errors and an overall sense of half-assed malaise from the squad, we have squandered a gilt-edged window to go top of the table over the past few weeks. Frankly, I think the reason for this is simply that we aren’t yet a team that can challenge for the title. Not this season anyway. But that’s not as huge a criticism as it sounds, really. If you had told ANY of us at the beginning of the season that come winter we would be in 4th place AFTER a bad run of form, with Juve still in striking distance, having qualified for EL knockouts and winning both derbies, the response would have been disbelief. Remember what a hopeless wreckage this team was not so long ago, and be thankful that we’ve just got a slumping one at the moment.
FACT: White liquid in a bottle must be milk.