Happy notes from the Europa League: the Roma tandem has a natural understanding, Gasp unlocks the Belgian striker in Atalanta
22 September – MILAN
Three wins, four draws and no defeats. The Italians’ record in the first round of European cups was decent. Perhaps we are out of the tunnel, in the sense that we have left the worst years behind us, the times when we suffered defeats against obscure teams and reaching the quarterfinals was perceived as a notable achievement. In the Champions League, the draws between Inter and Milan were not exciting, nor was Napoli’s success in Braga; goalkeeper Provedel’s goal will make Lazio’s 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid almost eternal. Yesterday Roma and Atalanta won in the Europa League and Fiorentina in the Conference took a point in Genk, a draw that can be read in different ways, between regrets and relief.
Roma’s winning goal in Tiraspol against Sheriff contains the seeds of an looming future: Dybala-Lukaku-Dybala-Cristante-Lukaku (goal). A game of mirrors, all from before and vertically, with Cristante as an illuminating “intruder”, he is the ingenious heel of the assist, but with an evidence, the increasingly advanced technical tests of collaboration between Dybala and Lukaku, complementary attackers like a few others. A combination of class and power that can take Roma far. The prevalence of individual qualities, the demonstration of how two natural talents manage to look for each other, find each other and understand each other without the need for a strong game to bind them, because Dybala and Lukaku, the number 10 and the number 9 as children imagine them, they integrate naturally, on their own. There is no attack that is enough, however, if you concede goals like the one yesterday in the 2-1 in Tiraspol, an avoidable goal. Eight Roma players in the area to defend, excluding the goalkeeper, and six from Sheriff to attack. A numerical superiority insufficient to prevent the ball from going into the hole. This is what Mou must work on, on the risk that defensive gaps weaken the connection between Dybala and Lukaku.
In Bergamo Atalanta beat the Poles of Rakow Czestochowa, a city known for the sanctuary of the Black Madonna, made famous throughout the world by Pope John Paul II, but there is no one who would define the rebirth of Charles De Ketelaere as miraculous, the great disappointment of Milan from last season. Between one mistake and another in front of the goal, the genius had already emerged in recent months, in the elegance of the movements and gestures, it was enough to grasp it. The spirit, the will to power, was missing. Gian Piero Gasperini bet on the most melancholy of the players in the 2022-23 Serie A and immediately cashed out. Last night De Ketelaere moved a little from 10 and a little from 9. He served balls with the vision of the attacking midfielder, he scored a header with the arrogance of the center forward. Perhaps we don’t understand De Ketelaere’s elusiveness, his resistance to being pigeonholed within the walls of a role. He studied in Belgian football academies, places where kids are taught “multiroleism”, the ability to cover multiple functions and positions. Gasp has understood the compatibility between De Ketelaere and his ideas of him and we don’t believe that he will make the mistake of caging him in a static role, we imagine that he will rotate him everywhere in attack.
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In Genk’s Fiorentina, the figure of Luca Ranieri, the 24-year-old defender, author of the two goals, emerged clearly. Raised in the Viola’s youth team, he auditioned together with Zaniolo, a native of La Spezia like him. Ranieri was forced to go on a long tour of the Italian provinces before returning to his parent company, rebelling against his “redundant” status and earning the trust of the Italian. Ranieri has played in almost all the youth national teams, but has not had the honor of a call-up to the senior Italy team. Sooner or later it could happen. With Bonucci and Chiellini gone, we are in the midst of a generational change of defenders. The spaces are there, you just need to take them.
September 22 – 00:27
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