Rob’s back with the middle edition of series 3. Roma are Serie A and European Champions but can they add the one everybody wants…you know, the World Club Cup? Let’s find out (Part 7 available here)
We finished part 1 with an unbeaten league record and some strong cup performances, the only negatives were some unhappy players and a couple of annoying draws. November begins with highly prized Jody Morris switching Tyneside for Old Trafford, I can’t help but think Newcastle have done some good business here, making up for that Lee Clark debacle in Season 1.
We are still on song however, and, at a for once well attended Champions League game. It still annoys me that less turned up to watch that magical semi final second leg against Juve last season. We see off Porto with a solid 2:0 the ever faithful Totti and Pirri with the goals.
If you were wondering how the fairy tale story of Chievo Verona was going after their surprise Coppa Italia victory last season then a) you have a good memory and b) not so well, Celtic have just knocked them out of the Cup Winners Cup in the 2nd round, 2:0 after two legs. They did manage a 0:0 draw at home though so they haven’t done too bad really. Chievo can now focus on staying up.
We continue with a champions 1:0 victory, the classic play badly and win game. Juve and Lippi decide that despite having one of the best keepers in the game in Peruzzi they are going to sign another, it’s an incite into the future, of sorts. Maybe they are working on a two keeper formation.
Thor is out again, he’s been injured so frequently I can only assume he keeps going to play round Bull’s house rather than focusing on his proper job as a striker come holding midfield player. Priorities!
Another victory in Serie A, another brace by Double K. All our main rivals Inter, AC Milan and Juve slip up with ‘Shock Defeats,’ meanwhile we are skipping along nicely. We don’t need that silly injury prone God of Thunder anyway. We have our 5th CL group game next and a victory against Steaua would see us qualify.
Panucci gets two from right wing back and that means we are through with a game to spare, Juve are not looking great in 2nd and their final game is against us so we could effectively knock them out.
Our next match gives us the opportunity to pick up the second trophy of the season, it’s World Club Cup time. We face a side I have never heard of, Basanez. A bit of research tells me they have only been in the top flight of Uruguayan football for two seasons since they were formed in 1920. The 1994/5 and 1995/6 seasons before being relegated in 1996/7. Quite how they ended up in the World Club Cup I don’t know.
In truth it’s another easy victory but disappointing that Double K gets injured at the end. Pistone get himself suspended in the Champions League by getting a yellow card in the final, which is a blessing as we are already through so he misses a nothing game. All these victories mean I’m manager of the month again, I’m just waiting for the wheels to come off.
Next up and it is another cup game, Coppa Italia quarter final time against a previous bogey side Sampdoria in my bogey tournament. Just before the game begins I notice that it is a two leg affaire, I wonder why I didn’t realise this earlier until I remember I have never got this far yet! I haven’t played £15 million man Ortega so he gets a rare start and scores, I hope this continues as Morty B needs some competition to keep him sharpe. We win 3:2 but the score line makes the game seem closer than it was.
Before our final Champions league game against Juve we travel to Fiorentina who sacked their manager after five games but really aren’t doing any better because of it. It’s a super boring draw where hardly a word of game commentary is spoken. Last year we would have lost a game like that to a last minute goal so I’ll take a boring draw. The game against Juve is equally as dull however we do lose that 1:0 to a Raul goal. I can only assume the boys were too relaxed as I played a strong team in the hope of knocking them out. The final table in the group looks like this.
I do a quick check of the other groups and their second place teams. Real Madrid have 15 points (through) and Ajax also have 13 points. Another check and Ajax’s goal difference is +7, Juve are out. I can’t quite believe it because last year we made it through in 2nd place with 10 points. We must have been really lucky. Here is the draw, Man Utd vs Barca is a big one, good to remove a strong side early and Real will be tough for us.
It’s another cup game next and the home leg of our Coppa Italia quarter final. We are leading 3:2 with three away goals so I feel confident of progressing. Inzaghi gets us off to a flyer and then it is all quite till just before halftime. A 5:3 AG lead at the half and I’d say we have done enough, and we had. Our defense seems a bit leaky at the moment and I hope this isn’t a trend developing.
The balls are drawn for the semi finals and it’s not a bad tie for us. Winning all six trophies could actually happen still.
We have a couple of league games left before the Christmas break.
Three minutes of excitement and 87 minutes of dross, I’ll take it though. This however is disappointing.
This on the other hand is brilliant, Panucci is becoming a free scoring right wing back, I think he is my favourite right back on the game and he really plays well in the wing back position which is a bonus.
We have the local bragging rights again. That result takes us to the midway point in the season (almost) and we are sitting pretty. The stats suggest that the defensive revamp has worked a treat with 3/4 Italians now as regular starters. We are not as free scoring as usual but I think lots of teams are now playing Ultra defensive when they visit the Stadio.
Tough break, glad I got rid, If only he was a little stronger this never would have happened anyway it’s Capello’s problem now.
After the Christmas and New Year festivities we are back in action against Capello’s Milan in the European Super Cup. We are away for the first leg and if we don’t want Milan to play one of their strikers as a sweeper in the home tie we need to get a goal here.
Another 3:2 win in a cup tie, yes. I don’t know what to say, we keep pulling results out of the bag and I’m not quite sure how but I’m loving it. Our league form is just immense at the moment as you can see by the next three matches.
I was about this time that I started to think we were going to manage to go unbeaten in the league. The whole season unbeaten, I’m not sure I have ever done that before I thought to myself. Then Youri Djorkaeff gives me a quick kick in the baby makers and it is all over in a slow drawn out flashing of text. He scored in the 2nd minute.
I know it happens but I feel really hard done by. It seems the board want to give me a little kick while I’m down.
Are Inter really that bad?
No they are not, they are in second frickin place, the board are bunch of ………..
We host AC Milan in our next game, it’s the second leg of the European Super Cup, can we secure trophy number three of the season.
Yeah we can, Double K is back on form. Transfer deadline day passes at the end of the month and after buying Ortega I stick with who I have for the rest of the season. In hindsight I should have bought Alberto Savino. Who’s that you say, you know, hattrick hero Alberto Savino. The Venezia right back who scored a 15 minute hattrick to rescue his side from the jaws of defeat when they were 4:1 down, away, at defending Champions Roma.
Savino’s hat trick is the beginning of a pretty bad run for us, I can only assume that other teams saw him score his hat trick and started to believe that they too could take us on. Alberto Savino has broken our MoJo!
The curse of Savino means we can no longer shoot and we are lucky with a 0:0 draw in our Coppa Italia first leg match.
In the league against Parma we are mighty but Savino has said blessings for the Parma team. Seriously, if I wasn’t bald I’d be tearing my hair out right now.
It takes two weeks to finally shake the Curse.
And it is just in time for the second leg of the Coppa Italia.
Abelardo has been amazing since he sighed at the start of season 2 for a cheap £1.7 million. He always looks good stat wise but he is really delivering on it. Nesta can’t get a look in at the moment. The game was so close but we have just edged it, we are in the Final.
Juve in the final, the Milan teams are good but Juve have been our main rivals the whole time and if we want to get all six trophies it is only right we should face them at some point. With the Savino curse well and truly broken the last two games in February and the end of this update are business as usual.
Looking at that maybe Juve have played Venezia recently and Savino has cursed them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a bad performance from such a good team. The league table after 2/3s of the season and I don’t think we are getting caught now. As a final present I get the February manager of the month too.
Next week we have the final 1/3 of the league, the Coppa Italia final and our Champions League adventure. We are halfway to the six trophy mark that I said was my aim at the start of the season. If I’m honest I didn’t think we would still be in with a chance with at this point.
Rob will be back next week with the final part of season 3 before he heads off to manage Ireland in the CM9798 World Cup. Follow him on Twitter @Taitanator