Got back home last night in time for today's game. A month is a long time to not have been to a game, the winter break and our schedule having conspired to make in fact 5 weeks since I was at the Olimpico. Not that much had changed, when I arrived at 2.30: the scoreboard above the curva nord still broken, Roma still without a shirt sponsor, the Sud still in a bit of disorder, Inter still substantially ahead, Vucinic still not scored...
And it wasn't a fantastic match. Well, in fact, a pretty rubbish match, scrappy and inelegant. With Mexes and Panucci both on the bench, and Ferrari looking still uncertain, we missed our usual solidity at the back. Consquently De Rossi spent more time tracking back to cover the defence and the whole centre mid-field didn't function as it ought. Perrotta created the most but without Totti - suspended, obviosuly, after his bravura efforts last weekend - we struggled to open up options through the middle, whilst Taddei and Mancini had fairly quiet games on the wings. Maybe our new Swede, Christian Wilhelmsson, who I've not seen yet, would have been more productive: in both his games he's apparently been seriously impressive, incredible work-rate and excellent fitness, gets stuck in, plus ability to get into useful spaces and create new options. The fans have taken to him considerably, a massive cheer even though he was on the bench, and someone with a swedish flag in the Sud which is clearly for him.
Anyway. Siena were determined, well organised and fast on the counter attack. Frick had some good chances for them and former Arsenal keeper Alex Manninger - generally rememebered with affection by most gooners - had a good game. Enrico Chiesa, still an important player for Siena, came on for Daniele Corvia - one of our exceptional youth team of a few years ago, now just turned 23, and who was sold to Siena in the summer, and who was given a great ovation from the fans. They've been doing ok this season, and on this showing deservedly so.
And not quite everything has stayed unchanged. The good news was that Vucinic scored his first goal for us, finally: an excellent ball in from Tavano, Vucinic controlled it with his right and shot beautifully with his left, a lovely move. He came to celebrate under the Sud, looking as much relieved as delighted: having waited since September, with the burden of a hefty price tag to justify and increasing impatience on the part of the fans, he came charging over to us, waved his shirt round his head, screamed like a mad man and was duly booked for excessive celebrations. I hate that rule. Less good news was Mancini yet again having a strop about being substituted, and this time receiving a public post-match reproof from Spalletti, who must have been well pissed off since he doesn't usually do that sort of thing.
Inter are still 11 points ahead, and we go to their place next weekend. But first we have the second leg of the Coppa d'Italia semifinal, at home to Milan on Wednesday. We came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in the first leg at the San Siro last week, so have a decent chance for our home game (although Milan are recovering form, as we all knew they would, and Inzaghi *spit* is playing really well again). The main thing is that despite today's less than great game, not only did we get three points again but the season is back properly underway and I'm back in the curva Sud and therefore all's right with the world and I'm happy again.