As the Ultras Romani's striscione this afternoon read "Punto e a capo... Ricominciamo!" (Full stop, back to the beginning... let's start again!)
An excellent performance by Francesco Totti, reminding us of the player he's supposed to be rather than the spectre of last week, and a decent all round show to demolish a competent and energetic Sampdoria team who threatened repeatedly but couldn't make a decisive breakthrough. With Taddei still unwell and Aquilani (Still!) out injured, Mancini and Perrotta lined up alongside Tavano in front of De Rossi and Pizarro, with Totti up front alone as usual, and with Ferrari in defence replacing Cassetti who has a cold (typical). Goals from Totti -21' first half and 21' second, followed by 26' s.t. Ferrari & Panucci 42' s.t. De Rossi goal disallowed for handball in second half. Totti is now on 20 league goals for the season, from 31 games, with Lucarelli & Toni behind on 16 apiece, so still looking good for capocannoniere, not bad for a trequartista really.
It was dead quiet today. Roughly 40000 people they say but it looked and felt dead, partly in comparison to the amazing atmosphere of being home against Man U, and partly just cos everyone was so (understandably) subdued. The Curva Sud is still out of sorts, the breaking and remaking of ultras groups is ongoing and though a new group calling itself Padrone di Casa appears to have replaced Tradizione Distinzione who broke up in December, there is still quite literally a void at the heart of the curva, which is not good for the atmosphere. Some people had earlier been to Trigoria, our training ground, to protest about last Tuesday's performance. After chanting slogans for a while outside the gates, as a sign of their dissatisfaction they threw... carrots. Spalletti, a man who knows when to dead-pan, commented "We will keep them. They are still good to eat." I should perhaps add that there were approximately 120 kilos of carrots. And a few live ducks. Spalletti added, "Next time please bring some lettuce, I like salad."
Meanwhile after 8 wins on the trot Lazio could only manage a draw away to bottom placed Ascoli this afternoon, providing us with a little more breathing space after it seemed they might start to threaten our longstanding second place. The gap is now a moderately-comfortably 9 points, and the next home game... is the derby! it's a fortnight and yes I am already mildly excited, how could I not be?
The table now looks like this, with Inter & Palermo to play tonight:
Lazio (-3) 56
Milan (-8) 50
Fiorentina (-15) 44
Siena (-1) 31
Reggina (-11) 27
(Palermo & Catania have played 1 game more than everyone else)
So it's not all bad. Never seen a 4-0 victory less celebrated, mind. Posts on 300 and on Cosa Nostra will be forthcoming.