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Being relentlessly positive carries one true benefit. When the inevitable occurs and, like a stopped clock, you are occasionally proved right (twice a day in the clock’s case, much rarer in mine) you get the pleasure of saying I told you so. Negative people don’t get to do this. No true football fan gloats about being right that their team is rubbish. They are too busy wallowing in misery.

So with Roma’s season going pretty well by most people’s standards having racked up more points than we ever have before after 21 games, especially given how bad we were previous to this, anyone who said anything remotely hopeful about the season ahead back in August has earned all the gloating they can muster. And having earned it, do you think I am going to let an opportunity like that pass me by? Ha! Of course not.

Especially not now, while there are so many mea culpas happening at the moment from negative nellies at the start of the season who now realise the error of their ways. Why now, when things have been looking up for quite some time? Because there is one player in particular whose summer signing was consistently bagged by more than any other, and who has been consistently proving the doubters more wrong than spaghetti in a tin ever since.

When news came through that we were signing Gervinho, it’s fair to say the reaction was not terribly positive. I’d go back and find some of the offending tweets if I had that kind of time, but I don’t, so suffice to say those who trashed him know who they are and, to their eternal credit, most of them are owning up all by themselves without being outed by me. It’s hard to be too hard on them though, it was a fairly safe position to hold. There was certainly no danger of being the odd one out by taking the negative line on this one. Despite that however, a select few of us stuck our necks out regardless:

6) Player to look out for?

Gervinho. He wasn’t used properly at Arsenal.

In case you can’t tell, I’m feeling rather smug about this.

It’s a bit of a struggle to describe Gervinho in cold, hard black and white. He’s not that sort of player. He’s a raft of different emotions all in one and it’s pretty high octane. Adjectives that come to mind are ducking, diving, darting, jinking, sprinting, racing, chasing, trippy, nippy, juggling, unrelenting and he’s all of those, usually all at the same time. Sure, he can also be frustrating, wasteful, and selfish at times… But it’s a percentage game. If you keep giving him the ball, magic will happen at some point. When he’s got the ball it’s like watching a hummingbird flit from one defender to the next and leaving each one grasping in his wake. Then when he picks his moment, he’s away as straight as an arrow with the straight line speed of a Ferrari.

In addition to all those others, the one word that stands out above all for me every time I see him play, is BEAST. He is playing like an absolute beast at the moment. I e-mailed a friend after we played Fiorentina describing his performance in that game as one of the best I had ever seen from a player in a Roma shirt and while that’s a mighty big call, I stand by it. It was certainly one of the most exhilarating.

I know it’s easy to say now, but I even liked him at Arsenal. He gave away a lot of possession but I thought he showed potential. He is a creative player who can look a bit silly when it goes astray but then minutes later things like this can occur, the goal against Verona that sparked off many of the admissions of guilt over the last few days:

There will be more opportunities for gloating at the end of the season, when I will mark my report card from that pre-season post more fully. For now though, let’s just sit back and marvel at the genius that is the man dubbed by many in Italy “la freccia nera” – the black arrow:

Categories: Roma/Italian Calcio

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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