Without Totti, Gervinho, Udinese becomes even more daunting

Posted by Julian De Martinis

Francesco Totti and Gervinho were both substituted against Napoli Friday with different injuries, leaving fans and spectators wondering if Roma could pull off a victory without two of their best players. They won, but the club has confirmed that the attackers will be sidelined for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time which will almost certainly see both sidelined for yet another difficult test.

Totti, the captain, left the 2-0 victory in the 33rd minute for Marco Borriello, coming off the pitch holding the back of his thigh. Roma confirmed Monday that he has a hamstring injury which will see him sidelined 10 days, after which he’ll be re-evaluated.

Miralem Pjanic group celeb Roma Napoli
GettyImagesMiralem Pjanic is congratulated by his Roma teammates after scoring against Napoli.

Gervinho made it to the second half before coming off for Adem Ljajic and the club similarly updated his medical condition: an issue with the “myotendinous junction of his left quadriceps.” Unlike Totti, no timetable has been given for his recovery, but he will undergo more testing Tuesday.

At the very least, 10 days of inaction for Er Capitano will see him miss next Sunday’s match away at Udinese and Oct. 31 at home against Chievo. Without a full extent of Gervinho’s injury it remains impossible to know how long he will be out, but reports indicate he’ll too miss Udinese.

Both are big losses for Roma; with Totti in scintillating form and Gervinho an early-season revelation, the two have become fulcrums of the side’s attack. Their absence means that Marco Borriello and Adem Ljajic are odds-on starters for the short term future, given Mattia Destro’s return is still up in the air.

For manager Rudi Garcia, it’s another headache that will test his coaching merit. Of course, Roma have dealt with injuries and suspensions already this season. As previously mentioned, Destro has not been available for Roma in months, Michael Bradley became injured very early on and only recently regained full health, Douglas Maicon was out for roughly three weeks with a thigh injury, and Federico Balzaretti was suspended last match.

Nevertheless, these injuries nevertheless come just before another crucial, difficult match. Udinese may lie 11th in the table but that’s almost entirely due to their road form, where they’ve lost all four games this season. At home, the side are a fortress with three wins and a draw. Their last home defeat came against Juventus over a year ago and since 2011, they’ve lost just three times at the Stadio Friuli in Serie A.

Admittedly, Udinese have not yet faced a top 10 side yet at home this season, but Roma will find the tough task of taking points at the Fruili all the more difficult with two of their most influential players sidelined. Borriello did a good job against Napoli but has failed to shine otherwise this season; similarly, Ljajic was a powerful impact substitute early in the year but seems to have faded a bit. Getting the duo to rise to the occasion will be absolutely crucial for Roma come Sunday.

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