Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Prediction: AS Roma vs Chelsea

Verdict: Over 2.5 goals and both teams to score

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Bet365

On matchday four of this seasons Champions League group stage, it is first vs second in Group C. Both Chelsea and Roma enter Tuesday night’s contest unbeaten in their group and neither side have lost in their previous four games in all competitions.

AS Roma

For Eusebio Di Francesco’s Roma side, the yellow-reds will be entering Tuesday night’s matchup in relatively high spirits, Roma currently sit second in Group C only two points behind their opponents tomorrow night. As for their most recent form in the Champions League, Roma will be boosted by their last outing in the competition, despite being two goals behind at Stamford Bridge earlier this month, the Italian side battled back and could have come away with all three points if it wasn’t for a late Eden Hazard equaliser to see the game finish 3-3.

Although their recent form might not be as entertaining, Roma have only lost twice since August in all competitions and the three-time Serie A champions have not conceded a single goal in their last three matches. To go along with Roma’s solid defensive work this year, they have also managed to find the back of the net in 11 of their previous 13 appearances, former Manchester City centre-forward Eden Dzeko has already scored ten goals this season, with two of them coming against Chelsea last time out.

Team News

It looks like Roma will be going into battle with several key players expected to be sidelined. Key defender Kostas Manolas is expected to miss tomorrow nights match, although the Greek international is training again after recovering from a quadricep injury, Manolas is not expected to be fit enough for Chelsea’s arrival. Along with Manolas, Roma will also be missing defenders Rick Karsdorp and Nura Abdullahi who are also sidelined with injuries.

However, although Kevin Strootman and Stephan El Shaarawy have been among their injury concerns both men are expected to be included in Roma’s squad.

Chelsea

It’s very simple for the defending Premier League champions, if Chelsea are able to leave the Stadio Olimpico with three points and Atletico Madrid fail to beat Qarabag, the Blues can qualify for the knockout stage this week. Although domestically Chelsea might be sat nine points adrift of Manchester City in the Premier League, Antonio Conte’s team have been in impressive form since their 3-3 draw a fortnight ago, and have won three games on the bounce.

The main problem for Chelsea this season has come in their own final third, despite having the best defence in England last year, Conte’s side have only managed to keep five clean sheets in their last 15 competitive matches. Thankfully for Chelsea, they have been ruthless in front of goal this year, in them 15 games, Chelsea have managed to find the back of the net 52 times already this season, Antonio Conte will be reliant on Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata to spearhead Chelsea’s attack, the duo have 10 goals between them so far.

Team News

Chelsea fans will be happy to hear that PFA Player of the Year N’Golo Kante is back fit and has spent the past week once again training with his Chelsea teammates. It is still unsure if the French international will start the game, Conte also has the choice of starting a now fully fit Danny Drinkwater who could play alongside Tiemoue Bakayoko in the middle of Chelsea’s midfield.

The Blues will, however, be without Victor Moses who still remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, former Torino full-back Davide Zappacosta will start at right wing back.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea have lost their last three matches when playing in Italy
  • These clubs have met five times previously in European competition, Chelsea winning twice and Roma once with two draws
  • Roma have scored in 85% of their matches this season
  • Six of Chelsea’s previous 15 games have had at least four goals scored
  • Edin Dzeko has scored 10 goals in 13 games this season

Conclusion

Much like their 3-3 draw earlier this month, we suspect that there should be drama at both ends on Tuesday night. Given the fact that Roma have scored in 11 of their last 13 games, coupled with Chelsea’s clear defensive problems this year, Roma and Bosnian international Edin Dzeko will be feeling confident about adding to their tally.

Although Roma may have not conceded a single goal in their last three matches, it does almost seems inevitable that Chelsea will manage to break down Roma’s resilience, especially with key defender Kostas Manolas missing out, both teams to score and over 2.5 goals seems like the most logical bet.

Verdict: Over 2.5 goals and both teams to score

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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