Chelsea face a tough trip to Rome on Tuesday night in the Champions League. After playing out a draw at home to the Serie A side from the Italian capital, the Blues head for Italy, as Antonio Conte returns to his home country. Will he make as big an impression there as he did in the Spanish capital earlier in this group? With Roma seriously pushing for a top two finish, this group is heading down to the wire, and that should have both sides nervy ahead of this huge clash. With the Blues not in the greatest form in the league, they can’t afford a slip up in Europe.
It’s easy to bemoan the position Chelsea are in following that 3-3 draw with Roma. They were 2-0 up and cruising, set to go seven points clear of Atletico Madrid, and five ahead of Roma. Chelsea now lead the Italians by two points, and the worst case scenario here is a loss to the hosts coupled with Atletico Madrid seeing off minnows Qarabag. That would leave Antonio Conte’s team in a tricky position heading into the final two games, and that would leave this group open for any of those three European heavyweights. There’s so much riding on this one, so the Blues need another big display.
Team News: Conte out to Avoid any Defensive Scares
The return of Danny Drinkwater is a boost for Chelsea, after he started the EFL Cup win over Everton. With N’Golo Kante back in the frame, Conte has midfield options once again. That boosts his potential use of the 3-5-2 formation, as seen against Tottenham, Man City and Atletico Madrid this term. We’re likely to see that team once again, as the manager looks for a more solid set-up to the one which conceded three at home to Roma in the last meeting. That’s a smart move to make with so much on the line in this game, and we expect to see the former Leicester central midfield line-up working together for the Blues in the near future. However, this game might come a little too soon for that.
Roma’s big injury concern here is midfielder Rick Karsdorp, who misses out after injuring his knee. Having just moved to the club in the summer, the defender hasn’t really had the chance to shine for his new employers. Despite that, he would have been a solid figure for Roma to call upon, and now they have more defensive concerns to worry about ahead of this crucial tie. Expect a similar side to the one which held off Atletico Madrid in their group opener, which set the Italians up for a solid campaign in this competition.
Roma have seemingly been preparing for this game with some tight matches, having given up attacking sides who tend to defend poorly. They beat Torino and Crotone by an aggregate score of 2-0, with those two sides conceding their fair share of goals over recent months. However, Roma were solid in both, grinding out much needed victories. Will that be the case once again on Tuesday night?
Roma have been solid in Serie A this season, while their Champions League form has been an odd mix. They started off with a 0-0 at home to Atletico, a genuinely tight game with really high stakes. They followed that up by looking poor at the back against Qarabag away, before that clash with Chelsea. Eusebio Di Francesco will be hoping for a better performance when his side return home in Europe.
Roma v Chelsea Head to Head
Roma have now scored three in both of their last two meetings with Chelsea, although those matches were separated by nine years, and many, many Chelsea mangers. It remains to be seen just how much of an impact their 3-3 draw will have on this game, but the two managers probably have to just start fresh and try and be more solid here.
- Chelsea 3-3 Roma, Oct 2017
- Roma 3-1 Chelsea, Nov 2008
- Chelsea 1-0 Roma, Oct 2008
- Under 2.5 Goals – 5/4 with BetVictor
- 0-0 Draw – 13/1 with Betfair
Despite throwing away two points in the first meeting, Chelsea come into this trip as marginal favourites. They’ve been priced up at 13/8 with Bet365 to claim the win. Roma are 17/11 with Ladbrokes. With the draw sitting at 12/5 with Betfred, it’s clear that the bookmakers are a tad confused by this one. Just how the two sides approach it will clearly have an impact on matters, but will we see another high scoring tie? The two sides will both be pushing for a place in the knockout round, but could that have an adverse effect on the match overall?
Roma did have a cagey opener with Atletico, and we can see them reverting to that form in this game. While the last meeting was a six goal thriller, you have to wonder how Roma would have approached it if they were level at half-time. They didn’t do anything to deserve to be 2-0 down in that clash, and they only really opened up because they had to. They were welcomed in with open arms by the Blues’ backline, with a shambolic defensive display that can’t happen again.
You have to ask if the game gets on a bit, will there be another 0-0 on the cards for Roma? They’ve been playing with more restrictions in the league of late, and we expect Conte to instruct his men to keep things tight against them. We’re backing under 2.5 goals in this game, which looks like solid value at 5/4 with BetVictor. We’re also liking the look of a 0-0 draw between the two sides, which can be backed at 13/1 with Betfair. With so much on the line, a really low scoring tie seems likely in our book.