Chelsea take on the Giallorossi at Stamford Bridge tonight in their Champions League Group A clash.
Domestically, things couldn’t be more different between the two sides, with Roma 14th in Serie A and Chelsea top of the Premier League. Roma have struggled so far with two wins and four defeats from their seven games whilst Chelsea have won six and drawn two. By contrast, Roma won their last Champions League game, beating Bordeaux 3-1 away from home whilst Chelsea played out a draw against CFR Cluj. Still, it’s fair to say morale is decidedly higher in the Chelsea camp right now, although Luciano Spalletti wants his players to remain calm, stating “I want to continue seeing a relaxed approach in the locker room. If the lads are able to understand their potential and react with calm, then they will react strongly to recent events. Chelsea are one of the world’s most important clubs and have one of the best tacticians in the world.”
In the opening Champions League games, Roma lost 2-1 to CFR Cluj whilst Chelsea had a comfortable 4-0 win over Bordeaux, so a win at home tonight would put us pretty close to qualifying and Scolari says “We need to win tomorrow to qualify. If we win, we’ll have 50% or 70% of the qualification achieved. After we play Roma again, then Bordeaux. The last game will be at home (against Cluj). The most important game for us is tomorrow as, afterwards, if we draw or win one more game, we are in the second stage.”
On the injury front, Michael Ballack, Michael Essien and Ricardo Carvalho are all still out and Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba are also unlikely to be ready for a return for this one. However, Petr Cech and Joe Cole could play a part and Deco, who made his first appearance since September against Middlesbrough at the weekend, could be in the starting eleven.
For Roma meanwhile, Francesco Totti and David Pizarro are both back from injury whilst Christian Panucci and Philippe Mexes return from suspensions for this game.
ROMA (from): Aquilani, Artur, Julio Sergio, Brighi, Cicinho, De Rossi, Filipe, Juan, Loria, Doni, Menez, Mexes, Montella, Okaka, Panucci, Perrotta, Pizarro, Riise, Taddei, Tonetto, Totti, Vucinic.
CHELSEA (from): Cech, Cudicini, Hilario, Ferreira, Bridge, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Alex, Mancienne, Belletti, Mikel, Lampard, Sinclair, Malouda, J Cole, Stoch, Deco, Anelka, Kalou