Chelsea will be looking to make it ten points from four games and a place in the last 16 as they face AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico in tonight’s Champions League game. Roma meanwhile, who lost by a narrow 1-0 to us at Stamford Bridge a couple of weeks ago, will be fighting to stay in this season’s competition.
The Italians pretty much defended against us for 90 minutes in our last meeting, only conceding a John Terry header 13 minutes from time. However, they have lost their last five games and won’t be wanting to make it six in succession.
Roma coach Luciano Spalletti says “In every type of work or occupation a person may find themselves in difficult situations. Despite all the odds a person wants to do well. It happens abroad as well. As I said before, our problems are particular and more difficult to deal with. In Turin we were doing well until the goal we conceded. Then in the second half we had difficulties. I believe that the match against Chelsea is the most important one of all, other than in the league. We need to get a good result.”
Luiz Felipe Scolari meanwhile, when questioned about Chelsea’s chances in the competition stated “It’s a long way to go to May and first we need to win (tonight), or get a minimum of one point. We need to qualify for the second round and then win every other round to reach the final. We’re not here to show the people something with May in mind. We have to beat Roma. We’re not here to prepare for May, if we have a chance to, for sure we’ll try to come back to this stadium.”
On the injury front, Scolari, who had said about Francesco Totti’s recent knee problem “When a coach loses a player like Totti, it’s good for the opposing team”, won’t be pleased to hear the Roma captain is likely to be fit. However, midfielder Alberto Aquilani is said to be struggling with a thigh injury.
For Chelsea, Ricardo Carvalho (hamstring), Michael Ballack (foot) and Michael Essien (knee) remain out and they’re joined by Ashley Cole (calf) after his injury at the weekend. Didier Drogba is still not considered to be fit for more than half an hour so Nicolas Anelka will start.
FRANCESCO TOTTI v JOHN TERRY
Roma captain Francesco Totti is the club’s record goalscorer and also has the record of most appearances for the club. He has to be Roma’s most dangerous player in attack and his power and skill could prove a handful for the Chelsea captain.
Chelsea captain John Terry won’t be Roma’s favourite player having scored the winning goal against them in our last meeting. Certainly that will have woken them up to his threat in the air, but I’m sure they’ll be expecting a difficult time getting past him as well, particularly since we’ve yet to concede in the Champions League.
DANIELE DE ROSSI v FRANK LAMPARD
Roma’s combative midfielder, Daniele de Rossi, has the task of protecting their back line. Lampard will need to be aware de Rossi is no tickler when it comes to tackling, he knows how to pass a ball, and our defence should me mindful of his eye for goal.
Chelsea’s Frank Lampard meanwhile, has hit some great form and should that continue tonight, he’ll be a handful in and around the box. His creative play, particularly when linking up with Deco, will almost certainly draw the odd free-kick from de Rossi.
PHILIPPE MEXES v NICOLAS ANELKA
Another of Roma’s idols and an integral first team player, Mexes is one of the backbones of the side. He’s considered to have great physical ability and his height has seen him claim the odd goal or two in his career as well, with 7 in 4 years at Roma to his credit. On the plus side for Chelsea though, he is rumoured to have the odd lapse in concentration.
In the continued absence of Didier Drogba, Chelsea’s Nicolas Anelka has become Scolari’s first choice striker. The Chelsea manager seems to be getting the best out of the Frenchman, who has managed nine goals in Drogba’s absence so far. Anelka scored a hattrick in his last game and if that’s given his confidence the boost it needs, his pace, power and eye for goal could cause Mexes all sorts of problems.
(from): Cech, Cudicini, Hilario, Terry, Alex, Bridge, Bosingwa, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Mikel, Belletti, Lampard, Deco, J Cole, Malouda, Kalou, Anelka, Drogba, Sinclair, Stoch