The Champions League is back as Roma have made their return to the Competition. The Draw took place Thursday August 24th with 3 Italian Sides getting into this years completion with Roma, Juventus and Napoli all getting into this years Champions League. A.S ROma would be put into pot 3 along with Napoli with Juve being put in pot one. Napoli would get drawn into Group F with Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City and Feyenoored. Juventus would end up in group D with Barcelona, Olympiacos and Sporting. And Finally Roma would end up In group C with Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Qarabağ FK. As this moment the Road to Keiv has officially began as we look to see what this draw means for the Romans.
Last Season In La Liga: 3rd 23-9-6 78Pts GF:70 GA: 27
Last Season in the Champions League: Semi Finals Lost to Real Madrid
Best Finish: Runners up: 1973–74, 2013–14, 2015–16
Atletico Madrid going into this group will be the favorites to win the group and go through to the Knockout stage. In La Liga since their title in the 2013-2014 Season they have really struggled to keep pace with the Monsters that is Real Madrid and Barcelona. Atletico always seems get top three despite struggling to keep up against their fierce rivals. However in the Champions League they are a different type of team and have proven to be quality in this competition. In the last 4 Champions League they have gotten very deep into the Champions League Last season they made the Semi Final the year,before that they were Runners up to Real Madrid in the final,the year before that they made the last 8 before losing to Real Madrid and Prior to that they played in another final but again lost to Real Madrid. Real Madrid has had their number but they have had Barcelona’s as they have knocked them out twice in 4 seasons. This a very tough team to breakdown in this tournament they are a good as anyone despite the fact they have a transfer ban they didn’t need to add a lot as they are allready stacked. Their Superstar Antione Griezmann carries the weight of this Atletico side is considered by many as one of the top 5 players in the world capable goal scorer someone who scores important goals in crucial moments and he is excellent passer as well. The team also features some of the best defenders in La Liga In Filipe Luís and Diego Goldin. As well as proven striker Kevin Gameiro and the seasoned Fernando Torres who can still do it on the big stage as his age. No to mention a very strong midfielder core with the likes of Yannick Carrasco, Koke and their prospect Luciano Vietto and you cant forget about their Big Serb in goal with Jan Oblak between the sticks. Atletico Madrid have the far better team in this group it wont be easy for them with Worthy challengers but they just seem to do so well in the Champions league with the Crazy argentine Diego Simone in charge anything is possible so I think its very likely they will win the group and in all likely hood go well beyond that.
Last Season in the Premier League: 1st 30-3-5 93Pts GF: 85 GA: 33
Last Season in the Champions League: Did Not Qualify
Best Finish: Champions 2011-2012
Without the Champions league last season Chelsea relished the opportunity taking advantage being without on a European schedule. As New Chelsea Manager Antonio Conte after leading Italy to the last 8 of the Euros would keep the momentum going as Chelsea would blitz the season without barely any injures winning the Premier league title quite easily as it seemingly was over in February they just dominated from start to finish as the London side won their 2nd title in a three year span putting together one of the better campaigns in recent memory. However changes were made over the summer as drama hit with Diego Costa as he had a bust up with the club to try to force his alleged move to Atletico as he desires a January move back to Spain. Chelsea this summer brought in Antonio Rudiger from Roma and Tiémoué Bakayoko from Monaco and Morata from Real Madrid three very good signings but they would also losing one of their key players in Nemanja Matić as they sold him to a rival in Manchester United. It is a move Chelsea I think will have to live with I consider it a massive mistake and with a European scdudule on the books this season Chelsea really needed a player like that and it showed in their loss to Burnley I think Chelsea and Roma will be in a massive fight for second. Chelsea during this European Journey will be without Matic and Probably Diego Costa as I don’t see him playing for Chelsea again which despite the fact that he is unliked by everyone he scored 21goals last season with the absence of Matic and Costa they wont finish top of the group not to mention we don’t know how good Conte will be with this team in his second season. However their are positives with this Chelsea team they do still have quality on this team to go on a run in this competition if that get some luck in the draw. This team still has arguably the two of the 5 best players in Premier League with the Reining player of the year N’golo Kante and the 2014 Player of the season Eden Hazard. Kante is a major player for Chelsea because of his dirty work he does in the midfielder and if he is able to control that area he could makes easy work of the attackers he goes up against. Eden Hazard can add that explosive element to the team the midfielder and is world class on his day but lacks consistently sometimes if he can be consistently good in the group stages it will go along way towards advancing. Chelsea also many quality players with the likes of Pedro Cesc Fàbregas I highly rate the both of them. Not to mention their new Striker Morata who has done it in this champions league with Real Madrid and Juventus clinical finisher who scored 20 goals last season he is a massive asset for the blues. Chelsea has a very good defense as well with Cahill, Luiz and Rudiger as well as a tall effective keeper in Thibaut Courtois On paper they are a very good team just slightly better than Roma at the moment but for me this will come down to Antonio Conte one of the most passionate managers in world football I know him very well perhaps better than some Chelsea fans I watched him at Juve during his time their a top manager. The question becomes tactically will his stick to his guns and stay with his 3-4-3 formation or will make adjustments for his first champions league campaign with Chelsea. Roma has the chance to beat out Chelsea for second in the group but I give the slight edge to Chelsea here if Conte can get the best out of his guys they should be able to grab second. However Sorry Chelsea fans despite the ability Chelsea have I don’t see Chelsea being able to make a run past the Round of 16 unless the get some luck I don’t see them creating that magic that won them the champions league several years back but I think we will see them progress. It will be a toss up between them and the Italians but personally am giving the edge to Chelsea.
Last Season In Serie A: 2nd 28-3-7 87Pts GF: 90 GA: 38
Last Year In the Champions League: Playoff Round Europa League Round Of 16
Best Finish: Runners Up 1984
Roma has made their return to the Champions League after failing to get through the playoff Roma last season. Last season in Serie A Roma did the dirty work to get back into Europe’s best competition managing to get second in Serie A last season in a very memorable league campaign earning their champions league qualification in a very dramatic way. The Italians would earn champions league football on the last game of the season in the last minute of their final match of the season on Roma Legend Francesco Totti’s last game. Roma had a record breaking year despite not winning the league the team broke several records and some personal records set by Dzeko as the Bosnian won the golden boot with 29 goals in the league and scored the most goals in a season by a Roma player with 39. Despite being out of the champions league Roma made it to the round of 16 of the Europa league the club could of done much better during that competition but they showed they have quality for a Champions league campaign. One of the main positives from last season was their attack as they scored 123 goals in all competitions last season. Its a very different Roma team then the one we saw last season Roma had to saw goodbye to an iconic footballing legend in Francesco Totti as he switched out the cleats for the Suite as he as joined Roma as a sporting director working under Transfer Wizard Monchi. Also Their manager departed after his expiring contract to join Inter Milan. Roma have also lost Mouhamed Salah, Antonio Rudiger,Woich Szczęsny and Leonardo Paredes in the transfer market. Despite all that Roma still look in decent shape Roma went out and hired former Roma player Sassululo boss Eusebio Di Francesco as their new manager a very good hire in my opinion. However the question is how he is going to manage Roma’s journey in the Champions league this season despite having the quality Roma does but how will EDF manage the league as well as the Champions league its very hard to say Roma even though they lost some key players last season have capable playmakers that can cause havoc on teams in the competition. EDF took a team from the second division in Italy to the Europa league so this isn’t uncharted territory he is considered by many as one of the best managers in Italy hence why he was hired. It will be a dog fight between Chelsea and Roma for second and some may say that’s far fetched since they won the Premier league last season but I believe the potential is there for a really good European campaign this season. How they will do in the champions league boils down to Edin Dzeko and Radja Nainggolan they will be key to Roma’s chances advancing. If Dzeko is able to repeat his form from last year or even remotely close to it anyone that comes up against Roma will be threated Dzeko on his day is one of the best strikers in the world if he can bang them in consistently they could pull an upset how of their hat to advance even maybe win the group. Another key part is Radja Nainggolan who is the arguably best midfielder in the world that may be crazy to say but what he is able to do offensively scoring the ball and his excellent passing along with what he can do defensively with interceptions and tackling is world class he is a leader for the team. If Dzeko and Raja Nainggolan are at their best for every game it will be really hard to see them not go through. The new signings Roma have will also be impactful their defense when Florezni and Karsdorp returns it will be very difficult to score against not to mention they have the best defender in Italy in Kostas Manolas. Roma has also the ability to break teams down with pace with speedsters such as El Shaarawy, Perotti and Cengiz Under and the team is led by De Rossi who is an oustading leader of this team his leadership alone will show how good they can be. Despite all the things I just broke down in Roma’s favor I think the fact the squad lacks experience and is a relatively new team with a lot of new changes on going I think they will likely just miss out. However I believe going to the Europa league they will go in as heavy favorites and have a chance as winning that. I think its really close between Chelsea and Roma but I give Chelsea the edge purely based on experience and probably are slightly better but if Dzeko and Nainggolan are hot for the entire group stage they could advance.
Last Season In the Azerbaijan Premier League: 1st 19-4-5 64Pts GF: 46 GA: 14
Last Year in Champions League: Did not Qualify Europa League Group Stage
Best Finish: First Champions League Appearance in Club history
Qarabağ FK making champions League history for the club and Azerbaijan as they becoming the first club in the country’s history to Participate in the champions league. Qarabağ FK got through there three rounds of qualifying taking down Samtredia,Sheriff Tiraspol and finally taking down Copenhagen in the playoff round by Away goals to make history. As far as their team itself I don’t really know them to well last season they won the Azerbaijan Premier league for the Fourth year on the bounce as they seem to be the Bayern Munich of their league. They have two goal scorers that seem pretty decent in Dino Ndlovu who looked pretty good when I saw him in qualifying and they also have Dani Quintana who also look decent. It doesn’t look they will be doing any damage in this group its important not to underestimate an unproven side but they are just happy to be here. I find it very unlikely that they will even get a point from this group but I want to commend them and congratulate them on even getting here that by itself is a remarkable triumph they have made history for Azerbaijan they are legends for just getting them here id like to see a small team like that do well but its just not going to happen.