Coming off a controversial 1-1 draw at Florentina Roma return to the one competition in which they have consistency as Champions League football returns. They keep their road trip going as Roma travel to Russia for another battle with cska Moscow. Last time out cska Moscow came to Rome and got slapped up in a Roma’s 3-0 win. A win for Roma in this match can almost mathematically ensure qualification for the round of 16. Roma has struggled in the league but in the Champions League they have thrived and are capable of a another Deep Run. Meanwhile for cska Moscow getting a result is the only thing that can keep them afloat in the competition they want to avoid another trip to the Europa League if they possibly can it is a tall task for Moscow but home-field Advantage could help their situation. A crucial Champions League match for both teams for Roma it’s about trying to find that consistency and for cska Moscow it’s their determination to stay in the competition. We will see this tense but exciting battle on Wednesday night in Moscow in what should be another brilliant match of Champions League football.
Roma are coming off a decent draw at Florentina but improvements must be made on this stage. The draw over the weekend was largely impacted by a penalty that should not have been given. However it wasn’t a fantastic performance and they struggled in several areas with that being said Roma have not struggled in the Champions League they have found life quite easy it’s never easy in the Champions League but they are making it look easy. In another battle with cska Moscow I see Roma making a few changes ahead of this much important match but nothing to drastic Roma should keep the majority of their core together. We should see Roma’s fully functioning backline together again with Kolarov Manolas Fazio and Florenzi. it should give Robin Olson a sense of security in front of the goal however the Swedish goalkeeper can handle business. Unfortunately Roma Captain Daniele de Rossi will remain out with his injury as Florenzi will take the armbands once again. This changes the approach slightly in Roma’s defensive Midfield. Bryan Cristante in all likelihood will be paired with Steven nzonzi filling in for the Roma captain. The pair have worked together on a few occasions and have done well in this competition. Cristante really is the only option for that spot unless they go with the young kid Nicolo Zaniolo. With Javier Pastore not being a 100% yet you don’t want to risk him in this sort of situation. I think Roma should make a minor adjustment in their attacking Midfield. As always Roma should have Lorenzo Pellegrini in the central attacking position with Cengiz Under on the wing. With the Justin kluivert back I think you have to give the kid another shot in a Primetime matchup. El Shaarawy will be a valuable sub to use in crucial moments in this match but I think you have to give the teenager shot at another start in the Champions League his last one went quite well so he should be given an opportunity to prove himself. Upfront I think is the most important vocal part of this team Edin Dzeko he is without a doubt the key player for Roma. He has five goals in his last two Champions League games and is currently the top scorer in the competition he is a different player in the Champions League then he is domestically. At least it appears that way this season. Cska Moscow will have a hard time controlling him just like they did in their last matchup. His physical size stature is imposing to any defense especially one that could be exposed at the back given the style in which the Russian Club plays. Roma will need Edin Dzeko to perform at his best they want to qualify for the round of 16 sooner rather than later. With this team having a strong holding Midfield and a aggressive Speedy attack that can give Edin Dzeko service and when he gets service more times than not he scores goals. Clinical finishing was a problem last week but this Roma team has had a few days to recover and adjust the Romans should have enough in their team to get the three points but you cannot underestimate anyone in this competition but Roma is the far superior side and should have success with this sort of lineup.
Cska Moscow knows that they are The Underdogs and they will have a huge disadvantage. That is not even mentioning the fact that they will have a big job at trying to slow down this potent offense that Roma has. Despite Roma struggles this season the Russian side knows what they are capable of. Cska Moscow I think is a very unique team they are massive risk-takers. The mentality of this team is to attacks or opposition regardless of who they are playing. In the first match that’s exactly what they did and they had a little bit of success in the opening 20 minutes. This team will be overmatched massively but this is the same team that beat Real Madrid it wasn’t a great Real Madrid team but nonetheless still impressive. Moscow will go after Roma as frequently as they can’t they want to get a psychological advantage early in this match and are hoping to get an advantage early if possible. The big Advantage they have is this game is in Russia although they had a successful World Cup it’s not an easy place to play as the away team. They must use their home field advantage as much as they possibly can they are already at a disadvantage giving the difference in quality which is why advantages they have are slim so they must use them as much as possible. The big problem with their style is even though they catch you on the counter-attack and make you pay it at times it can leave them exposed at the back and Roma have the players to make them pay for it. Cska Moscow need a super performance from Fedor Chalov we saw some nice things from him early in the first match against Roma but he could not put it forward for an entire 90 minutes that’s the problem he needs to maintain high-quality play for the majority of the game for them to have a chance given all the disadvantages they have. It’s going to be heavily relied on his shoulders it’s a lot of pressure but if he can play to it it’s the only way they have a chance.
The bottom line is if you look at these two teams individually you can make the argument that it should not even be close. However do not sleep on some of the players that Moscow have but even in doing so it is going to be extremely difficult for the Russians to get a result. They did beat Real Madrid and that’s a big results it’s not a great Real Madrid team but they still managed to beat a very tough opponents. Roma will supply equally difficult circumstances to the Russians. I strongly believe you can’t underestimate any team in the Champions League but on paper Roma has everything necessary to break them down. Moscow is not a team that sits back and defends they are a team that get after it and attack this is a style I have so much respect for. Moscow does not park the bus they attack you. Because of that it is going to make it difficult for them to win the game because that sort of mentality and that sort of aggressive play that can leave them exposed in defensive positions. That is something you do not want to give to Edin Dzeko & Roma. In the champions league Edin Dzeko has been the best player so far through three games. He has scored a multiple goals in two consecutive games you do not want to make things any easier then they already are for the Bosnian. That’s not to mention the speed this Roma attack has with a very creative and intelligent Lorenzo Pellegrini with the experience of Steven nzonzi who does not make mistakes. Moscow’s attack can be handled by the Roma defense but they can make them uncomfortable Moscow must do that as frequently as possible because the second the momentum shifts Roma have all the tools and weapons to kill it off. The job that is in front of the Russians is too much to handle for a team that doesn’t have the quality players to stop the Romans in their tracks. The home-field is something Moscow can use and have to make the game atmosphere as uncomfortable as possible for Roma. Even maybe worse than what this team use to in Italy but the weapons that Roma have is just far too much even a hostile environment could stop. Moscow has a chance because of the way they play and they have the hostile crowd on their side if they catch Roma sleeping early then maybe they could potentially pull off an upset. However Champions League Roma is such a dangerous team they are just ruthless. Domestic Roma has its problems but Roma in Europe this season have been sensational all the ways Roma can attack and make them pay they have far superior quality from top to bottom the challenge in the squad is just too much for Moscow to handle they will bury them if they give them the opportunity. It could be a lot closer than the last time these two teams went head-to-head however even if they’re at their very best it’s just won’t be enough to stop the Romans.
Roma’s Projected starting XI 4-2-3-1
GK: Robin Olsen
DEF: Alex Kolarov, Federico Fazio, Kostas Manolas, Alexandro Florenzi
DEF MID: Bryan Cristante, Steven Nzonzi
Front Three: Cengiz Under, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Justin Kluivert
Striker: Edin Dzeko
Manager: Eusebio Di Francesco
Cska Moscow ’s Projected starting XI 4-2-3-1
DEF: Nascimiento,Franca, Chernov, Ferandes
DEF MID: Bijol, Akhmetov
Front Three: Oblyakov, Dzagoev, Vlasic
Roma’s Edin Dzeko
Cska Moscow’s Fedor Chalov
Date: Wednesday November 7th, 2018
Venue: VEB Arena, Moscow
Kickoff: 11:55AM (USA) 6:55PM (ENG), 7:55PM (ITA)
TV Broadcast: Sky Itaila, Fox Sports