Roma return home on Tuesday nights as they prepare for a crucial Champions League match against Real Madrid. The Italians are coming off a disappointing 1-0 loss to Udinese on the road a match in which Roma dominated but failed in the front of goal as it cost them the three points. Fortunately Real Madrid have been equally inconsistent this season with another loss to Eibar. These are without question the most inconsistent teams in Europe. It has been proven that the domination of Real Madrid over the last five years was more about Cristiano Ronaldo then anything else. Meanwhile Roma have been consistently inconsistent this campaign and need a resurgence of energy and consistency. According to reports Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco could be on the hot seat once again as his fate could come down to the results against Real Madrid and Inter Milan. It’s not just Roma Real Madrid have had their fair share of problems with their manager recently fired a few weeks back after an embarrassing performance at Barcelona. Domestically both Roma and Real Madrid have been disappointing. Roma has been slightly better given the fact that they have beaten some good teams while mostly Real Madrid has beat the bottom part of La Liga. Despite all that in the Champions League Real Madrid and Roma top the group with nine points each. A point is all that is necessary for Roma to qualify for the round of 16. The winner of this match in all likelihood will win the group. At the Stadio Olimpico Roma have the opportunity to win the group for the second consecutive year this Real Madrid team isn’t one to be feared and they had both have opportunities to take advantage of what lies in front of them. Will Roma take care of business in the capital or will Real Madrid find a way pass the Italians all that and more will unravel on Champions League match day 5 on Tuesday Night.
Roma had an injury crisis over the weekend with several key players missing action this however Roma have got some good news prior to the big duel with Real Madrid. Kostas Manolas has passed the fitness test and has been listed in DiFrancesco squad for Tuesday night’s game. He was recovering from an injury it was understood that he would be out for the game but Roma get the Greek defender back which could greatly help them defensively. In addition to that Robin Olsen is expected to be back after missing out last week due to a muscular problem this is especially important given how well Robin Olsen had performed against Real Madrid in the first leg and his obvious importance to the team as he has developed into one of the best goalkeepers in Italian football. Having him back is a breath of fresh air because without him Winning this game could be very difficult. However unfortunately Roma star in the Midfield Lorenzo Pellegrini is out with an injury he picked up over the weekend and Roma Captain Daniele de Rossi also is not ready to come back. All this means is Roma will still be slightly short-handed and there will be major shake-up in the starting 11. There could be some slight change in the defense but is unclear at this point what backline DiFrancesco will go with. I think it’s likely that Alessandro Florenzi and Kostas Manolas will start the match with Alex Kolarov and Federico Fazio alongside them. With Daniele de Rossi still out the defensive Midfield should stay the same with Steven nzonzi alongside Bryan Cristante who has emerged as a key player for Roma over the last few weeks. In Roma’s attacking midfielder there will be one key change in particular. With Lorenzo Pellegrini out Roma’s best option is for Roma teenager Nicolo Zaniolo to occupy the central Midfield. He made his professional debut against Real Madrid in the Champions League during the first meeting between the two teams he has since played in seven more games and is ready for another start. Beside him Cengiz Under and Justin kluivert should occupy the wings. We need to see if they can play togather they have to use the youth to their advantage the talent they have can be put on full display. El Shaarawy is Roma’s best player this season but I think he should come off the bench he could be crucial late. Justin Kluivert provides something different to this team I think it’s quite dangerous to take him out of the lineup after an unbelievable performance in his last Champions League match. The key player for Roma in this match will be Edin Dzeko in the Champions League he has been Sensational and he currently leads the competition in goals. He has failed to get that consistency that we have seen from him over the last few seasons and he needs a big performance to get that momentum and confidence that he is lacked especially in the league. Roma can use their speed with this type of lineup they will be deadly on the counter-attack and with Edin Dzeko upfront they have a big physical player who can be explosive and Incredibly dangerous with service. Roma has to play fast and quick to catch them in their sleep a line up like this provides exactly what’s necessary to beat Real Madrid.
Real Madrid Are the Champions League holders having won three consecutive titles as well as 13 in total. They are one of the most historical clubs in this competition and typically there will be a little fear put into you. However this Real Madrid team has all sorts of problems their inconsistency has just been atrocious defensively has been awful the goalkeeping has been awful. They are just not a very good team right now in La Liga they’ve already lost the title race there is a chance and they might not get back into the champions league as crazy as it might sound may happen. Los Blancos have lost six games in all competitions this season and we’re not even in January they have also conceded a goal in 11 consecutive away matches. Individually they have super star players like Luka Modric Toni Kroos Marcelo Sergio Ramos and others but collectively together they have been poor. Their offensive outlet will largely depend on Gareth Bale mostly because they don’t have much else. Without Cristiano Ronaldo this just isn’t the same team it’s even hard to identify a big star Gareth Bale is the only player to be worried about. His frightening speed and pace can be a nightmare to stop he is without a doubt the key player for Real Madrid. This is not to say that Roma has been amazing but this Real Madrid team just isn’t good enough to go on a deep run and away from home they’ve just not been good. Real Madrid did beat Roma 3-0 at the beginning of the season but that result is almost irrelevant now given how the team is played. Roma have struggled as well in their own right losing to some really bad teams. However the fact that this match is at the Stadio Olimpico is bad news for Real Madrid they’re going to try to pick their strongest lineup possible and maybe they can have a chance if Gareth Bale has one of his days but based on what I have seen from Real Madrid over the last few weeks it is quite clear it is not a Champions league-winning side even though if some of the components are still there. However the combination Isco and Gareth Bale could be a big problem if they have room and space to operate that is what Real Madrid are going to have to hang their hat on there’s world quality in the team but if they don’t play well together as a unit away from home it’s going to be difficult.
The Bottom Line
Real Madrid and Roma are two of the most inconsistent teams in Europe with a very similar records this season. Although they have lost games at the Stadio Olimpico Roma are a different type of team during the Champions League. This may not have been a very difficult group but given how the season has played they want to deliver knockout stage qualification in front of their home fans because the Romans don’t have very much to hang your hat on right now. Surprisingly this season Roma has struggled against the bottom teams but have performed well against some of the better teams in the league. Wins against Lazio Sampdoria getting key points against Florentina and Napoli. Roma have all the ability to get a results against Real Madrid especially in their own backyard. This is not to say Real Madrid doesn’t have a chance because they certainly do with some of the stars that they have their entire team is worth over a billion dollars in Revenue. They have players who can have moments that can define a Champions League match. However if Roma’s defense can limit the chances that Real Madrid have Roma could pull off a huge win here. I recognize the greatness of Real Madrid and all they can do if they are on form but the blistering Pace that Roma can offer with Justin kluivert and Cengiz Under could prove an absolute nightmare not to mention a fast Stephen El Shaarawy off the bench. Roma will still be short-handed without a true leader in the Midfield outside of Steven nzonzi and that’s going to be a problem for Roma but if they can neutralize some of Real Madrid Stars and finish their chances which is a big if they could pull off the upset. With the way Bryan Cristante has played in the Midfield he can try to recalibrate what Lorenzo Pellegrini’s consistently brings to this team that is a big loss for Roma but if they can compensate for that they will get their opportunity. Justin kluivert has the opportunity and ability to terrorize any defense with his speed and how fast he can go on the break on the counter attack against a defense and a goalkeeper who’s underperformed this season Roma can take full advantage. Which is why it lies in the hands of Steven nzonzi and Bryan Cristante to ignite that if they go forward it could be trouble. With that being said defensively Roma have to allow them to keep themselves in the game Robin Olsen will do his part in goal but Roma needs to make sure they don’t make it easy with defensive mistakes. Roma can win this game and I believe they probably will. However this is Champions League football against Real Madrid nothing will come easy.
Roma’s Projected starting XI 4-2-3-1
GK: Robin Olsen
DEF: Luca Pellegrini, Federico Fazio, Juan Jesus, Alexandro Florenzi
DEF MID: Bryan Cristante, Steven Nzonzi
ATT MID: Cengiz Under, Nicolo Zaniolo, Justin Kluivert
Striker: Edin Dzeko
Manager: Eusebio Di Francesco
Real Madrid’s Projected starting 11 4-3-3
MID: Kroos,Casemiro, Modric
Front Three: Asensio, Benzema,Bale
Manager: Santiago Solari
Roma’s Edin Dzeko
Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale
Date: Sunday November 27th, 2018
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kickoff: 2:00AM (USA) 8:00PM (ENG), 9:00PM (ITA)
TV Broadcast: Sky Itaila, FOX