Roma are coming off a psychological disaster against Cagliari in which they Led they match 2-0 with 10 minutes to go. As we know Cagliari came back with 9 men with about 10 minutes left and managed to escape with a 2-2 draw. A hugely embarrassing and disgraceful performance in the game’s final moments to be unable to hold on to the three points they deserved during the first half. Roma need to forget all about that for the time being it should go in the back of their mind as they prepare for the final match of the Champions League group. Even though Roma have already qualified for the round of 16 this game is more about gaining confidence and momentum going forward for the rest of the season as the consistency has been a serious issue during this campaign. They will travel to the Czech Republic to take on Plzen in what is a hugely important match for them. Even though they know they are not qualifying they are tied with cska Moscow out with four points with a possibility to keep their Ambitions in Europe alive as they would go into the Europa League round of 32 if they finish in third. As of the Champions League group stage is at its very end these are the games which are so important for momentum. After their collapse last week Roma must respond with an infatic victory in a tough environment. Will Roma respond to the disaster and pick up a convincing victory or will Plzen find a way to get past Roma to only add to their misery.
Roma’s team selections wasn’t the problem in their disaster on Sunday. DiFrancesco may make Minor Adjustments to the team but it didn’t come down to the quality it came down at to the mental collapse psychologically. With Eusebio di Francesco on the hot seat has Antonio Conte rumors have resurfaced after an alleged phone call made to the former Chelsea manager by Francesco Totti. Despite that I don’t think DiFrancesco to do anything forceful he should play the tactics and the type of football he regularly plays. This game may have little value in the general sense having Roma Champions League Place qualified already. However Roma need confidence and momentum going forward a great performance here could be a boost. That’s why he DiFrancesco is probably likely to put his strongest side out there. Injuries are not an excuse but it has remained it to be an issue with El Shaarawy Edin Dzeko & Lorenzo Pellegrini as well as Captain Daniele de Rossi remaining to be out with injuries. I wouldn’t be surprised is DiFrancesco makes a few adjustments but for the most part I think the team will stay at more or less the same. For the rest of the season Roma need to play their strongest team possible they need it for momentum and confidence there’s no point in trying to save themselves for certain games. I see either Juan Jesus or Davie Santon getting a stars in Roma’s back line. Outside of that the team should stay pretty much the same. Steven Nzonzi and Rising Star Bryan Cristante will take the holding Midfield position. Meanwhile Roma’s attacking Midfield should be identical to the one we have seen the last two games. With Nicolo Zaniolo continuing to show his incredible talent as he is come in and performed while Lorenzo Pellegrini is dealing with an injury. On the wings we should see young athletic Duo Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert. Again that they will be crucial in counter attacking situations. Roma Striker position should still be occupied by Patrik Schick as Edin Dzeko also remains out with an injury. Without question Roma just needs to consistently put in better performances and starts to gain some momentum and some consistency. The key player for Roma for me is Bryan Cristante he continues and continues to show his growth this season has progressed. He has been Roma’s best player in the month of December without question scoring a wonderful goal last time out. Even though this game that means nothing he will be crucial and getting Roma to a victory in a hostile environment.
Plzen got absolutely smashed up by Roma and at their last meeting earlier in the group stages. Since eliminated from the competition but they do have something to play for. Plzen is a team with a very limited European experience and they still desire their European journey to continue and that is still possible as they stand in fourth with four points equal on points with cska Moscow who plays Real Madrid. They’re going to do everything they can to secure a spot in the Europa League round of 32. Even though top-to-bottom Roma have a much better side with talented and skilled players throughout it is something that Plzen does lack. However they do have an advantage in one aspect. Their home field advantage it’s not only a positive saying that they are going to be at home but it also is the status of their Stadium. It is one of the less impressive stadiums in the Champions League in fact seems that are accustomed to playing under good circumstances and the Stadio Olimpico are not used to what they will play on in the Czech Republic. It is up to UFFA standards but it is not a very well kept Stadium. While the advantages Roma will quite clearly have on the field they are not accustomed to playing at the stadium of this low grade and Plzen must use that to their advantage they play on the stadium all the time so too then it’s nothing they haven’t dealt with the for which is why it is a huge advantage. Also can be difficult because of the erratic fans it can be really difficult something they will try to use to their advantage. The key player for me is Matúš Kozáčik he had a horror show any first meeting. He needs to protect his net much better and if he has a really good game they could limit Roma’s ability to score. As much as Roma is inconsistent it will be tough for them to stop he is their best chance.
Quite simply this boils down to who wants it more. Plzen will probably qualify anyway because I do not see a scenario in which cska Moscow beats Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu despite beating them before it just does not seem plausible to me. Their situation is fairly set unless something catastrophic happens Plzen will be in in the Europa league round of 32. Roma I feel like it’s more important then the media is telling you. I’m fully aware that Roma could lose and still qualify they’ve already secured their place in the Champions League knockout rounds. That’s not why this is important Roma are having one of their worst starts with seasons in years. Really inconsistent play where’s an essentially brand new team has plagued them this season the idea was to plan for the future but the way they have played this season has been unacceptable by their standards. Because of their wildly inconsistent play and they’re huge collapse last weekend this game has become severely important for the Romans. Not only for the club but for the job status of Eusebio di Francesco. Roma need an inspiring yet dominant performance against the Czech Republic side who would they hung five goals on in the first meeting at the Stadio Olimpico. Roma are going to be without Edin Dzeko Lorenzo Pellegrini Stephan El Shaarawy and among others. Roma isn’t playing at for results they’re playing for pride they need momentum and confidence if they want to start showcasing the team that we saw last season. In the Champions League it’s never been a problem but in the League Roma are suffering and they need a convincing performance to get them back in it to winning form. Getting back into the champions league is essentially required and even though it appears to be far away Roman need to start to pick up the pace. With the match against Juventus right around the corner this is the time for Roma to start playing the best football of the Season it is going to be difficult missing three of their most important players but their performance means everything it is truly essential to put them in the right direction. Roma need to recreate the dominance they had in the first half last week. Nicolo Zaniolo and Brian Cristante will be really crucial these are the two players that I think are in for a huge game in which they can inflict serious damage on the Czech Republic champions. Plzen will attack slightly but they’ll be conservative not letting Roma roll them over like they did before. Like I say every week the most effective way Roma can break down the opposition is getting on the counter-attack as much as possible with speed and athleticism that Roma have in their Midfield and on the wing they will break the defense down early and often if they can get running forward. The high pressing attack is the way to get this season back on the track they need to come out aggressive and swinging from start to finish. I believe we will see a dominating Roma performance but I do not underestimate the opposition at the very least Roma have to treat this game like a Champions League final. A dominating performance from the Romans in a hostile territory could completely change the fortunes of the season.
Roma’s Projected starting XI 4-2-3-1
GK: Robin Olsen
DEF: Alex Kolarov, Davie Santon, Kostas Manolas, Alessandro Florenzi
DEF MID: Bryan Cristante, Steven Nzonzi
ATT MID: Cengiz Under, Nicolo Zaniolo, Justin Kluivert
Striker: Patrik Schick
Manager: Eusebio Di Francesco
Plzen’s Projected starting XI 3-5-2
DEF MID: Hrosovsky,Prochzka
ATT MID: Kovarik,Horava,Kopic
Manager: Pavel Vrba
Players To Keep You Eyes On
Date: Wednesday December 13th, 2018
Venue: Doosan Arena, Plzen
Kickoff: 1155AM (USA) 5:55PM (ENG),6:55PM (ITA)
TV Broadcast: Sky Italia, FOX