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AS Roma vs Chelsea: Match Preview


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AS Roma vs Chelsea: Match Preview

The Match
Chelsea will look to get back to winning ways and end their pre-season on a high in their final game against AS Roma at 8pm this Saturday, 10th August, in Washington DC (Sunday - 11th August - 1am UK time). Having won their first five pre-season games, the Blues were brought down back to earth against Real Madrid on Wednesday as they suffered a 3-1 defeat in the International Champions Cup final in Miami. With the Premier League kicking off next weekend where Chelsea are backed at 11/5 to win the title at Ladbrokes betting market, Jose Mourinho’s side will look to make amends against the third Italian opponent faced this summer after having encountered both Inter Milan and AC Milan in the aforementioned cup tournament this past week.

Just like against the two previous Italian oppositions and Real Madrid, this match will once again be seen ‘old rivalry renewed’ as neither side will be completely unfamiliar with one another. Chelsea and Roma have only faced each other twice in competitive matches but it came not too long ago in the 2008/09 Champions League season group stage. A John Terry’s header led the Blues to a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge before his side succumbed to a 3-1 defeat in Rome.

Roma will also be a familiar opposition for Jose Mourinho having faced them no less than 7 times during his tenure at Inter Milan, between 2008 to 2010, though much has changed at the capital club since the Portuguese left Italy three years ago. The ‘Giallorossi’ have been inconsistent throughout these past years with constant problems on and off the pitch derailing their quest for success and have not won any silverware since 2007/08 season when they claim the Coppa Italia trophy. They have also seen 5 managers come and go and are now under their 6th as well as newest manager Rudi Garcia - Eden Hazard’s former manager - whom was appointed in mid-June from Lille.

Garcia’s new job at Roma arguably represents the biggest challenge so far in his career in a bid to bring the capital club back to its former glory as he ventures out from France for the first time after spending his entire managerial career so far in the only country alone. And although it is only pre-season, the players of Roma seem to have responded positively to the new managerial appointment as they have won 4 and drawn 1 of their matches so far. The new manager have also purchased several players to bolster his squad notably Mattia Destro, Maicon, Kevin Strootman, Morgan De Sanctis and Gervinho while selling the likes of Maarten Stekelenburg and Marquinhos to Fulham and PSG respectively.

An advocate of the 4-3-3 formation, Rudi Garcia champions the playing style of possession and attacking football that stresses the importance of midfield where he wants his players to be constantly on the move, looking for the ball and influencing the play basing around key players of Daniele de Rossi, Miralem Pjanic and Kevin Strootman. Garcia also likes to have attacking players doing damage in wide areas and he has that in the likes of Erik Lamela and Gervinho. The Frenchman has, at times, deploy the use of 4-2-3-1 formation instead but still based around the same principles of playing style.

The Italian side will be sure to provide another stiff challenge and ask different questions of Chelsea as Jose Mourinho will look to ensure everything - result, players’ fitness and performances - is perfectly in place for next weekend’s Premier League opener against Hull City.

Past Meetings
2008/09 Champions League Group Stage (22nd October) - Chelsea 1-0 Roma
2008/09 Champions League Group Stage (4th November) - Roma 3-1 Chelsea

2013/14 Pre-Season Form

AS Roma (P5 W4 D1 F19 A5)
17th July: Friendly - Roma 9-1 Rapp. Locale Riscone
21st July: Friendly - Roma 1-1 Bursaspor
26th July: Friendly - Aris FC 1-2 Roma
31st July: Friendly - MLS All-Stars 1-3 Roma
7th August: Friendly - Toronto FC 1-4 Roma

Chelsea (P6 W5 L1 F18 A5)
17th July: Friendly - Singha All-Stars 0-1 Chelsea
21st July: Friendly - Malaysia XI 1-4 Chelsea
25th July: Friendly - Indonesia All-Stars 1-8 Chelsea
1st August: International Champions Cup - Chelsea 2-0 Inter Milan
4th August: International Champions Cup - AC Milan 0-2 Chelsea
7th August: International Champions Cup - Real Madrid 3-1 Chelsea

Team News

Rudi Garcia has not had full squad of players to select from during Roma’s pre-season as his players have been troubled with some minor injuries and the trend continues heading into this game. Summer signing Maicon and midfielder Marquinho will both sit out of this match as they trained separately from their team-mates today. However, key players in the form of Daniele de Rossi - a reported Chelsea target this summer - and Pablo Osvaldo have recovered from their respective injuries and returned to training.

Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): De Sanctis; Torosidis, Burdisso, Castan, Dodo; Bradley, Pjanic, Strootman; Lamela, Totti, Caprari

Subs: Lobont, Skorupsi, Benatia, Dodo, Jedvaj, Balzaretti, Taddei, Romagnoli, Crescenzi, de Rossi, Florenzi, Osvaldo, Tallo, Verre, Gervinho.

Out Injured: Maicon, Marquinho

Unlike in the previous six pre-season matches, Jose Mourinho now finally has a full squad at his disposal in which he can pick and choose any player to play in this match. Both David Luiz and Juan Mata missed the last game against Real Madrid but they have returned to training since then and should feature against Roma.. The manager would want to ensure every player reaches the required fitness level needed before the opening Premier League match next Sunday, especially those that have just have returned from an extended summer break last week following their participation in the Confederations Cup.

Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Schwarzer; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Bertrand; Essien, Lampard; Oscar, De Bruyne, Hazard; Torres.

Subs: Cech, Terry, Luiz, Cole, Mikel, Marco van Ginkel, Ramires, Schurrle, Mata, Moses, Ba, Lukaku.

Stats and Facts
1. This is the 4th pre-season in the last six years that Chelsea have faced at least an Italian opposition and hold a record of 5 wins and 1 defeat (1-0 loss against AC Milan last season).
2. Jose Mourinho has faced Roma 7 times in competitive matches when he was the manager of Inter Milan and he lost only 1 of those meetings - W3 D3 L1.
3. Roma scored 71 goals in 2012/13 Serie A season; 3rd joint highest with league champions Juventus behind Napoli (73) and Fiorentina (72).
4. However, Roma conceded 56 goals in the league last season and only Inter Milan, relegated clubs Siena and Pescara have conceded more - 57, 57 and 84 respectively.
5. On the contrary, Chelsea scored the 2nd highest amount of goals in the Premier League with 75 goals and only bettered by first placed Manchester United who netted 86 goals last season.
6. Chelsea also boasted the 3rd meanest defence in the league having conceded only 39 goals in 38 games. Only Manchester City (34) and Arsenal (37) have conceded less.
7. Only 8 players from both sides that featured in the 2008/09 Champions League group stage game still remain at the club - Daniele de Rossi, Francesco Totti, Rodrigo Taddei, Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel and Branislav Ivanovic.

Match Odds (Final Result/Full Time)
Chelsea WIN - 4/6
DRAW - 23/8
Roma WIN - 9/2
(Odds obtained from BetBrain.co.uk)

The match can be seen live on Chelsea TV as it kicks off at 8pm in Washington on 10th August or 1am in UK on 11th August. You can also catch the game on ESPN in US or Al Jazeera HD1 in the middle east. There should also be many match streams that can be found online if you do not have access to any of the said channels. And if you happen to be busy and cannot catch the game live, follow TalkChelsea on Twitter as it will be providing live match commentary on the action.

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