MX23RW : Tuesday, August 3 06:51:39| >> :120:29175:29175:
Oct 31, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Olimpico
Attendance: 55,036
El Shaarawy (1', 36'), Perotti (63')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Preview: Roma vs. Chelsea

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a preview of Chelsea's Champions League Group C visit to face Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.

The top two teams in Group C will go head to head on Tuesday when Roma welcome Chelsea to the Stadio Olimpico on matchday four of the Champions League.

Two points separate the sides at the halfway stage of the group, with Roma knowing that victory over the Premier League champions would leave them in pole position to qualify for the last 16 as group winners.


Davide Zappacosta plays air guitar with Kevin Strootman during the Champions League group game between Chelsea and Roma on October 18, 2017© Offside

Unbeaten in this season's group stages so far, Roma head into Tuesday night's match looking to take a big step towards the knockout stages of the Champions League for only the second time since 2011.

The draws have not been kind for the Serie A outfit in recent years, facing Bayern Munich and Manchester City in the 2014-15 groups, Barcelona in the 2015-16 groups before being eliminated by Real Madrid in the knockout rounds and then coming up against Chelsea and Atletico Madrid in this season's competition.

So far, though, Roma have held their own against their fellow last-16 hopefuls, playing out a goalless draw with Atletico on matchday one before their infinitely more entertaining 3-3 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago.

Roma came from two goals down to lead 3-2 in that match before Eden Hazard rescued a point for the home side, but having come away from West London with a draw they will be confident of going one better in Rome.

Roma have only lost one of their last eight matches at the Stadio Olimpico across all competitions, including four wins from six matches this season during which they have conceded only two goals.

It is a different story in the Champions League, though, with Roma not having scored a home goal in this competition since November 2015, drawing four blanks in a row since a 3-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

Indeed, that win over Leverkusen is their only Champions League triumph at the Stadio Olimpico from their last eight attempts including qualifying, while home and away the capital outfit have won just two of their last 18 Champions League games.

Roma's next two matches are likely to be pivotal for their chances of reaching the knockout rounds as they take on Chelsea and Atletico, although the Madrid club's poor form - which has seen them pick up only two points from an available nine so far - does give Eusebio Di Francesco's side some breathing space.

Last season's Serie A runners-up are also amongst the leading pack on the domestic front too, although they currently sit fifth in what is shaping up to be the most competitive Italian title race in recent years.

Recent Champions League form: DWD
Recent form (all competitions): WLDWWW


Eden Hazard is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the Champions League group game between Chelsea and Roma on October 18, 2017© SilverHub

Tuesday night could prove to be a pivotal one for Chelsea's Champions League campaign; defeat would see them slip down into second place, but victory would be enough to seal a spot in the last 16 with two games still to spare.

The Blues currently sit two points clear of Roma having dropped their first points of the group stages in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago, and crucially they are now five points clear of Atletico - meaning that they would guarantee their place in the knockout stages with a win in Rome.

Antonio Conte will not need telling how difficult that task will be, though, having previously managed Atalanta and Juventus in Serie A and also seeing Roma's impressive performance en route to their point at Stamford Bridge.

The draw with Roma made it three matches without a win for Chelsea, but they have since won all three of their subsequent outings, albeit without looking entirely convincing in any of them.

A 1-0 win over struggling Bournemouth at the weekend was deserved, but they will need to be more ruthless in front of goal if they are to come away with all three points from the Stadio Olimpico too.

A huge showdown with high-flying Manchester United awaits on Sunday with Chelsea knowing that defeat could leave them 12 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, so this is a big week for the club both domestically and in Europe.

Victories over Qarabag and Atletico have left them in a strong position on the latter front, and another win on Tuesday would put them on the verge of finishing top of their Champions League group having missed out on the competition for the first time since 2003-04 last season.

Chelsea have only lost two of their last nine European away games too, although a win in Rome would hand them back-to-back Champions League triumphs on the road for the first time since 2013.

To achieve that in Madrid and Rome would be some feat for Conte's side, and with five wins from their six away outings across all competitions this season there will be plenty of people backing Chelsea to do just that.

Recent Champions League form: WWD
Recent form (all competitions): LLDWWW

Team News

N'Golo Kante in action during the Champions League game between Chelsea and Qarabag on September 12, 2017© SilverHub

Conte has hinted that N'Golo Kante could feature on Tuesday having missed the last four games with a hamstring injury, although the Ballon d'Or nominee is unlikely to be thrown straight back into the starting XI.

Victor Moses is the only other injury concern for Chelsea heading into the game, although Conte does have a number of decisions to make in terms of personnel and may keep Sunday's match against Manchester United in mind too.

David Luiz featured in a midfield role in the reverse fixture and opened the scoring from that position, but the Brazilian is expected to revert to a more defensive position on Tuesday.

Captain Gary Cahill could return after being left out of the win over Bournemouth at the weekend, which could in turn see Davide Zappacosta drop out and Cesar Azpilicueta move to right wing-back.

Roma are expected to be without Kostas Manolas once again due to a thigh strain, while summer signing Rick Karsdorp faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after rupturing his ACL on his debut against Crotone last Wednesday.

Gregoire Defrel and Patrik Schick are available again following recent injuries, though, while Daniele de Rossi is expected to start having sat out the reverse fixture.

Roma possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Florenzi, Fazio, Jesus, Peres; Pellegrini, De Rossi, Strootman; Defrel, Dzeko, El Shaarawy

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Rudiger, Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Bakayoko, Alonso; Pedro, Morata, Hazard

Head To Head

The reverse fixture a fortnight ago ended 3-3 at Stamford Bridge, with Edin Dzeko scoring twice to help Roma recover from two goals down before Hazard ensured that the spoils were shared.

These two clubs had only met on two previous occasions before that, both of which came in the 2008-09 Champions League group stages and both of which went the way of the home side.

John Terry scored home and away that season as Chelsea ran out 1-0 winners at Stamford Bridge before falling to a 3-1 defeat in the reverse.

Roma have won eight and lost four of their 15 previous home games against English clubs, although that does not include their 1984 European Cup final defeat at the hands of Liverpool, which occurred at the Stadio Olimpico.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have only ever won one of nine previous visits to Italy, including defeats on each of the past three trips.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Roma 2-1 Chelsea

This match is unlikely to be as open and goal-laden as the reverse at Stamford Bridge, with Roma having had some low-scoring results at home recently. Chelsea are not at their best right now, despite three consecutive wins, and a trip to the Stadio Olimpico may prove a step too far for them at the moment.

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Antonio Conte watches on intently during the Premier League game between Crystal Palace and Chelsea on October 14, 2017
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States22251764
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events

· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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