WILL Roma take anything from their home leg against Real Madrid? Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) investigates.
Roma v Real Madrid | Wednesday 19:45 | BT Sport Europe
It’s all about Roma for me here and how much I can trust them. Their record against Europe’s elite in recent times leaves a lot to be desired, but maybe we’ll see something more positive here?
After a fairly strong domestic season in 2014/15 but a poor return in Europe, question marks surrounded coach Rudi Garcia as this season got underway.
The first half of this season trod a similar path with Roma kicking off their league season with just one defeat in their opening 10 Serie A games, yet there were issues in Europe.
Yes, Roma scraped into the Last 16 of the Champions League with just one victory from their six group games, a poor defeat to BATE Borisov and just six points overall accrued in Group E.
Then things went wrong in the league and after just one win between mid-November and three weeks into the new calendar year boss Rudi Garcia was shown the door.
Despite the gloom, two things give Roma a wee bit of hope here. Firstly, their form has markedly improved since Luciano Spalletti took over from Garcia. Indeed it’s just one defeat in 2016 and four consecutive Serie A wins.
Secondly their 1-1 draw at home to Barcelona in the opening match of the group stages in September. Yes, it was before the rot set in under Garcia and perhaps Barca were undercooked but it did point to a side who could possibly match the big boys on their own home soil.
Since then of course Spalletti has come in and confidence seems to be a lot stronger. This tie of course is a huge test against a Real Madrid side hurting over Barcelona’s dominance.
Real went unbeaten in the group stages and managed to beat PSG at home 1-0 and managed a goalless draw in Paris. The other four matches were won convincingly.
Since Zinedine Zidane came in to replace the beleaguered Rafa Benitez his side have won five of their six matches and remain unbeaten. Zidane hasn’t faced a Top 6 side since he took over though and seventh place Athletic Bilbao gave his side a real test at the weekend.
I’m going to chuck a couple of bets in here which don’t actually co-relate with each other, but both have strong claims. Firstly I’ll back a narrow Real win by exactly one goal at a fairly generous 14/5 and also get involved with a 1-1 draw at a rather large 15/2 with Bet Victor.
If Roma can hit the levels of recent weeks and that draw against Barca in September earlier in the competition then they can give the Spanish side a tough night.
Roma v Real Madrid – Real Madrid to win by exactly one goal (14/5 Stan James)
Roma v Real Madrid – 1-1 Draw (13/2 BetVictor)
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