THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE continues on Wednesday night. Here Ben Levene (@BenLevene96) picks out his favourite fancies from Chelsea's contest with Roma.
Chelsea v Roma | Wednesday 18th October 2017, 19:45 | BT Sport
Chelsea have made an impressive start in the Champions League this season. Antonio Conte’s side have two wins from two in Europe including a late 2-1 victory at Atletico Madrid after a valiant performance.
However, they aren’t performing with the same element of efficiency as they were in the latter two-thirds of last season. They’ve already lost three games in the league this season and after Saturday’s loss to Crystal Palace, rumours that Conte is apparently unhappy have only been enhanced.
The Blues are without Victor Moses and N’Golo Kante, while Alvaro Morata could make a much-anticipated return. At 4/6 there is no real appeal in Chelsea’s price and we have no real edge to deem it worth taking, despite their obvious quality.
Roma are injury stricken themselves. Kostas Manolas went off with a knock against Napoli at the weekend and there are some suggestions that Eusebio Di Francesco may have as few as 14 fit first-team players at his disposal. Although it’s worth noting that Kevin Strootman and Stephan El Shaawary returned to training this week and may be ushered back this Wednesday.
Roma have been quite impressive this season, both domestically and in Europe. In the Champions League they drew 0-0 in their opener when they hosted Atletico Madrid, despite being heavily under the cosh, and then got the job done in Qarabag when they came out 2-1 victors.
Domestically, they have the joint best defensive record in the league and at the weekend lost 1-0 to a Napoli side who had scored three or more goals in all seven Serie A games prior to that.
The betting angle
There is strong enough evidence to suggest that Roma are performing better defensively than the prices suggest. We already know about Chelsea’s defensive prowess when they bring their A-game and with all things considered, Under 2.5 Goals at 6/5 (Marathon) becomes a play.
Chelsea’s last three home league games have seen Under 2.5 Goals. With no disrespect to Qarabag, we’ll opt to look at Chelsea’s win in Atletico for an edge and on that occasion two of the three goals were a penalty and a last-minute winner.
On that occasion, Chelsea were dangerous on the counter with Edin Hazard and Morata causing problems but as hosts this Wednesday, the onus may be on them to dictate play.
Roma kept things tight against Atletico and given they now lie in a favourable position in Group C, they will know the benefits of avoiding defeat this week.
Chelsea v Roma – Under 2.5 Goals (6/5 Marathon)