Chelsea v Roma Champions League Betting Tips October 18th 2017
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Chelsea v Roma Champions League Betting Tips: Match Preview
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There can be no denial that Chelsea have made a superb start in group C. A 6-0 demolition of Qarabag FC was excellent for building confidence and improving their goal-difference, but the 2-1 win away over Atlético Madrid has created a two-point lead over second-placed Roma.
At this point, Chelsea will become favourites to qualify if they can defeat Roma at Stamford Bridge, while a draw would still give the Blues a solid advantage ahead of the away trip to Rome.
For Chelsea, it boosts their credentials that Antonio Conte has won numerous Serie A titles, with some of those coming at the direct expense of Roma. Conte will be familiar with Roma and will understand their threats and weaknesses.
The main drawback, however, is that Chelsea will be without the goal-scoring exploits of Álvaro Morata. The Spanish international striker has scored six league goals and two Champions League goals thus far, so his hamstring tear could be a critical miss for the club.
Michy Batshuayi did score the winner in the Atlético victory, but Conte refused to give the Belgian forward any game-time after Morata went off injured in the first-half of the 1-0 defeat to Man City. Somehow, Eden Hazard or Pedro as a false 9 just doesn’t convince for what could be a narrow affair versus Roma.
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Roma’s last Serie A title came in 2001 and the team from Italy’s capital have spent the past several seasons unable to overcome the perennial quality of Juventus. Yet, the Champions League offers a viable avenue for improvement, especially in a group with Chelsea and Atlético Madrid.
While Chelsea were routing Qarabag 6-0, Roma were playing out a 0-0 draw with Atlético. Roma don’t have the star power to match Atleti, so they shouldn’t feel aggrieved in settling for a draw where they could only muster on shot on target compared to 10 from their opponents.
Roma’s key attacking threat comes from Edin Džeko, who is currently on seven league goals on one Champions League goal for the season. The Bosnian striker operates predominantly as a target-man, while depending on supply from the likes of Diego Perotti, Radja Nainggolan, and Stephan El Shaarawy.
Unfortunately for Roma, Chelsea have a defence that is better-suited to dealing with target-men. Captain Gary Cahill and fellow centre-back David Luiz have the height and muscle necessary to give Džeko a difficult night.
Chelsea have been made 1.66 favourites to win by bet365, but the price could be a little more generous in the absence of Morata, who has been clinical in front of goal this season.
The Blues have shown an affinity for being defensive and solid under Conte, who has considerable experience in coping with Roma sides from his years in Serie A with Juventus.
Another key hallmark of Chelsea under Conte is that the team somehow finds ways of snatching victories from close games. Although Morata is absent, Chelsea could look to Hazard, Pedro, Willian, or even one of several defenders for a winning goal.
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