Qarabag vs Roma by DamirJ
It must be said that Qarabag got a bit lucky to enter the Champions League group stage, which is logical when lower profile teams enter it, as they have played against Georgian Samtredia in second round, but also have faced up against Sheriff Tiraspol in third and Danish champions Copenhagen in the play-off stages. They've progressed over Sheriff thanks to one goal difference, while the players of Copenhagen were excluded thank to an away goal rule - the fact is, neither of these two opponents looked in-form back than and it was probably the key fact while Qarabag reached the group stage.
As for the first round, they suffered heavy defeat 6:0 away from home against Chelsea in a game where nobody expected them to show something more impressive as the quality difference was more than obvious - not that much with ball possession, but the Blues somehow scored goals whenever they wanted - at least that was the overall impression. As for the domestic league, they are doing more than fine with five victories out of first five rounds, coming from a 4:1 home win over SumQayit last Friday evening.
Left back Ansi Agolli (2/0) is injured for this one.
With the second position taken in previous season of Serie A, Roma deserved their group stage placement directly and will surely be looking to step up this season and improve even further. Title race will probably be quite away from their reach, as the side already lost first "bigger" game in Serie A, being defeated to Inter but improving since then with three consecutive victories.
In most recent clash, they won at home over solid Udinese 3:1 last Saturday, having great first halftime as they opened the game strongly and solved the game inside the first halftime. El Shaaray scored twice, Dzeko once for the victory, while they even missed penalty kick towards the end, while Udinese reduced the loss in last minutes via Larsen. Roma is now at fifth position with six points less than leading duo from Napoli and Juventus. This one is a must win for them, since they are drawn in difficult group together with Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, sides that have done more in Europe in recent years.
Left back Emerson comes from knee injury and remains doubtful but probably not being risked here. Talented striker Patrik Schick (1/0) is injured and out. Guests should be playing in 4-3-3 formation with Defrel, Perotti and Dzeko in attack.
Roma is not in the best possible form and it's obvious against stronger opponents. However, with the team finally being back to Champions League and I see them getting into this one more than motivated and with the best squad available. It's a game where they can't afford to drop points and I see them prevailing easily here. There are some obstacles for this one, but the individual quality is strongly with the Italian side.