Roma vs Barcelona by Jimeno
After a disappointing draw in the season opener away to Verona, Roma bounced back with two much better performances and two victories which put them near the top of the table, but most importantly, with six points more than their biggest title rivals from Juventus. They looked generally well last weekend away from home against Frosinone when the team celebrated 2:0 victory.
They looked dominant on the field, keeping the ball mostly in their possession and being very concrete in attack - scoring goals in 44th minute via Falque and in the injury time of second half, when Iturbe sealed the three pointer. Frosinone did have fair amount of goal scoring chances as it seems that Roma's defense still isn't at the desired level, but the seems to slowly be getting into the right form and the atmosphere is going into the right direction in the new season. Kevin Strootman is long term absentee in the midfield, while the Italians should also miss offensive midfielder Miralem Pjanic (2/1) who got injured on international duty playing for Bosnia last week. Radja Nainggolan is likely to get the position in starting lineup at the expense of Seydou Keita. They are expected to start playing in 4-2-3-1 formation with Edin Dzeko, while Salah, Falque and Gervinho should be his support in offensive tasks.
Barcelona comes from quite a difficult game last weekend away to Atletico Madrid, as they looked quite passive for the most of the game and only responded once the team was in trouble when Torres opened the lead for the home side in 51st minute. Neymar replied few minutes later, while the visitors continued struggling to get more offensive and dominant, but with the entrance of Lionel Messi in 60th minute looked way better and finally got the three pointer with his goal in 77th minute.
This was third consecutive victory at the start of Spanish Primera, but it seems that the team is far away from their great and effective form the team displayed in the previous season. Despite a good start in Primera, fans still do remember their defeat in Spanish Super Cup matches against Bilbao and the players are still to get the confidence back, aiming another three pointer for this game, as it's the only way to feel more relaxed regarding the Champions League group stage. Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has a calf problem, so German Marc-Andre ter Stegen should be between the posts as he did in all Champions League matches in previous season, including the big finale. Central defender Thomas Vermaelen (3/1) picked up an injury against Atletico Madrid and will be replaced here with Gerard Pique who was suspended in the league game. Right back Dani Alves (5/0) is injured and youngster Sergio Roberto will continue playing on the right flank.
Roma comes from back to back victories after disappointing draw at the start and can't wait for this clash in much better atmosphere. Barcelona still remains big favorite here, especially since Lionel Messi was rested a bit against Atletico, but they are far away from impressive side when talking about defending their goal. Over, plenty of goals, but also both team to score look like the safest choices here.