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Preview: Roma vs Atletico Madrid – Giallorossi Face a Difficult Challenge

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Roma open their Champions League tomorrow with a difficult challenge as they welcome Atletico Madrid to the Stadio Olimpico.

Roma will hope to overturn their recent struggles at home in the Champions League, where they have only been victorious once in their previous seven matches. Los Rojiblancos will look to continue their winning ways in the Champions League, having made it at least to the quarterfinals in each of the last four years, while finishing runners up twice in the competition in that span.

Current Team Form

Having had their weekend game versus Sampdoria postponed due to inclement weather, Roma have not set foot on a football field since their August 26th home loss to Inter by a score of 3-1. On that day, many of the Giallorossi’s deficiencies were laid bare, as the defense struggled mightily to contain Inter’s Argentine striker Mauro Icardi. From the evidence of that game, it was also evident that Roma will likely continue to struggle to replace the recently departed wide-man Mohamed Salah, with Gregoire Defrel currently not looking the part.

Atletico Madrid have thus far played all three of their La Liga games on the road, as they await the completion of their new stadium. With two draws and an impressive 5-1 victory over Las Palmas in the books, Atletico look to be on their way to another solid season. Considering all three games were played away from home, their average of one goal conceded per game is demonstrative of the defense prowess typical of the Simeone-coached team.

Key Players

If Roma are to progress in this competition, they will need consistent scoring from their top center forward Edin Dzeko, who is coming off of a massive haul of 29 goals in 37 appearances last year. Roma can also count on a world class midfield featuring the likes of Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan – all of whom will need to be at their best to contain an equally daunting Atletico midfield featuring the likes of Koke and Saul.

In addition to their strong midfield, Los Rojiblancos feature one of the world’s best central defenders in the form of Diego Godin. On the other end of the park, Antoine Griezmann will be counted on to continue his scintillating form as one of the world’s premier strikers.

Probable Lineups

Roma (4-3-3): Allison; Bruno Peres, Manolas, Juan Jesus, Kolarov; Strootman, De Rossi, Nainggolan; Perotti, Dzeko, Defrel

Atletico Madrid (4-2-2): Oblak; Juanfran, Godin, Savic, Luis Felipe; Koke, Thomas; Saul, Carrasco; Griezmann, Gameiro

Prediction

This will be a difficult test for both teams. With Roma having not played a competitive match for several weeks, look to Atletico to take the initiative early on in the game and ask questions of a shaky Roma defense. The Giallorossi midfield should keep them in the game, but will ultimately fall short in a 2-1 defeat at home to Los Rojiblancos.

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