Chelsea can take a step closer to the Champions League knockout stages by beating Roma at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter...
"Chelsea have W21-D3-L1 of their last 25 Champions League group games at Stamford Bridge, scoring in each, and have been chalked up as fair 1.64 favourites to clinch another vital victory on Wednesday night."
Chelsea v Roma
Wednesday 18th October, 19:45
Live on BT Sport
Chelsea aiming to bounce back
Chelsea will be looking to tighten their grip on Group C when they welcome Roma to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night with Antonio Conte looking for a reaction from his team following two disappointing recent results.
The Blues boast a 100% record in the Champions League after a routine win over Qarabag and a superb success at Atletico Madrid. But domestic defeat at previously pointless and goalless Crystal Palace on Saturday followed a disappointing reverse at home to Manchester City before the international break.
The Londoners are now nine points adrift of City in the Premier League but can take up a commanding position in their continental pool with three points here. Victor Moses and N'Golo Kante are unavailable but Alvaro Morata is back in contention to return.
Roma bidding to end wait for wait on English soil
Roma are unbeaten after riding their luck in a 0-0 draw at home to Atletico Madrid and overcoming Qarabag 2-1 in Azerbaijan. The Serie A side are now attempting to through the first three games of a Champions League campaign without defeat for the first time in their history on Wednesday night.
The Giallorossi suffered a 1-0 loss when welcoming Napoli to the Italian capital on Saturday evening, a result that ended a five-match winning streak. Eusebio Di Francesco's team were hindered by the absence of both Stephen El Shaarawy and Kevin Strootman, whilst Kostas Manolas was forced off early.
Manolas isn't expected to return for the trip to London but both El Shaarawy and Strootman are in line to return as the visitors bid for a maiden Champions League triumph on English soil following a rotten W0-D2-L6 return from their previous eight encounters on these shores.
Chelsea have W21-D3-L1 of their last 25 Champions League group games at Stamford Bridge, scoring in each, and have been chalked up as [1.64] favourites to clinch another vital victory on Wednesday night.
The Blues were superior tactically and physically when deservedly triumphing in Madrid last month but will need to improve on more recent displays. Indeed, the hosts have fired blanks in their last two outings at the Bridge while rumours of Antonio Conte's discontent continue to abound.
Conte himself will feel he has plenty to prove on the European stage. In his final campaign with Juventus, the Old Lady managed only three triumphs in seven home continental contests but he's unlikely to take Roma [6.00] lightly here.
The Giallorossi have taken top honours in each of their four away days this term, conceding a solitary strike. However, the Serie A side have been second-best when taking on elite outfits under Di Francesco thus far and boast a number of ugly Champions League stats.
Roma have claimed only two triumphs in their past 17 matches in this competition and have recorded a sole success in 11 (W1-D5-L5) games as guests. The Italians have failed to record a shutout in 22 away ties and such trends suggest Chelsea are decent value to seal a home success here.
Chelsea have scored at least twice in seven of their past eight at this level on home soil and should fancy their chances of extending that streak with Roma shipping two goals or more in four of their previous six away days in the Champions League.
And with the Blues leaking in seven of their 11 encounters this term, as well as in nine of their most recent 13 matches at Stamford Bridge, Roma should also be encouraged to at least get on the scoresheet on Wednesday evening.
Over 2.5 Goals [1.79] is a little too skinny to select but if we head to the Sportsbook, punters can combine a home success alongside Over 2.5 Goals for a generous odds-against price of 13/10.
Back Chelsea to win and Over 2.5 Goals @ 13/10 (Sportsbook)