Chelsea will be hoping to put their shock loss to Crystal Palace behind them when they welcome Roma to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening for their third Champions League group stage match this season, as the Premier League champions hope to add to their 100% record so far.
Roma go into Wednesday’s game with four points from their two group stage fixtures so far, and will be optimistic of a result given Chelsea’s wobbly domestic form.
Here are a few key battles that could determine the outcome of the Group C clash…
3. Tiemoue Bakayoko vs Radja Nainggolan
Both sides boast a well rounded midfield heavyweight in their ranks, and Chelsea will hope that their French stalwart Tiemoue Bakayoko can shackle the many abilities of Roma’s Belgian beast Radja Nainggolan.
Nainggolan typically orchestrates everything good that Eusebio Di Francesco’s side do, and Bakayoko will have to respect his defensive duties if Chelsea want to keep the likes of Edin Dzeko quiet.
Antonio Conte still finds himself without N’Golo Kante or Danny Drinkwater however, so it will be interesting to see how Bakayoko copes with a top class midfielder mostly on his own, such is Cesc Fabregas’ reluctance to defend.
2. David Luiz vs Edin Dzeko
Roma’s Bosnian hitman has already racked up eight goals in nine games for the Serie A side this season, and will undoubtedly be the man that the Giallorossi look to for goals.
On the other hand, Chelsea man David Luiz has had an indifferent season so far, with a shaky, indecisive performance against Palace on Saturday typifying his wobbly form.
The battle between Dzeko and Luiz will be massive in deciding who ends up topping Group C after matchday three.
1. Eden Hazard vs Bruno Peres
Eden Hazard is yet to find his best form this campaign having only recently regained full fitness, but his starring role in the victory over Atletico in the Wanda Metropolitano bodes well for his chances of having a significant impact against Roma this Wednesday.
On his day, the Belgian is capable of winning matches single handedly, so Roma right back Bruno Peres will need to bring his A game in order to shackle the elusive maestros talents.
Given Peres’ frequent attacking habits, his diligence and discipline for the defensive side of his game will be an interesting watch at Stamford Bridge.