AS Roma vs Manchester United
Totti's day in the sun.
Without doubt the bigger and better game today compared to the Chelsea- Valencia encounter. Look for Francesco Totti fresh from Valettopoli to have a huge influence on this game. Fans from both clubs will be testy and the Roma ultras should be in full vocal press.
I think Roma's run is part of destiny. As a club it has always played in the shadows of the big northern clubs. It will not win this year's Scudetto, that belongs to Inter by far but it still has the Champions League to make a statement. Coach Luciano Spalletti overcame a shrewd operator in Ged Houllier beating a lacklustre Lyon. Doni had one of his biggest games. Roma is a club that has a lot of self confidence.
Man U will own the ball a lot but look for Mancini and Taddei to create a wide game as Roma test the corners. Roma probably has an aerial edge. Going through the middle to the heart of the Man U defense may not be too productive. Both Totti and Ronaldo are fantastic free kick specialists so we will see a lot of these. Doni will have to continue to be extra sharp. Key injury: Man U's best defender Nemanja Vidic is out.
Prediction: This is the game Roma comes big. In front of the thousands of fans in the Stadio Olympico. Roma 2 Man Utd 1
Chelsea vs Valencia
Asier Del Horno comes up against his former club. Valencia provides more players to the Spain squad than any other La Liga club. Match stat: Chelsea 19 shots on goal. Valencia 6. Sebastian Canizares gets to prove why he is the future Spain goalie.
David meeting Goliath? The thing with Chelsea is that much of the times it tends to sleep walk through these games only to have Drogba bury one in the back of the net in the 92nd minute through a set piece. You can never let your guard down. Valencia is decimated through injuries. Fernando Morientes is out with injury and so is Edu and Baraja. Defender Marchena, a Spain stalwart is missing through suspension. Valencia's team has promising midfielder David Silva and David Villa up front. Villa is a proven goal scorer in big games and will be most definitely heavily marked. Roberto Ayala has the onerous task of stopping slippery Joe Cole and the very active left flank of Chelsea. But then there is Ballack, Shevchenko, and Lampard to take care of. Throw in Ricardo Carvalho who loves having a heave ho and you're backed up against a wall.
Prediction: Chelsea 2 Valencia 0
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