Man City must be wary of Roma’s range and Premier League old boys
Manchester City conceded as many goals while winning 4-2 at Hull City as Champions League opponents Roma have all season. And all that despite Rudi Garcia’s Eternal City outfit losing star defender Mehdi Benatia.
It’s shocking, then, that Coral make the visitors 4/1 for victory at the Etihad, 6/1 shots to keep a clean sheet and 11/1 for Roma to win to nil. These prices are based on the fact that the Giallorossi have never defeated any Manchester opposition in Europe’s elite club competition.
This Roma team needs to be taken seriously by Manuel Pellegrini’s men, however. Sitting just behind Juventus at the top of Serie A on goal difference, the Italian side crushed CSKA Moscow 5-1 in their Champions League Group E opener, while City lost late on at Bayern Munich.
A former player, Jerome Boateng, came back to haunt them at the Allianz, so Pellerini must hope that another Etihad old boy, Maicon, does not do the same. This ex-Brazil right back, who famously scored at the 2010 World Cup from a seemingly impossible angle, is 9/1 to net anytime against City.
Long-serving Chelsea left back Ashley Cole could start on the other flank of Garcia’s defence, while the one-time Premier League stars theme continues further forward with ex-Arsenal attacker Gervinho. The Ivory Coast international never scored against City during his time with the Gunners, but has rebuilt his career at Roma, and is 9/4 to add to two Champions League goals last time out anytime.
Highly-rated Argentine attacker Juan Iturbe is out for the visitors and, although he was the catalyst that sparked that hammering of CSKA, there are other forces that could easily hurt Pellegrini. Mattia Destro, who recently scored a spectacular long-range effort in Serie A, could be handed his Champions League debut here, and the Italy frontman is 2/1 to cap his bow with a goal.
Who can forget evergreen Roma icon Francesco Totti? He’s just turned 38, but is still going strong. Back Totti to add to 16 career goals in Europe’s elite club competition at odds of 10/3. Serbia forward Adem Ljajic completes the attacking options open to Garcia here, and he is slightly shorter than the Giallorossi captain in the anytime market at 11/4.
City are odds-on 4/6 favourites to beat Roma, but will find this assignment far tougher than that short price suggests. A draw looks more tempting at 11/4.
Sergio Aguero has five Champions League goals in his last four starts, so back him at 4/1 to net the opener after doing so at Hull. Coral are also offering special enhanced odds of 9/4 on the Argentina attacker scoring anytime and City beating Roma. Punters should note there is a maximum stake of £20 on this bet.
Edin Dzeko, meanwhile, has bagged braces in both of his last two outings, and is a 6/1 shot for two or more for a third straight game in all competitions. Breaching a Roman defence, now marshalled by gruesome Greece international Kostas Manolas, will be difficult, however.
Going against the grain of Premier League teams, especially considering their unconvincing performances in this competition across matchday one, looks to be punters’ best bet here. Back Roma to raid the Etihad with those attractive odds on victory, keeping a clean sheet and winning to nil.