Barcelona vs Roma – Tuesday, April 4, 20:45 BST/20:45 CEST – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
After narrowly eliminating Shakhtar Donetsk in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League Roma were given an almost impossible task in quarterfinals in Barcelona. The club from Catalonia has been once again in fantastic form and had no problem eliminating English side Chelsea in the round of 16.
Barcelona, together with Real Madrid and Bayern München, are now among the favourites to win the Champions League in Kyiv this coming May. Coached by Ernesto Valverde Barcelona has somewhat reinvented itself after the departure of Neymar to PSG this summer. The Catalans signed Ousmane Dembélé from Dortmund and Paulinho from China to add both creativity and strength in midfield.
With just eight games left in La Liga Barcelona have a nine-point gap over their closest rival Atlético Madrid. But the game against Sevilla on the weekend highlighted that this Barca side is not as invincible as the side that dominated Europe under Pep Guardiola.
Sevilla’s performance on the weekend may bring some hope to Roma. The Italians play attractive football under head coach Eusebio di Francesco. Usually, lining up in a 4-3-3 formation Roma are, however, not quite as potent up front as they were last season when they had Mohamed Salah at their disposal.
As a result, Roma will be slightly more defensive trying to hit Barcelona on quick counter-attacks when playing on the road in Barcelona. The tactic worked well against Shakhtar, who at times play similar football to Barca, but the gulf in quality between Shakhtar and Barca is incredible, and Roma will likely find their master in the La Liga side.
Barcelona vs Roma – Players to Watch
Lionel Messi #10 – Barcelona
Only few will argue that Lionel Messi is not the world’s best player. The 30-year-old Argentine once again is having a magnificent season having scored 25 goals and 12 assists in 28 La Liga games. Messi also added six goals and two assists in eight Champions League games. Playing more like a playmaker these days, his offensive numbers may have dropped somewhat, but Messi continues to score a goal every 98 minutes and even on an average day can singlehandedly dismantle the opposition.
Alisson #1 – AS Roma
Alisson Ramses Becker has quickly become Roma’s biggest star and among Europe’s most desired goalkeepers. The Brazilian keeper with German roots – he was born 25 years ago in Novo Hamburgo – at times plays like the clone of Manuel Neuer. A good shot stopper with fantastic anticipation when it comes to crosses Alisson almost acts like an extra playmaker at times.
Barcelona vs Roma – Match Stats
- The teams were last paired together in the 2015/16 group stage when they drew 1-1 in Italy.
- Barcelona were comfortable winners in the reverse fixture in Spain, Suárez and Lionel Messi each scoring twice with Gerard Piqué and Adriano also on target in a 6-1 home success.
- The clubs’ other meetings came in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League second group stage, starting with a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou, where Patrick Kluivert levelled a Christian Panucci goal.
- Roma won the return 3-0 with Emerson, Vincenzo Montella and Damiano Tomassi scoring. Barcelona still won the group, with Roma eliminated in third place.
- Barcelona’s record in two-legged ties against Italian sides is W8 L4.
- Roma’s record in two-legged ties against Spanish clubs is W3 L4.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Barcelona vs Roma – 3-0
Barcelona vs Roma – Possible Starting Lineups
ter Stegen – Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba – Paulinho, Busquets, Iniesta – Messi, Suarez, Dembélé
Manager: Ernesto Valverde
Alisson – Kolarov, Manolas, Fazio, Florenzi – Rossi, Strootman, Gonalons – Perotti, Dzeko, El Shaarawy
Manager: Eusebio Di Francesco
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth. Or contact him via email: [email protected]