The UEFA Champions League kicks off this mid-week and we hope to add this mid-week football excitement to our calendars to keep us entertained every week.
Chelsea are travelling away to Dynamo Kiev knowing that victory to keep up the pace with leaders Kiev and Porto who are hot on their heels.
Chelsea dropped their last game to Porto and have generally not been playing well in the league; but post the international break is when Mourinho has made changes. He has even called out his star player Eden Hazard and dropped him from the team until he improves his defensive work rate like that of Willian and Pedro. If such actions are taken, you know that Mourinho certainly means business. He started out with a solid 2-0 victory at the weekend, and maintaining that clean sheet was extremely important for them to start building their confidence. The return of Costa back to the starting lineup and scoring 1 while almost netting another certainly helped. Chelsea will know that should they lose this game, they look to be heading towards the Europa League . That along with a faltering Premier League campaign; would count as a major blow to Chelsea, so the pressure is there to perform. The fact they have netted a goal in 10 out of their 11 games this season, will tell you that they can find the back of the net, but while protecting it they have conceded in 9 out of those 11 games.
Dynamo Kiev have started out in flying fashion beating Maccabi Tel Aviv while playing out a good 2-2 draw with Porto as well. Kiev don’t come into this game with positivity after dropping their last game to Shakhtar Donetsk by a score of 3-0 and conceding the lead in the Ukraine Premier League to their opponents. It was the 1st game they lost all campaign; and this might dent their confidence against a high-flying Chelsea team. Yarmolenko and Husyev will be looking to change that around as they aim to get their campaign off to a better start after netting 1 goal each so far. Kiev have scored in all but 1 game in all season long.
Both teams to score definitely has to be the way to go in this encounter as both teams will look for the points to enhance their progression, and will continue to build pressure on each others defence to find the back of the net.
Roma sitting in 4th place after a loss to BATE and a draw with Barcelona and are now looking to repair their campaign while they search for 2 points in this critical Champions League encounter against 2nd place Bayer Leverkusen who have home advantage in this crucial encounter.
Leverkusen are the home side and will take a lot of confidence heading into after losing just 1 game at home since February and that is a record they can truly be proud of. Their form coming into this game is bit sketchy as they drew 1-1 with Augsburg while playing out a statement against Hamburg; so they will need to look to turn that around against Roma tonight. In their last encounter against Barcelona they were 1-0 up against them, but were unlucky to hit by 2 goals in 2 minutes towards the depth. They certainly boast a great array of attacking talent with Kiessling, Hernandez, Çalhanoğlu, Bellarabi, Kramer and Mehmedhi who can all pounce on the attack and come with a goal at any opportunity like they showcased in their 4-1 win against BATE. Leverkusen have only failed to score at home once, which was in September, and they have averaged scoring 2 goals per game in their outings in their undefeated run; so one can expect more of them to continue tonight.
Roma travel to this game as the team in big trouble, and need to take out 4 points from the 2 games with Leverkusen if they are to stay alive in the Champions League or even in Europe for that matter. One thing with Roma you can definitely guarantee is pure entertainment. Their games so far this season have them spark up on the offensive thanks to signing up of Dzeko and Salah up front. Their last 6 games on the trot have seen at least 3 goals in every game, with them averaged their own scoring of 3 goals per game in that run. Roma are a team that have not showed fear playing away from home or even against the big teams and have seen them score in every game this season whether home or away. Defensively they have been a bit shaky though leaking goals in all but 1 game this season.
This encounter promises to be an exciting one especially with Roma in desperate need of points and will go to attack in front of goals and play with freedom away from home, while Leverkusen will be hoping home advantage will count for something in this exciting encounter. Backing over 2.5 goals in this one will be the sensible option.