Tuesday night sees Roma visit the home of English Premier League champions Manchester City in their second Champions League fixture of the season.
The Italian club sit top of Group E after demolishing CSKA Moscow 5-1 in their opening fixture, with Gervinho, so often a target for derision during two inconsistent seasons at Arsenal, scoring twice.
City, who lost 1-0 to Bayern first time out after a dramatic strike from Jerome Boateng, go into the match having scored 11 goals in a week, following a seven-goal rout of Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup with a 4-2 league victory at Hull. The Roma defence should provide more of an obstacle – they have conceded just two goals in Serie A and Europe thus far, and are bolstered by the signing of Ashley Cole, who will make his first appearance back on English soil since leaving Chelsea in the summer.
Both sides come into the game having claimed all three points in their respective domestic leagues at the weekend, with Roma overseeing Hellas Verona 2-0 and Manchester City fighting off a strong Hull City performance to win 4-2.
The Giallorossi will be hoping to perform better than they have in previous visits to England, however, as they have won just once in their last 14 matches on English soil, and, especially Manchester, where they have never won in three attempts.
Roma, many people’s Scudetto favourites for the 2014/15 season have been meeting expectations in the early stages of the season and are yet to lose a match, winning all six competitive games played so far and only conceding twice in the process.
Quite contrarily to Roma, Tuesday’s hosts, Manchester City have been falling below expectations so far this season and already find themselves five points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea. The current English champions will have wanted a stronger start both domestically and in their European campaign but have left themselves with some catching up to do on both fronts already.
As well as suffering a disappointing home defeat to Stoke, Manuel Pellegrini’s side have not been achieving results in the bigger games this season. They have already dropped points against both Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as being on the wrong end of a 3-0 Community Shield hammering in the season’s curtain raiser. Their Champions League run also took an early blow as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich, thanks to a late strike from their ex-player Jerome Boateng.
While Manchester City have never lost at home to a Serie A side, their record against Italian teams is not the best, having not beaten a side from the Peninsula since overcoming A.C Milan in a UEFA Cup tie in 1978/79 when Brian Kidd, now assistant manager, scored on both legs against the Rossoneri.
Manchester City will be looking to win their opening home match in the Champions League for the first time, having failed in their last three attempts.
Samir Nasri and Stefan Jovetic will miss the clash due to groin and hamstring injury respectively. But with David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko it seems City still has an edge over Roma in attacking department.
Veteran midfielder Daniele De Rossi (thigh injury), Davide Astori (knee), Leandro Castán (neck), Kevin Strootman (knee) are all ruled out for Giallorossi.
With new signing Juan Iturbe (thigh) also doubtful for the clash, Roma need to perform the same way like they have done till now in Serie A.
Gervinho has scored 15 goals in his first 40 matches for Roma. The Ivorian had scored just six by this point in his Arsenal career.
Roma last won in England on February 22, 2001, when a single goal from Gianni Guigou was enough to beat Liverpool in the second leg of their UEFA Cup fourth round tie. Even then, Liverpool progressed 2-1 on aggregate.
Manchester City completed 352 successful passes at Bayern Munich out of 418 attempts. Their hosts completed 521 out of 598.
Sergio Aguero scored six goals in five games in last year’s Champions League group stage, the most by any Manchester City player.
Expected Starting XI:
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov; Milner, Fernandinho, Touré, Silva; Agüero, Dzeko.
Roma: De Sanctis; Maicon, Manolas, Yanga-Mbiwa, Cole; Nainggolan, Keita, Pjanic; Gervinho, Totti, Florenzi.
Manchester City 2-1 A.S Roma