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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

FC Barcelona vs. AS Roma: something to look forward to

Por Jack Leyva

The Barcelona FC has landed in the quarterfinals draw of the UEFA Champions League with the rival that everyone wanted, the A.S. Roma, a team that has surprised everyone by getting so far in the competition. But this very same unexpected results cannot be taken lightly when facing the Italian team, which left both the Chelsea FC and the Atletico de Madrid in the group stage.

Managed by Monchi, the successful director who took the Sevilla FC to stardom in the UEFA Europa League, the Romans have stayed alive in the Champions, with a solid formation and good performances. That is how they got to be leaders of their bracket in the group stage, when everyone thought they could not surpass rivals like the Chelsea FC and the Atletico de Madrid. The FC Barcelona is yet in another level and to leave them on the way would seem an almost impossible challenge, but Monchi’s full knowledge of the Catalonian team and his successes facing it in the past offer some hope to the A.S. Roma.

The Italian formation is a very stable one, with three midfielders like De Rossi, Strootman and Nainggolan, who are hard-working marking, tackling and intercepting, besides being skilled at attacking as well. De Rossi is not at his best but he is still a player can therefore track back to his own box to make tackles and block shots and also run to the opponents' box to try to score, while Nainggolan is the leader due to his great stamina and strength and his ability to make strong shots on goal. Up, the reference is Edin Džeko, the centre forward that scored to FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the round of sixteen, although his presence grows with the help of Under and Perotti, two players that are not so much in the spotlight but that have been vital for the Italians to get to where they are today.

However, the slow mobility of its central defenders and their inability to close the spaces can be lethal when playing against the Barcelona, an exceptional team when it comes to look for these kind of opportunities. This layout for the defence can be very good for Messi, Iniesta, Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba o Suarez, all of them masters when it comes to disrupt the opponents’ marks. The vision of these men and the game style of the FC Barcelona, plays against the Rome, which will need the best performance from its goalkeeper, Allison, who has been impressive in previous games. The Brazilian keeper is still accumulating merits for the FIFA World Cup and to face a team like the FC Barcelona is the ideal stage to show off his abilities. However, the favorites are the Catalonians, still undefeated in the BBVA and showing a great level in Europa, with Messi’s excellency leading a team with mutual understanding among its players and that is looking forward to come back to the continental throne.