Weblog: The football punter

Here's hoping Roma have got the X Factor

MANUEL PELLEGRINI’S going to be in a real hump this week.

You know how much he hates sides going to the Etihad and boringly soaking up gallons of pressure before trying to catch his beloved Manchester City on the counter.

Or maybe he just hates Jose Mourinho.

Anyway, the point is Chelsea chose that tactic a couple of weeks back and wandered off with a 1-1 draw much to the annoyance of the City boss who henceforth wants all visiting teams to bowl up, go for the jugular from the first whistle, leave loads of space and then get picked off by Aguero, Dzeko, Silva and Milner. Well, Aguero, Dzeko and Silva.

A bit like Sheffield Wednesday who very obediently tried to take on the Chilean gaffer’s men and obligingly got humped 7-0 for their troubles.

So now it’s Roma’s turn. And how do you think Roma will approach their visit to Manchester? Will they be canny, cute, clever and ever so slightly conservative, a la Chelsea? Or will they be rubbish, like Wednesday?

My hunch is on the former and even though Italian football, rather like Saturday night telly isn’t as good as it used to be, this Roma side looks pretty useful, just the sort who can cause Pellegrini a load more Champions League heartache.

Actually there’s a few big prices around to get stuck into.

Not Blackpool, obviously. They’re a big price for a reason, the reason being they’re an absolute shambles and don’t have a prayer at Middlesbrough.

No, I was actually thinking PSG against Barcelona and Sporting Lisbon against Chelsea. T

he Portuguese can figure out what Chelsea’s tactics will be, but they’ll just beat them rather than moan about them.

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Match in Focus

19:45 We 1Oct SS1

Arsenal v Galatasaray

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Galatasaray have never won on nine visits to England
Expert verdict
Injuries are hitting Arsenal hard but Arsene Wenger needs to quickly lift his players following the disappointing 1-1 draw with Tottenham. Galatasaray are not in great nick themselves with only two wins from six matches in all competitions this term but they can make life difficult even if the Gunners eventually triumph.