Manchester City could be forgiven for approaching their visit to Roma with a fair amount of trepidation due to Sergio Aguero’s absence through injury.
The Argentine has been in effervescent form, scoring seven times in his last six appearances including a match-winning hat-trick against FC Bayern Munchen.
Without him City are 7/4 underdogs for victory, with the Giallorossi 6/4 favourites for success and the draw 13/5.
Yet there are three reasons to suggest that Manuel Pellegrini’s men can eliminate the Romans in the ‘Eternal City’ even without their squat talisman.
The Citizens downed FC Bayern Munchen away without him last season.
Aguero was nowhere to be seen when City pulled off the Allianz Arena heist of 2013/14, with David Silva, Aleksandar Kolarov and James ‘Hamez’ Milner doing the damage as the Argentine remained on the bench for the duration.
Admittedly Die Roten were laurel-resting having already qualified for the knockout rounds, but they were nonetheless largely the side that smashed Roma into the middle of next week at Stadio Olimpico in October.
Edin Dzeko is back to lead the line.
The Bosnian barnstormer has returned to fitness at just the right time, getting on for the last 27 minutes of the weekend victory over Everton.
He’ll most likely start the match against Rudi Garcia’s men and the bwin layers clearly expect a strong showing, having installed him as 7/5 favourite in the anytime-goalscorer betting for the clash.
Roma’s previously parsimonious defence have been shipping goals of late.
The Giallorossi’s 7-1 hammering at the hands of FC Bayern had been a major outlier in an otherwise miserly campaign, with eight clean sheets in the 14 games either side of the fixture
However, in recent games there has been a loosening up which will offer the Citizens encouragement in their search for an away goal.
It’s four games since the Italians’ last shutout and they’ve been breached twice in each of their last two outings, both of which came on home turf.