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Some of you might think that getting involved in the second leg of a tie that’s sat on a 6-2 scoreline is folly, but I’m here to tell you that all it does is make it more predictable. Ole might be at the wheel, but you’re in the driver’s seat.
Manchester United and Roma played out a 7-1 tussle in 2007, but that’s hardly a fair reflection of where the psychology of European football is at, let alone these particular teams.
20:00: Roma v Man United
BT Sport 2
However, Liverpool certainly felt a second leg backlash in the semi-finals of another European competition not so long ago, and Rome has mystical powers of recovery you know – even if Jose Mourinho will be on-hand next year to make sure that’s coming to a sudden halt.
For now, United go to Rome knowing they can lose by three and still advance to a European final. It’s not the worst situation you could be in on the continent – but that psychological comfort can often do more bad than good. Here’s how we cash in on an actual near-miracle next to the Vatican.
Just because a 2-0 win for Roma is a terrible result here for them, and one United genuinely will be fine with. So, with the pool wide open for acceptable results for both sides, you need to cash in – and the idea that Roma are over 2/1 is bizarre.
Yes, they’re having a horrid time of it of late. Yes, they’ve won just one of their last eight games in Serie A and they shipped six in Manchester, but there’ll be revised urgency not least because they know they have a new manager coming in that will terrify and transform them for the first six weeks.
Now, we all know what happens after that – but still.
This match ball will spend no more than 30 seconds in midfield areas all game. United will go long in behind when Roma ultimately lose the ball in their third, and Roma will otherwise camp outside United’s box for most of the game.
They’ll swing crosses into the box time and time again, hoping Edin Dzeko forgets that he’s nearly 40 as he so often tends to.
As is the nature of this game – there’ll be such a massive amount of chances that only inept finishing could result in there being under this goal total, as you can tell from the fact the line is 3.5 and not the standard 2.5.
If nothing else, tuning in means you’ll see goals.
And at least one of them will be scored by this man. Roma looked incredibly competent in the opening stages of the first leg and they’re not slouches in front of goal – they’re just incredibly predictable and really only have one outlet.
It just so happens that this outlet is one of the most consistent strikers to play in the top five European leagues since the turn of the century.
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