Roma vs Barcelona preview

Barcelona have one foot in the semi-finals of this season’s UEFA Champions League ahead of their quarter-final second leg in Rome on Tuesday evening.

Ernesto Valverde’s side take a 4-1 lead into the Stadio Olimpico and are heavy favourites just to win in the Italian capital – have Barcelona odds on at 5/8 to win the second leg too.

The Barcelona coach rested a number of first team players for Saturday’s 3-1 win over Leganés, so we should see Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti, Andrés Iniesta and Paulinho returning to the starting XI for this game.

Valverde may not want to risk playing Sergio Roberto in the second leg as he is a yellow card away from suspension for the first leg of the next round.

Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho is ineligible for the remainder of the season having played in the group stage of this season’s competition with Liverpool.

Roma are expected to start with three up top – Edin Džeko, Diego Perotti and Cengiz Ünder as they need to go all out blazing at some point to keep alive any prayers they have of reaching the final four.  Perotti and Kostas Manolas are a yellow card away from suspension but that won’t be playing on their mind in this game.

Coach Eusebio Di Francesco will be without Rick Karsdorp, whilst influential Radja Nainggolan is a doubt.

Whilst Barcelona don’t need to win on the night don’t be surprised if the runaway La Liga leaders catch Roma out on counter-attacks to produce a comprehensive aggregate score as they progress to the semi-finals.

Real Madrid are also expected to join Barcelona in the semi-finals when they host Juventus with a 3-0 first leg lead on Wednesday, whilst Sevilla have it all to do at the Allianz Arena as they trail Bayern Munich 1-2 from last week.