CHELSEA (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Cole; Van Ginkel, Essien; Hazard, Schurle, Mata; Lukaku
A disp.: Schwarzer, Hilario, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Ramires, Bertrand, Lampard, De Bruyne, Oscar, Moses, Torres, Ba.
All. Josè Mourinho
ROMA (4-3-3): De Sanctis; Maicon, Benatia, Castan, Balzaretti; Florenzi, Bradley, Strootman; Lamela, Osvaldo, Totti
A disp.: Lobont, Skorupski, Burdisso, Romagnoli, Jedvaj, Torosidis, Crescenzi, Dodo, Verre, Ricci, De Rossi, Taddei, Pjanic, Caprari, Borriello, Tallo
All. Rudi Garcia
Back in the day when you chose the team which would win your heart, there's a very solid chance it's because that team was good and an enjoyable viewing experience. Or if you're a Roma fan, because you hate yourself and you want to tumble through life experiencing the most pain humanly possible. And if you're just now looking for a team to follow, perhaps having been swayed by Rudi's rascals and their alluring movement during the summer dash to the States....run. Run now, run far. Run for your life. Don't do it. But if you're a glutton for heartache, it's lovely to have you aboard. Tell us where the bad man touched you.
Chelsea has some fans. A lot of fans. Mmhmm. Chelsea's good and that, undoubtedly, drew in some supporters, among other things. In fact, if you're not into the run and gun aspect of Premiership football as much as some, they were an enjoyable watch. Hell, I liked watching Chelsea* despite the fact that Jose Mourinho was patrolling the sidelines as a walking personality disorder, pleading for a goal and your attention, not necessarily in that order. They were always a sort of guilty pleasure, much in the same way I'll find myself watching 35ish PSG matches over the coming season, mostly because I'm a 14 year old girl at a boy band concert when it comes to Zlatan. The addition of Cavani to the front means they're something of a superband: bound to disappoint if only based on unrealistic expectations, but damnit, everyone's going to watch.
* - This is coming from someone who enjoyed the aesthetic of Claudio Ranieri's Roma. Pinch, salt, etc.
Now the bad man is back and Chelsea...well, who knows. It's a friendly. They've spent money. Watch that money dazzle. Or maybe not. Friendlies often mean little and Roma's excellent summer of 2013 likely means relegation if their history is anything to go on. A smattering of twelve-nil losses would've had my confidence buoyed for the season. Not this. Looking good in July and August often means looking down the barrel of disappointment in April and May.
On the Roma front, much should change from Wednesday's fitness run-out, which seemed designed to give the second team a chance at some pitch minutes more than anything (sorry, Toronto). But more, there's a special addition to the squad - Gervinho. Why on earth they decided to fly him to the States for one friendly for a team with which he's yet to train only to turn right around and fly back to Rome is beyond anyone with sense. It's one friendly. Sixty-seventy minutes at absolute most isn't going to help, and frankly, we were all soaking up Sans-Gervinho Roma before being faced with him in a Roma shirt, dribbling past five guys and launching a cross to Azerbaijan. It's been a bit like the night before going to prison, so don't bring the warden over for the last meal all of a sudden.
News-wise, Miralem and DDR are both in doubt, while Osvaldo's trained with the rest of the team for the first time due to injury. One would imagine this means he's a no-go for the friendly and it's more Borriello Bunga Bunga time, but then they also flew in a guy for the sole purpose of this friendly. Watch Pablo play 90. Thus the projected:
De Sanctis; Maicon, Benatia, Castan, Balzaretti; Florenzi, Bradley, Strootman; Totti, Borriello, Lamela.
Remove Bradley for DDR, figure out what the hell is happening at striker and that should be your starting XI every weekend. Things could certainly be worse, and that defense looks awfully solid for the first time in a very, very long time. So cue Chelsea's humbling onslaught.
Please be kind - we're poor 'round here.