WASHINGTON DC, USA - With the Premier League season just over a week away Chelsea face Roma in their final pre-season friendly tour of America. The West London club have had a very productive pre-season although Mourinho will be licking his wounds after losing to a Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Real Madrid in the final of the International Champions Cup.
The bookies, and rightly so in my opinion, make Chelsea odds on favourites to end their American jaunt on a high. Punters have backed Chelsea into a top price of 4/6 with Paddy Power and Coral with their Italian counterparts available at 9/2 with Bet365 and Skybet. Meanwhile the draw is chalked up at 3/1 with BetVictor.
Roma still have a couple of weeks until Serie A gets underway; nevertheless, their pre-season fixtures so far have been very encouraging. They kicked off their preparations with a 9-1 win over Italian minnows Riscone and since landing on American soil they have gone to win 3-1 and 4-1 against the MLS Stars and Toronto respectively. However, the match against Chelsea will be a significant step in class.
With Roma looking to improve on their disappointing season last term, when they finished in 6th place and lost the Coppa Italia to bitter rivals Lazio, they have been very active in the transfer market. Brazillian star Marquinhos has left the club in a mega bucks deal to PSG with the Giallorossi using the funds wisely. Kevin Strootman, Gervinho and Mehdi Benatia have all joined the club as Ruid Garcia puts his own stamp on the club, shaking off the cobwebs that Zeman left behind.
Strootman, in particular, has settled in very quickly and was man of the match in the 3-1 friendly win over the MLS all stars. The Dutchman made one goal and scored another. But no bookmakers, at the time of writing, have priced up the goal scorer markets so instead we should look towards the over/under and correct score markets.
I expect there to be a few goals shared when these two sides meet in Washington DC, and the bookies seem to agree.
Over 2.5 goals is available to back at a top price of 1.70 with Ladbrokes but there is better value to be squeezed out of the Over 3.5 goals market, Ladbrokes offer 2.70 on there being four goals or more. Chelsea should be sharp and raring to go after their exploits in the International Champions, while Roma have already shown their attacking prowess since touching down in the states.
Correct scores of 3-1 and 3-2 in favour of Chelsea also make appeal at the prices quoted, you can back them with Coral at 12.0 and 26.0 respectively.
Chelsea will play a strong side as Mourinho fine tunes his squad for their season opener against Premier League new boys Hull next Sunday. Granted, it's not the stiffest test Chelsea will face this season but nevertheless Mourinho will want to make a statement on his return to England and a convincing win against Roma will set them up nicely for, what Mourinho and Chelsea fans hope, will be a successful season.
The game kicks off at 1am BST on Sunday 11th August 2013.
Mark Smith's bets on this game:
- 1 pt on Over 3.5 goals at 2.70 with Ladbrokes.