FC Barcelona - AS Roma Preview: Catalans look to maintain top spot in Group E
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Even without Leo Messi for most of the game, FC Barcelona still blew out rivals Real Madrid 4-0 to give them a six point lead in La Liga. Now they will look to maintain their lead in the Champions League group stage against AS Roma.

Form

It was an atonishing win for Barcelona in Madrid as they smashed Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid 4-0 to win another episode of El Clasico. Two goals from Luis Suarez and one each from Neymar and Andres Iniesta were enough to humble Madrid and give Barcelona a six point lead in La Liga.

Barcelona showed their depth and this was Luis Enrique's best work as he had the perfect gameplan to beat Madrid. It also helped that Real Madrid played like each of the players just met each other right before kickoff. Barcelona will look to keep the momentum in Champions League as well.

The Catalans have a five point lead on second place Roma and are favorites to finish first in their group again. Basically, Barcelona are on fire right now.

It was a night to remember for Barcelona.
It was a night to remember for Barcelona.

It has been a tough season in Europe for Roma. They are five points behind Barcelona for first in their Champions League group, something not to ashamed of. But the two point gap between last place BATE and Roma is something that they should be concerned about.

After managing a draw in Rome thanks to a miracle goal by Alessandro Florenzi, Roma will need to grab a result in the Camp Nou if they want to maintain their second place position in the group. It will come down to their last game against BATE and Roma could find themselves at the bottom of the table.

But they control their destiny. In Serie A, things have been rough of late as well as the former leaders are currently fourth in the league. They are currently three points off table-toppers Inter Milan but face some easier games against Torino and Atalanta before a huge game against Napoli in the first week of December.

Key players

The key player for Barcelona will be Leo Messi. After missing a month of action with a knee injury, Messi returned for the Clasico against Real Madrid. Suprisingly, he wasn't needed at all. When Messi subbed on for Ivan Rakitic in the 60th minute, Barcelona were up 3-0 already and were in control. But he made his presence felt when he made a key pass that led to the fourth goal by Luis Suarez. He will likely start against Roma and will look to get back on track after missing time.

Miralem Pjanic will have to put in a stunning display for Roma in this match. The Bosnian's penalty with 10 minutes left gave Roma a key win against Bayer Leverkusen in their last Champions League game and he will try to control the force that is Barcelona's midfield. Iniesta ran circles around Luka Modric and Toni Kroos and will look to do the same against Pjanic. He is Roma's best player and will have to step up if Roma want a result in Barcelona.

Team news

The last time these two teams met, it was a 1-1 draw in Rome with goals from Florenzi and Luis Suarez left both teams with a share of the spoils. Barcelona centre-back Javier Mascherano has been ruled out for this fixture. He was subbed off in the first half against Real Madrid with an injury and will have to sit this game out as well.

What they're saying

"There is no such thing as an invincible side and that's the beauty of football", said Roma manager Rudi Garcia in a Champions League press conference.

"We expect a much more open game," said Barcelona manager Luis Enrique in a Champions League press conference.

Quotes via ESPN.

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