Europa League preview and tips: Roma home form too hot for Real Sociedad

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Roma are the bookmakers' favourite against a Real Sociedad side that isn't going through the best run of form, although inconsistency has also plagued Jose Mourinho's team this campaign.

Roma have been very unpredictable this season, capable of losing against the then-winless bottom of the league Cremonese (1-2) and then bouncing back immediately in the next game with a 1-0 win against the giants Juventus.

Moreover, the defeat against Cremonese came after the second leg of their Europa League tie against Salzburg, which they won 2-0 to overturn the 0-1 first-leg deficit. That said, it has to be more than a coincidence that Jose Mourinho has won 14 of the 16 Europa League home games in which he has been at the helm, with the two exceptions being the defeat against Betis from the group stage this season, and a 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo in 2017 when he was Manchester United's manager.

Mourinho has enjoyed a long-standing love affair with European competition and his team look an attractive bet at better than even money to improve that win ratio even further.

Real Sociedad should not be underestimated, though, and it's worth remembering that they kicked off their Europa League campaign with a 1-0 win at Manchester United. Although losing their next La Liga game 1-2 against Getafe, they then embarked on a club record eight-match winning streak, a sequence they almost equalled with another seven back-to-back wins just after the World Cup break, conceding just one goal along the way. A tough schedule since then, however, has brought just one success in seven outings, with their 3-2 win at Espanyol the only bright spot among three 1-0 defeats and three draws.

This will be the first encounter between Roma and Sociedad in European competitions, and it's perhaps worth noting that the Spanish club have won only one the last six European games against Italian opposition (two draws, three defeats).

Mourinho would love to build a healthy first-leg advantage before the tricky trip to Spain, and that might mean an attacking line-up, with top goalscorer and recent penalty taker Paul Dybala looking a good bet to put his name on the scoresheet.

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