An early trip to Rome this season will give us all the chance to figure out where the best pubs are to congregate in the city when we return for the Champions League final in May, but just what do we know about our opponents?
As luck would have it, one of the Addict team used to watch Roma live every week - when he was actually paid for writing about football - and it’s fair to say that they are not one of the toughest sides we could have faced.
Arsenal have only faced them twice before, in 2002/03 when we drew at Highbury before a Thierry Henry hat-trick destroyed the Romans at the Stadio Olimpico.
They’ve lost six times this season and have a negative goal difference and it’s fair to say they only have a couple of players that we have to keep an eye on.
One is their captain and icon of course, Francesco Totti, who can be infuriating and mesmerising in equal quantities. Totti has the incredible ability to fall over when an opponent is within 10m of him, but he also has the trickery and talent to break open brittle defences such as ours...
Ahead of him is the Montengrin Mirko Vucinic, who, despite only having scored three goals this season, will prove to be a handful and not someone we can take lightly. Just behind will be someone we all have memories of – The Beast – aka Julio Baptista who spent a year with us on loan from Real Madrid a couple of seasons ago.
The other player to keep an eye on will be Daniele De Rossi, a combative World Cup-winning midfielder who we should have signed last summer. He was born and raised in Rome and his father is a former player and coach, so it’s hard to know how well he would travel, but he has an eye for goal and, more importantly, is the man who will be trying to unsettle and stifle our own Cesc Fabregas.
For those not familiar with the Roma team, Philippe Mexes is pretty handy in defence and has been touted as a replacement for William Gallas – a situation which is even more unlikely to happen now - and he’s joined in defence by former Scouser John Arne Riise.
For anyone already filling in their diary for 2009, the home leg against Roma is on Tuesday
February 24, while the return is on Wednesday March 11. It's not too late to ask Santa for a flight ticket...