Stadio Olimpico Di Torio, Turin
In first half of the 1980s, Juventus was the best team in Italy. In this era they would win multiple numbers of league titles, a Cup Winners Cup as well as European Cup. In this same period the Turinese club would also develop a relationship of hatred with two Italian clubs – Fiorentina and AS Roma. While the rivalry is not as heated as the one with Internazionale, the matches between these clubs do generate a lot of excitement.
The root of the rivalry can be traced back to Serie A season of 1980-81. Giovanni Trapattoni’s Juventus and Nils Lidholm’s Roma were neck and neck in the race for Scudetto. When Roma faced Juve in the return leg, it was a virtual title decider. The match ended 0-0 but giallorossi fans complain to this day that a legitimate Roma goal was wrongly cancelled for offside. Italian journalists like Gianni Brera have however maintained that the decision was correct. Juventus went on to win the Scudetto that year but Roma fans hate the Old Lady since that season.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Juventus: The Bianconeri have struggled to find any sort of consistency in Serie A. While they thumped Cesena 3-1 last weekend, they slumped to a 1-1 draw against Brescia in mid-week. Both the goals that Juventus conceded will send Luigi Delneri back to the drawing board. Atleast two Juventus defenders were left ball watching for those goals.
Injuries haven’t helped either. Young left-backs Paolo De Ceglie and Armand Traore are out injured. This forced Delneri to include Fabio Grosso into the first XI. Grosso and Salihamidzic (also included against Cesena) were two players who were categorically mentioned by Delneri to be “not part of his plans” but injuries have forced his hand. Both players have somewhat redeemed themselves, especially Grosso who was involved in two goals in two games.
Juventus will start with a 4-4-2 formation. Marco Motta has not looked convincing till now, there is a chance that Salihamidzic will get a nod ahead of him for this big clash. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will play in the heart of the defence, with Grosso on left-flank.
Both Milos Krasic and Jorge Martinez are injured; so Simon Pepe will fill in as the right-winger. Partnering him on the left will be Claudio Marchisio. Marchisio, an out and out Juventino, has been a part of the club for over 15 years, right from the youth level. He is not a natural winger but has been improving in that position lately. Alberto Aquilani, once the darling of Roma faithful, will face his childhood club for the first time. He will be partnered by Felipe Melo. If Melo is unfit Malian Momo Sissoko was play as mediano.
Statistically Fabio Quagliarella has been one of the most successful strikers in Serie A this season. His attempt to goal ratio is one of the highest in the league. With three goals in last three Serie A matches, Quags is a man in form. Alessandro Del Piero, who just celebrated his 36th birthday, will partner him.
Possible Starting XI: Storari; Salihamidzic, Chiellini, Bonucci, Grosso; Pepe, Aquilani, Melo, Marchisio; Del Piero, Quagliarella
AS Roma:After almost winning the Scudetto last season, Roma’s campaign didn’t get off to a flying start this time around. Such was their condition, that rumours of Ranieri getting sacked were doing rounds. However, they have staged a wonderful comeback since then – winning 4 matches in a row. Their last two results have been particularly notable. First they defeated fierce rivals Lazio in the Rome derby. They continued their good form with a 3-2 win over Fiorentina in mid-week. Roma are unarguably the more in-form team coming into this match.
Ranieri was sacked unceremoniously from Juventus in 2008. He took revenge last winter as his Roma side defeated Juve 2-1 in Turin – a match which led to sacking of Ranieri’s successor Ciro Ferrara. The Tinkerman will be starting with a 4-3-1-2 formation. Dependable defender Juan is out injured, so Philipe Mexes will be partnered by Burdisso. Riise and Cicinho will perform the duties of full-backs.
The three man midfield will be led by Daniel De Rossi. De Rossi’s poor world cup form has rubbed off on his Serie A form. He hasn’t matched the high standards that he usually sets. He will play alongside veterans Stefano Perrotta and Fabio Simplicio. Simplicio has enjoyed some good games against the Old Lady during his stint at Palermo; he will be hoping to perform in the same manner.
Roma’s main creative force will be youngster Jeremy Menez, Menez’s pace and vision will be crucial to unlock a Juventus defence which can construct poor off-side traps. Roma legend Francesco Totti will partner Montenegrin Mirko Vucinic in a two man attack.
Possible Starting XI: Sergio; Riise, Mexes, Burdisso, Cicinho; Perrotta, De Rossi, Simplicio; Menez; Totti, Vucinic
Matches between Juventus & Roma have a tendency of producing goals. Last season both the teams managed to get away wins. Diego inspired Juve to a 3-1 win on second match-day of 2009/10 season. Roma clinched the return tie 2-1. Juventus won even more handsomely in 2008/09 season, the scoreline read 1-4 in favour of the Old Lady. Juve also won the home leg 2-0.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Fabio Quagliarella (Juventus)
Quagliarella can’t stop scoring goals for Juventus right now. He has scored goals in 3 back to back games now, including a stunning header against Milan. He is not a striker who hovers around the box; he is a hard worker who often comes down deep to help the midfield. If Quagliarella continues this kind of form, Juventus can very well make his loan move permanent.
Juventus 1-1 Roma
Based on current form, both teams can cancel each other out. Expect it to be an entertaining stalemate.