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AS ROMA

v

JUVENTUS

Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Sunday 30th Aug, 2015, 18:00 CET

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AS Roma have been presented with an excellent chance to end their poor recent run against Juventus when the two meet on Sunday. The titleholders are still caught in a rebuilding process and Roma should look to capitalize on it. Juventus and Roma have finished first and second in Serie A in each of the last two seasons and meetings between the two during that time have been dominated by the Turin side. Juve have dominated in last 10 league trips south, challenging the Giallorossi in their own backyard and winning six of those games while at the same time losing just once through a period stretching back to March 2005. Hosts Roma began the new Serie A campaign with a 1-1 draw at Hellas Verona last weekend, while Juventus were caught cold by Udinese in a sensational 1-0 defeat. It also represented a first home defeat for the Bianconeri since January 2013, when 10-man Sampdoria shocked the perennial Scudetto holders.

Team news and tactical brief

AS Roma

Roma are seen by many as the biggest threat to Juventus’ dominance over Italian football, but they cracked under pressure last season and saw their hopes of winning the title fade before the end of January. They managed to put together a strong run of four wins from six games in the final month of the campaign to seal a place in the Champions League, but there was an air of disappointment around the Stadio Olimpico. Rudi Garcia will be hoping that his team can get closer to Juventus this campaign, after finishing 17 points behind the Old Lady for the past two seasons. He has made a number of new additions to his playing squad, with the likes of Edin Dzeko, Mohamed Salah and Iago Falque brought in to bolster their attack. In the past 10 days the Giallorossi have also made a number of defensive signings, as Antonio Rudiger, Norbert Gyomber and Lucas Digne have all joined. However, despite the changes made by the club, they started their season with a 1-1 draw at Verona. Bosko Jankovic had given the Gialloblu the lead, but five minutes late, Alessandro Florenzi fired in to earn his side a point. They created numerous chances to score a second late on, but despite having 20 efforts on goal, they could not force a late winner. It was a familiar result for supporters of the club, as their team drew 13 games in the league last season, the highest of any club in the top six.

Many of Roma’s problems last term also came at home as they went on a frustrating spell between December and March without winning any of their league games at the Stadio Olimpico. Giallorossi coach Rudi Garcia hopes to have experienced defender Maicon back in the fold after his recovery from a knee injury which plagued him last term. Recent addition Lucas Digne is pencilled in for his debut at left-back following his transfer from Paris Saint-Germain. Fellow new boy Antonio Rudiger is expected to be out for ten days, while Kevin Strootmana s injury nightmare continues amid speculation that the Dutchman will be forced to undergo a third operation on his left knee in the space of 18 months. Florenzi, who has been covering at right-back is expected to play in a more advanced role in support of Dzeko and Salah.

Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Szczesny(GK); Maicon, Manolas, Castan, Digne; Pjanic, De Rossi, Nainggolan; Salah, Florenzi, Dzeko

Roma-Juve

Juventus

Massimiliano Allegri has been hard at work this summer to improve a squad that has waved goodbye to Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo, with the most recent exit coming in the shape of Fernando Llorente. The Old Lady have brought in Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado this week in a bid to forget the 1-0 opening day defeat to Udinese. Juventus can ill-afford to be four points down on their rivals, even at this early stage of proceedings. Despite losing key personnel over the summer, the general consensus is that the Scudetto is theirs to lose. They opened their campaign last weekend with a clash against Udinese. Things did not go according to plan though, as a late strike from Cyril Thereau condemned them to a shock 1-0 defeat in Turin. Massimiliano Allegri’s side had gone the past two seasons without suffering a home league defeat, a run that stretched to 47 games. The result has left many of their rivals sensing that the title race could be a much more open affair this season. But, Allegri has refused to panic and has said that he expects his team to bounce back quickly.

Massimiliano Allegri has a selection headache to contend with up front where he must decide whether to risk Juve star Alvaro Morata on his return from a calf problem. Midfielders Claudio Marchisio and Sami Khedira are both missing due to thigh injuries, along with long-term absentee Kwadwo Asamoah. Fresh arrival Alex Sandro from Porto appears likely to begin life with the Turin giants on the bench. Having dropped three points at home, Juventus will be hungry for a win tomorrow.

Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2): Buffon(GK); Chiellini, Bonucci, Barzagli; Lichtsteiner, Pogba, Sturaro, Pereyra, Evra; Morata, Mandzukic

Key Facts

  • This will be the 163rd meeting in Serie A between Roma and Juventus a the Bianconeri currently lead by 77 wins to 37 (48 draws).
  • No team have won more Serie A games against Roma than Juventus.
  • Roma have won only one of their last 10 Serie A games against Juventus (3D 6L): the last win was in February 2013 (1-0, Francesco Totti).

Players to Watch Out For

Edin Dzeko (AS Roma)

Verona vs Roma

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The Bosnian has the chance to announce himself to the Curva Sud, and for a player with vast experience of playing at the top level, he will take that chance. The 29-year-old grabbed himself 50 goals when at Manchester City including vital game changing strikes against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United.

Alvaro Morata (Juventus)

Juventus FC vs FC Barcelona

Juventus will welcome Alvaro Morata back to their starting lineup, after the striker missed last week’s game against Udinese.

Prediction

AS Roma 2a 1 AC Juventus

Both coaches must feel some sort of pressure going into this weeka s fixture. A win for either team may put the opposite coach under the microscope over the next few weeks. Roma starting off the season with one point in two games will not sit well with the fans in Curva Sud. Similarly, zero points in two games will make for a long journey back to Turin for Allegri. At the end of the day, Sundaya s fixture between the two Italian giants will make for a great game to watch.

Blast From the Past

Last seasona s corresponding fixture saw Roma bounce back to claim only their sixth point against the Bianconeri in a decade, thanks to Seydou Keitaa s equaliser after a Carlos Tevez opener.