Juventus will be looking to keep pace with Serie A leaders Inter Milan when they face off against AS Roma at Stadio Olimpico this weekend.
Reigning Serie A champions Juventus will be looking to keep the pressure on league leaders Inter Milan when they travel to the capital to take on fourth-placed AS Roma on Sunday night.
AS Roma are currently fourth in the Serie A standings following their 2-0 defeat to Torino last time out which ended a five-game unbeaten run. With the likes of Atalanta and Cagliari breathing down their necks, the Giallorossi will be looking to bounce back strongly and bag all three points when they host the champions on Sunday.
Juventus find themselves in the second position in the table, level on points with Inter, but could be three points behind by the time their game kicks off on Sunday. Last time they were in action, Maurizio Sarri’s men defeated Cagliari 4-0, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick. And they will be hoping for a similar outcome when they visit Rome this weekend.
Ahead of this mouth-watering contest coming our way from Stadio Olimpico, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Roma manager Paulo Fonseca will be without six first-team players for the weekend clash with Davide Zappacosta, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Federico Fazio, Javier Pastore, Justin Kluivert and Davide Santon. However, they have been boosted by the return of Bryan Cristante while Leonardo Spinazzola is also fit and available.
Given the long list of injuries, the manager is unlikely to rotate his troops when the champions come visiting. In goal, Pau Lopez is a certain starter while the experienced duo of Alessandro Florenzi and Aleksandar Kolarov will line up as the full-backs. Gianluca Mancini and on-loan defender Chris Smalling, who has been in solid form, will form the central defensive partnership.
The backline will be protected by the central midfield duo of Amadou Diawara and Jordan Veretout, with Lorenzo Pellegrini slotting in as the No. 10 to provide the creative thrust for the Giallorossi. The threat from the flanks will come from the immensely talented Nicolo Zaniolo and Diego Perotti, with Cengiz Under on the bench again.
Edin Dzeko is the undisputed choice as the lone centre-forward for Roma with Nikola Kalinic providing an option from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lopez; Florenzi, Mancini, Smalling, Kolarov; Diawara, Veretout; Zaniolo, Pellegrini, Perotti; Dzeko
Giorgio Chiellini and Sami Khedira remain sidelined for the trip to Rome, while Rodrigo Bentancur misses out with suspension. Gonzalo Higuain had a minor hamstring problem earlier in the week, but has recovered and is included in the squad named by manager Sarri.
The Juventus boss is expected to stick with the 4-3-1-2 formation with no major changes in personnel on the cards. That would mean marquee signing Matthijs de Ligt continues to remain on the bench with Merih Demiral and Leonardo Bonucci starting as the two centre-backs. Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro ought to continue as the full-backs for Juventus.
There is no looking past the ever-present figure of Miralem Pjanic in the deep lying playmaker role, while Adrien Rabiot and Blaise Matuidi will provide the legs in the engine room. Summer signing Aaron Ramsey will slot in as the lone attacking midfielder and look to string play together in the final third of the pitch.
Higuain scored coming off the bench last time out, but is unlikely to start again, with Sarri set to stick with the attacking partnership of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, Demiral, Sandro; Rabiot, Pjanic, Matuidi; Ramsey; Dybala, Ronaldo
- Juventus have failed to score in their last two away league games against AS Roma. The last time Roma kept three consecutive home clean sheets against Juventus came back in the 80’s.
- AS Roma won their last Serie A meeting with Juventus and could win two consecutive matches against the Bianconeri in the Italian top-flight for the first time since 1995.
- Juventus have won three of their last four Serie A away games (L1), as many wins as in their previous nine (D3 L3).
- AS Roma striker Edin Dzeko has scored his two Serie A goals against Juventus at Stadio Olimpico, including his first goal in the Italian top-flight in August 2015.
- Juventus have won three of their five league games when they have fallen behind this season, the joint-most in the division this campaign.
Player to Watch
The 34-year-old is coming into the game on high spirits after bagging a match-winning hat-trick against Cagliari last time out, his first treble in Serie A. Ronaldo has now scored 15 goals in 22 matches in all competitions, while also registering three assists.
He may not be the same force of nature he was just a couple of years ago, but Ronaldo remains as lethal as ever in front of goal and AS Roma will have their task cut out to keep him quiet.
AS Roma 1-1 Juventus
Juventus put in one of their finest performances of the season against Cagliari in the last matchday while Roma were handed a shock defeat by Torino. However, the hosts have been hard to beat, especially at home. Moreover, Juventus haven’t had the best of fortunes on their recent visits to the Stadio Olimpico, which is why we at The Hard Tackle are predicting this one to end in a 1-1 draw.