Giallorossi Not Good Enough For Old Lady
Roma v Juventus
Italy’s top two meet in the biggest game of the Serie A season when leaders Juventus travel to the capital with only Roma standing between the Old Lady and more precious silverware.
Despite a fractious 2-1 win over Feyenoord in Rotterdam on Thursday night which saw them reach the last 16 of the Europa League, Roma have struggled of late with only two wins inside 90 minutes in their last 11 games. Rudi Garcia’s side remain a tough nut to crack though and have lost just once in 20 outings in all competitions , so their problem has clearly been turning draws into wins, with nine of their last 13 ties finishing level excluding extra-time. They’ve subsequently fallen nine points behind Juve with Napoli now just three behind the Giallorossi in the table.
Adem Ljajic is the club’s top scorer this season with nine goals, which highlights the Romans’ struggles to find an out and out goalscorer.
After earning an important 2-1 lead in the first leg of their Champions League knockout clash against Borussia Dortmund in midweek, Juventus have now picked up eight wins in their last ten games.
A penalty shootout loss to Napoli in the Italian Supercup is the only defeat Massimo Allegri’s side have now suffered in their last 23 games in all competitions, and the club look on the verge of returning to the true elite of the European game should they carry the formidable performances in Italy into their other ties in the continent this season.
Carlos Tevez scored his 20th goal of the season against Dortmund on Tuesday, with the Argentine also leading the way in Serie A with 14 league goals.
The hosts will be sweating over the fitness of Alessandro Florenzi, Juan Iturbe and Maicon who are all doubtful while Kevin Strootman, Leandro Castan and Federico Balzaretti are definitely out of the crunch clash.
With Andrea Pirlo set for a spell on the sidelines after picking up a calf injury which saw him depart the action early against Dortmund, Juve will be desperate for Paul Pogba to shake off a knock in time to take his place from the start. Allegri is already without another trio of midfielders with Luca Marrone, Romulo and Kwadwo Asamoah still injured.
Head to Head
Juventus have won six of the last eight clashes between the pair, while there’s been only one draw between the pair in their last 11 meetings.
The home side came away with all three points when they played out a five-goal thriller last October in a game which featured three penalties – two of them scored by Tevez – and saw both finish with ten men. Both sides have failed to score in six of their last eight games too.
This is the last chance saloon for Roma and a must-win game if they are to have any chance of wrestling the title from their opponents’ clutches but I can’t see it as despite being unbeaten in the league at the Stadio Olimpico they’ve been undone when higher classes of opposition have come to the Italian capital and Juve are certainly in that category. A draw would suit the visitors just fine and at 23/10 they should be more than capable of getting just that, with a 1-1 scoreline available at 5/1.