As the Italian Serie A giants continue their climb to the UEFA Champions League qualifying ladder, seventh-placed Roma welcomed fifth-placed Juventus to Rome.
The fifth-placed Juventus are on a winning streak, having not lost in six of their six league games.
The seventh-placed Roma, however, are in trouble, having won only two of their six previous league games.
Both teams hope to challenge for the title in this season’s edition.
Although Juventus has recovered from a bad start to the campaign it still trails Inter Milan by 11 points.
Jose Mourinho’s Roma is also 14 points behind the top spot.
Juventus began the year with a draw against Napoli, after a positive 2021. The result was not ideal for the Italian giants. They are still three points behind fourth-placed Atalanta, despite having played one more match.
Allegri’s men must win this game if they want to achieve their first win in 2022. They would need to score three points to keep the pressure on the top four and frustrate the competition.
Roma is currently three points behind their opponents this weekend and is just 32 points behind Juventus. Due to disappointing results against Sampdoria, AC Milan, and others, the Giallorossi have lost all hope of reaching the top four.
They could fall to eighth in the league if they slip again on Sunday, behind Lazio and Juventus. Jose Mourinho’s team has already suffered defeat at Juventus in the other fixture. Moise Keane was the only difference between them.
News from the team
Surprisingly, the fortunes of the two teams were very different when play resumed following the mid-term break.
Juventus’ 1-1 draw against third-placed Napoli at home on Thursday is to be commended.
Roma defeated a weak AC Milan side 3-1 on the road.
Roma’s Dutch defender Rick Karsdorp was sent off, as was Gianluca Mancini, their center-back.
Mourinho has experienced mixed fortunes since he took his high-profile roadshow through Roma.
His team was inconsistent after a strong start. This is not a normal situation for any team under Mourinho.
Juventus has been a strong defensive team, conceding only two goals in six games unbeaten and scoring four.
This indicates that Max Allegri, coach, is helping to stabilize the team and is ready for the next season after a disappointing start since his return to the club last year.
The most interesting opportunity is Tammy Abraham, Roma’s English striker scoring first at a tempting price of +700
He has scored seven goals this season since he arrived at Roma from Jose Mourinho’s former club Chelsea.
Roma’s usually strong home form has been inconsistent in recent years.
It has only won once at Stadio Olimpico in its three previous games.
Roma ranks fifth overall in the competition, with six wins and two draws, as well as two defeats at home. They were defeated 3-0 by Inter Milan on December 4.
In the meantime, Juventus was defeated on the road by Verona in a surprising 2-1 loss on 30 October.
Juventus has beaten Bologna and Salernitana on the road since then and they have managed a draw in Venice.
Although none of these teams has provided top-class opposition, it is clear that Juventus has found some consistency in recent weeks that may prove difficult to break in Rome.
This site has the fifth-best away record, with five wins and three draws, and just two losses.
It has not been able to score enough goals. They have only scored 28 goals in the top half.
However, Inter and Napoli are the leaders in conceding fewer goals than Juventus’ 18.
In this match, however, Juventus will not be able to field Leonardo Bonucci, an international center-back from Italy.
Atalanta currently holds the fourth and final Champions League qualification slot.
Roma is now in an increasing gap to Champions League qualification, with only 32 points.
Roma has not won in the three previous meetings between the sides.
When the two sides last met in Turin, Juventus won 1-0 earlier this season.
Roma hasn’t won any of the three previous meetings between these sides.
Two Roma players, Rick Castorp (AFCON) and Gianluca Mancini (AFCON) were both sent off in the previous match against Milan. They were both suspended from that match and included in the club’s absentees list, along with Ebrima Jarboe (AFCON), Amadou Diawara (AFCON), Borja mayoral, and Daniel Fauzzato.
Castorp’s absence should be Mourinho’s excuse to let Ainsley Maitland-Niles made his Roma debut. The Englishman, who recently joined Roma on loan, will likely play at right wingback. His attack and partnership with Matthias Vina, left-wingback, could be a big help in creating opportunities for Roma in the last third.
It wasn’t surprising to see Maitland -Niles moved into the middle of the field to support Bryan Cristante, Jordan Veretout, and Lorenzo Pellegrini as a second-line defense. Veretout, Cristante and Pellegrini should play a defensive role to break Juventus’ play and clean up any loose balls in midfield. Pellegrini will likely be more offensive.
Tammy Abraham and Niccolo Zaniolo should benefit from the creativity and technical abilities of the Italian. Pellegrini should be accompanied by Zaniolo in the defensive phase. Abraham will serve as the sole striker.
Talking of defense, Mancini’s suspension means Marasz Kumbra and Roger Ibans will form Roma’s three-back line. The Giallorossi will play a defensive game of low quality, to frustrate a sometimes uncreative Juventus attack.
Possible lineup (3-5-2). Possible lineup (3-5-2).
Juventus was forced to deal with injury issues of their own, with Leonardo Bonucci unavailable and Danilo unable. The good news is that Giorgio Chiellini has returned to contention, despite submitting a negative result.
He could reclaim his spot at the center of Juventus’ defense alongside Matthias De Light. Allegri confirmed that Juan Cuadrado would start at right-back as Luca Pellegrini was not well enough to play the full 90 minutes. The defender will likely be substituted later in the match.
There should be no changes at left-back with Alex Sandro likely getting the nod ahead of Mattia de Sciglio. Roma’s backline could be at risk from the Brazilian’s aggressive runs, particularly against debutant Maitland-Niles.
Allegri might be tempted to make a change in midfield as the Italian is eyeing a crucial Italian Super Cup final against Inter Milan. Adrien Rabiot may leave to make way for Rodrigo Bentancur, who will form a three-man midfield team with Weston McKennie & Manuel Locatelli.
McKennie should be able to move in any direction he wants. It will be interesting for Allegri to decide how he picks his attacking personnel. Paulo Dybala may take a bit longer to get back to full fitness. The Italian tactician will continue to use Federico Bernardeschi’s wide attacking duo, Federico Chiesa and Alvaro Morata as his frontline, which should make it more difficult for him to be a good tactician.
Line-ups possible (4-3-3). Szczesny; Cuadrado, Chiellini, De Ligt, Sandro; Bentancur, Locatelli, McKennie; Bernardeschi, Morata, Chiesa
The key stats
Juventus has won seven of nine matches against Roma in the league and is unbeaten in the other two. The last time Juventus beat Roma in Serie A was in 2014.
Roma has been beaten by Juventus the most in Serie A (84) while Inter is second with 270 goals against them.
Roma has won three of the six league home matches against Juventus in the last six seasons – Napoli is the only team that has won more home games than Roma since 2015/16.
Roma won only two of their six home games in Serie A this year; despite this, the Giallorossi have kept five more clean sheets in home games.
Roma hasn’t won their two previous league games. They could continue their three-match winless streak under Mourinho. The last time this happened in Serie A was May 2021 when Paulo Fonseca was in charge (four matches).
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