15th February 2013
With Roma sitting in 9th place in the Serie A standings, this match cannot really be called a derby, although the Giallorossi have enough quality to put a dent into Juventus’ title hopes. Boosted by the 3-0 win over Celtic at Parkhead, the Bianconeri will fancy their chances of winning at Stadio Olimpico.
The squad rebuilding process is proving to be more difficult than anyone expected, with boss Zdenek Zeman already paying the price for the disappointing results. Roma have shown a great deal of attacking potential, with their attacking record second to none in Serie A, but the fact they also boast the worst defensive record in the top flight is definitely a cause for concern. We cannot really say that the likes of Piris, Marquinho, Castan and Balzaretti are poor defenders, but they have become victim to team’s attack-minded style of play and the lack of true balance in the side. Interim boss Aurelio Andreazzoli had a poor start to his career at Stadio Olimpico, losing to Sampdoria at Marassi, although who knows how things would have unfolded had Pablo Osvaldo scored from a penalty to make it 1-1. The striker, who was given a lot of flack for his decision to obey orders and take the aforementioned penalty, is likely to miss out through injury, and with Mattia Destro also sidelined, team’s captain and designated penalty taker Francesco Totti is set to be deployed as a lone striker.
Juventus are on the way to make this one of their most successful seasons in recent history, but they cannot afford to relax just yet as Serie A title is certainly not in the bag. The Coppa Italia defeat to Lazio seems to have served as a true wake-up call for the Bianconeri, seeing they went on to restore a five-point lead at the top of the league standings with back to back wins over Chievo and arch rivals Fiorentina, before recording a 3-0 win over Celtic in the first leg of their Champions League Last 16 stage tie. With crunch tie against Napoli at San Paolo just around the corner, Juventus need to keep hold of their advantage at the top if they want to avoid any surprises, which makes the Roma game a very important for Antonio Conte’s side. The talented manager is without suspended Giorgio Chiellini, but Kwadwo Asamoah is set to start after returning from Africa Cup of Nations duty.
With Roma’s league games featuring no less than 95 goals, which is one goal shy of a four-goal average, their clash against leaders Juventus is expected to provide premium entertainment. It is for that reason that over 2.5 goals looks the obvious choice here.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 8/11
Bookmaker: Paddy Power
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