Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Prediction: Juventus vs Roma

Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 53/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

As club football springs back to action following the October international break this weekend, in the Serie A, Juventus are set to play host to AS Roma at the Allianz Stadium in Turin on Sunday evening, in what would be the last match of the eighth round of the campaign if it weren’t for Venezia and Fiorentina meeting 24 hours later.

Juventus

Having finally been beaten to the Serie A title by Inter Milan last term, the Old Lady seems nowhere near the right path towards reclaiming it. The start of the season has been anything but satisfactory for Massimiliano Allegri’s men, and they have a lot to do and to improve on if they want to be in the race.

Juventus were winless for the first four rounds as they drew 2-2 away to Udinese, lost 0-1 at home to Empoli, lost 2-1 away to Napoli and drew 1-1 at home against AC Milan. Things picked up from that point on, however, and they managed to beat Spezia away by 2-3, Sampdoria at home by 3-2, and following a little surprising Champions League triumph over Chelsea at home, they emerged victorious from the city derby as they beat Torino away 0-1.

The 11 points Juventus have won from these seven games have put them in seventh place at the moment. Lazio in sixth, Atalanta in eighth and Bologna in ninth have the same tally, while Fiorentina in fifth have 12.

Team News

Allegri won’t be able to call upon midfielders Adrien Rabiot (recently tested positive to COVID-19) and Aaron Ramsey (injury), as well as striker Alvaro Morata who is out with a torn muscle fibre.

The defence is likely to be marshalled by the experienced duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, though Matthijs de Ligt will also be hoping for a start. In the middle of the park, the absence of Rabiot and Ramsey means Weston McKennie could line up alongside Rodrigo Bentacour and Manuel Locatelli. Federico Chiesa, Paulo Dybala and Moise Kean seem the likeliest choice for the attacking line.

AS Roma

Roma appointed Jose Mourinho to take charge of the team this summer, and they expect the experienced Portuguese tactician to use his vast knowhow to turn them into a unit fighting regularly at the top-end of the table again.

The project started in the best way possible. Roma beat Fiorentina 3-1 at home on the opening day of the season, then smashed Salernitana away by 0-4, and beat Sassuolo at home 2-1. They beat CSKA Sofia in the first round of the Europa Conference League at home by 5-1, but then came the first defeat of the campaign as they travelled to Verona to get beaten 3-2. They followed that with a 1-0 win over Udinese at home, but then they lost to arch-rivals Lazio in the Derby of Rome by 3-2. Another European triumph came after that, 0-3 away to Zorya Luhansk, and they managed to build on that by beating Empoli 2-0 at home just before the international break.

Roma are currently fourth in the Italian top flight with 15 points, two less than Inter in third, three less than AC Milan in second, and six less than Napoli in the lead.

Team News

Mourinho won’t be able to count on centre-back Chris Smalling who is out with a hamstring problem, and left-back Leonardo Spinazzola who suffered an Achilles tendon rupture at the Euros this summer and isn’t expected back until the end of the year.

Striker Tammy Abraham had a bruised ankle recently, but he’s expected to be ready for Sunday, and he should be supported upfront by the trio of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Nicolo Zaniolo, and captain Lorenzo Pellegrini. Jordan Veretout seems nailed on to start in the middle of the park, with either Bryan Cristante or Ebrima Darboe by his side.

Roger Ibanez came on to replace the injured Smalling late in the match against Napoli and he is the obvious candidate to start in his place this time, alongside Gianluca Mancini.

Conclusion

The clashes between Juventus and Roma are rarely dull affairs, and this one is expected to be feisty given what either team would gain with a potential triumph; Roma could go above defending champions Inter in the table, while Juventus desperately need every point they can get to catch up.

Therefore, it would hardly be a surprise to see the spoils shared between the two teams.

Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 53/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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