Serie A: AS Roma vs. Juventus
Venue: Stadio Olympico, Rome
Date: Sunday, January 12, 2020
The biggest game in Italy this weekend sees second-placed Juventus take on fourth-placed Roma in a battle that both need to win. Juventus – who are tied with Inter on 45 points after 18 games each – need the victory to keep the pressure on their main title rival. Roma sits 10 points further back on 35 points, but they are trying to chase down Lazio (39 points) and stave off Atalanta (34 points) in the race for European football next term.
With the winter break having passed it is time for both of these squads to push on over the second half of the year. Roma – the home side here – may need the win more after a shocking defeat at home at the hands of Torino in their first game back after the break. The protracted rest period over Christmas can hurt teams that were in good form over the first half of the season, so manager Paulo Fonseca – in his debut season – will be looking for a response from his players here.
The Old Lady came out hot after their break, trouncing Cagliari 4-0 on Monday in a game they coasted through. They will be looking to keep taking the fight to an Inter team who have matched them blow for blow so far in the 2019-20 season.
The injury list remains the same for a Roma side that have impressed this year. Bryan Cristante is nearing fitness after an adductor muscle tear back in October, but he will not be risked just yet with plenty of big games to come over the next few months. Others missing for the Giallorossi include Davide Zappacosta, Davide Santon, and Javier Pastore.
The last time these two teams faced it was Roma coming out as the 2-0 winners with Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko sealing the victory in injury time.
Juventus were able to use the Christmas break to get most of their squad healthy again. This is a team that is still without the influential Giorgio Chiellini at the back, a player who is one of the best defenders in world football when fit and focused. They are also still missing German international midfielder Sami Khedira, with both of these players suffering long term injuries that have been accounted for in the squad by now.
The only other player out of contention is Rodrigo Bentancur who pissed up a 93rd-minute red card in a game in December and remains suspended for this one. Juventus really look like they are starting to play the kind of football that head coach Maurizio Sarri is known for, so watch out for some quick, flowing. passing football from the Old Lady on Sunday in Rome.
Roma was on a seven-match unbeaten run before the Torino defeat and they will be looking to get back to winning ways. Their price at BetXchange of 2.10 to win the game as underdogs certainly has value if you think they can get back to their form from before the winter break.