This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
Assessment: Total number of goals below 2.5
Best odds: 10/11
The race for the top four places in Serie A this season is heating up, and on Sunday at the Stadio Olimpico AS Roma welcomes Juventus in the 20th league match in the campaign for both sides, and one who could answer a question or two regarding just this fight.
Roma are definitely the team that has more to lose if this match ends in defeat for them. Currently, Jose Mourinho’s team is in seventh place with 32 points, the same number as Fiorentina and city rivals Lazio on both sides, three less than Juventus in fifth place and six fewer than Atalanta in fourth place.
There has rarely been a dull season when the experienced Portuguese tactician is in charge of a team. It started well enough with five wins from the first five games, but the performance and results quickly began to decline. The biggest shock came in the form of a 6-1 defeat against Norwegian Bodo / Glimt in the Europa Conference League in October, and it was just as surprising as the Romans did not manage to beat the Norwegian team at home. . Nevertheless, Roma secured progress by topping the group in the end.
Roma’s last six matches in all tournaments include a 0-3 defeat at home to league leaders Inter Milan, a 2-3 victory over CSKA in Sofia in the ECL, a 2-0 home victory over Spezia, a surprising but very welcome 1- 4 triumph away to Atalanta, a 1-1 draw at home to Sampdoria and a 3-1 defeat to AC Milan earlier this week. Olivier Giroud (penalty) and Junior Messias gave the hosts a two-goal lead within 17 minutes and Tammy Abraham halved the 40th Rafael Leao should have the last word for Rossoneri in the 81st as Zlatan Ibrahimovic failed to score from the spot late. Center-back Gianluca Mancini and wing-back Rick Karsdorp were both sent off in that match through double bookings.
Roma have reportedly finalized everything around the signing of Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan from Arsenal, including signing his contract, and the 24-year-old appears to be available for Mourinho on Sunday, although there is still no official confirmation from the. association. Other than that, even though the deal has been made, it remains to be seen whether Mourinho would be willing to count on a player who could hardly have had adequate training with the rest of the team.
Karsdorp and Mancini are of course both unavailable after the red cards received against Milan. Striker Borja Mayoral and goalkeeper Daniel Fuzato have recently been tested positive for COVID-19 and are isolating themselves. Midfielders Amadou Diawara and Ebrima Darboe has been called up to represent Guinea and Gambia at the African Cup of Nations respectively. Leonardo Spinazzolla has been absent with an Achilles tendon rupture since the European Championships last summer and he is not expected back until a month or so later.
If Maitland-Niles is considered ready to play, he can play directly into start-11 instead of Karsdorp on the right wingback; if not, it will likely be a choice between Davide Santon’s experience and Bryan Reynolds’ youth. In the absence of Mancini, Chris Smalling and Roger Ibanez are likely to be joined by Marash Kumbulla in the backline. Jordan Veretout and Bryan Cristante should occupy the two central midfield positions with Mathias Vina on the left. In advance, Abraham should be supported by Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolo Zaniolo.
After winning the Serie A title for nine seasons in a row, Juventus have finally been deprived of the crown by Inter Milan last time and they have lost a lot of ground in their attempts to regain it this season. It’s not impossible, but they are highly unlikely to make it.
As has been said above, the old lady is currently in fifth place with 35 points, 11 behind Inter at the top, 10 behind AC Milan in second place, and five behind Napoli in third place and three behind Atalanta in fourth place. If they can manage to win a Champions League place, that will probably be all they can do from this perspective, and even that is far from guaranteed.
If there is one thing that bodes well for Massimiliano Allegri and his men, it is that their form has improved recently. They have not lost a match since November, and their last six victories consist of a 2-0 home win over Genoa, a 1-0 Champions League triumph over Malmö, a 1-1 draw away against Venice, a 0-2 win at away to Bologna, a 2-0 home win over Cagliari and a 1-1 draw at home to Napoli. Dries Mertens equalized for the visitors in the 23rd minute, and Federico Chiesa equalized in the 54th.
When it comes to the transfer market, there has been a lot of talk about Juventus and that is hardly a surprise. Recent reports suggest that Barcelona have made contact with striker Alvaro Morata, and Mino Raiola, who represents defender Matthijs de Ligt, has been raising dust for some time. On the other hand, it has been said that Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic is in favor of a move to Torino ahead of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, after rejecting an offer of a new contract to stay in Florence. However, it has also been said that Manchester City can still decide to step into the fight for the signature of the Serbian national team player. Midfielder Aaron Ramsey is also linked with departure, with a return to the Premier League identified as the most likely option.
Giorgio Chiellini, who received COVID-19 last week, should be available again after testing negative for the virus. On the other hand, Allegri may choose not to risk his veteran captain now with the Supercoppa Italiana against Inter coming on Wednesday.
In that case, De Ligt could form a pair with Daniele Rugani at the heart of the defense, as was the case against Napoli. Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro are likely to be on the defensive side. Rodrigo Bentacur, Manuel Locatelli and Weston McKennie seem to be the obvious choice for midfield three, although Adrien Rabiot and Arthur are also in contention. Morata should lead the line in advance with Federico Bernardeschi on one flank, but it is still unknown whether Allegri risks Chiesa, who recently returned from an injury and appears to be lacking in fitness at the moment, or gives it space to Paulo Dybala .
A Juventus victory would greatly reduce Roma’s chances of finishing in the top four, but the old lady does not really have to win this match – they simply must not lose, otherwise they will let Mourinho’s team back in the match. fray fully. Roma, on the other hand, need to win and they will probably go all out to get there.
This is one of those matches that could go in all directions, but at the moment it looks like Juventus are getting what they want. There should not be many goals in it.
Assessment: Total number of goals below 2.5
Best odds: 10/11