Two potential Serie A title challengers this season, Juventus and AS Roma are meeting early in the season and the result of the clash may well be a marker for events to come as far as the Scudetto title chances are concerned. Juventus will be welcoming Roma to their backyard at the Allianz Stadium in Turin on Saturday night.
While both sides are unbeaten going into the contest so far, Roma will be more hopeful about their chances given that they have already secured six points from a possible total six. Meanwhile, the hosts followed up victory on the opening day of the Serie A 2022/23 campaign with a disappointing draw last time around.
Juventus head coach Max Allegri found himself pegged back with a plethora of injuries on the club’s first match on the road this season. As a result, they struggled a lot against Sampdoria and were on the back foot for much of the first half. Both sides saw each other out in a goalless stalemate on Monday and seemed rather content about sharing the point following the contest.
Allegri resorted to his usual methods of cautious defence first against a well-drilled opposition. Without new summer signings Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria, Juventus struggled form a lack of creativity and barely managed to create any chances for their number Dusan Vlahovic, who cut a frustrated figure over the course of the night at the Marassi.
Because of the team’s sterile and impotent display away from home, Allegri was at the centre of criticism once again. The team’s performance looked highly disjointed and the Bianconeri continue to suffer from issues in buildup and during transitions. Ahead of the return to the UEFA Champions League this season, the fear is starting to take over the fans of the Turin-based outfit.
To their credit, the Old Lady of Turin certainly began the season in fine fashion. Argentine forward Angel Di Maria’s outrageous volley was the highlight of the show while Vlahovic scored a brace of goals, including converting a spot-kick, to seal a comfortable 3-0 victory at home.
However, Juventus failed to back up that success away from home against Sampdoria. Their quest for a first Scudetto title in three years after a decade of dominance will see another significant step on Saturday evening as they come head-to-head with Roma who are definite contenders for the top four this season.
Following victories both home and away last season, the Bianconeri can now claim to have won 86 of their 178 Italian top-flight encounters against AS Roma, including inflicting defeats on them in each of the last three. Max Allegri’s side can also boast about being denied all three points in clashes their Roman rivals only once in their last 11 meetings at the Allianz Stadium since its inauguration.
This time around, however, Roma have quite the asset in their arsenal. Former Juventus star Paulo Dybala is expected to be involved in much of the build up to the clash. After all the Argentine gem had been a coveted player for Juventus during their nine Scudetto titles in a row streak which was ended by Inter in 2021. Dybala’s return to Turin is unlikely to be as emotional as his tearful departure though.
In the early stages of the season, it looks to be that Paulo Dybala has already settled seamlessly into his new surroundings in the Eternal City of Rome after being greeted with a regal welcoming ceremony with thousands chanting his name and celebrating him with fireworks in the city. However, the mercurial left-footed Argentine is yet to get off the mark with Roma in the Serie A so far.
What’s funnier is the fact that the Giallorossi have discovered match-winners in less likelier sources in both their opening two contests in the domestic league this season. Bryan Cristante fired them to a 1-0 success against Salernitana before former Manchester United defender Chris Smalling headed home the deciding goal of the contest against Cremonese last weekend.
Although the scoreline may suggest that the Jose Mourinho-led side have been far from convincing with 1-0 scorelines in both their matches, actually no team has been able to attempt more shots on goal in the domestic league than Roma, or found the target more often, a record they share with Inter at 17 attempts. Fellow title challengers Juventus have managed only half their totals in both regards which just goes to show how much they have lacked in their final third.
With that being said, Salernitana and Cremonese represent relatively weaker opposition and it has certainly helped and aided their efforts. The club from the capital’s persistent struggles while facing the top six in Italy didn’t come to a conclusion even after the appointment of the charismatic and enigmatic Portuguese manager last season.
Besides a series of failures against the biggest teams in the Italian top flight, Mourinho also lost both the matches against the Bianconeri last season, including a nerve-wracking 4-3 loss at the Stadio Olimpico.
The past is past, though, and AS Roma have been busy spenders in the summer transfer window with their recruitment drive being quite eye-catching in Italy over the last few weeks. Mourinho will be expecting a far better beginning to the 2022-23 campaign and a win over arch-rivals Juventus will be an evidence of exactly that.
JUV vs ROM, Serie A 2022/23
Date: 27th August, 2022
Time: 10:00 PM IST
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Turin
Juventus Serie A form:
Juventus form (all competitions):
AS Roma Serie A form:
AS Roma form (all competitions):
Juventus wins: 86
AS Roma wins: 41
Juventus Team News:
The return of long-time regulars Leonardo Bonucci and Wojciech Szczesny on Saturday against Roma will ease much of the injury woes currently plaguing Juventus manager Max Allegri. The return of the duo is likely to bolster their defence significantly.
Szczesny will be in line to face his former club at the Allianz Stadium. He had saved a crucial penalty against them last season. Bonucci needs to pass a late fitness test and that is also likely to be the case for Daniele Rugani who is also close to recovering his fitness.
Juventus will miss Paul Pogba and Federico Chiesa for a long while given the gravity of their injuries. Meanwhile, Allegri will be tasked with selecting between young midfielder Fabio Miretti, who looked quite impressive in his came off the bench against Sampdoria, and more experienced players Weston McKennie and Adrien Rabiot.
Whoever does get the nod in midfield will have the difficult task of improving the hosts’ creativity and supply route to their frustrated number 9 Dusan Vlahovic. The Serbian recorded the fewest touches (35) of any outfield player to have played 180 minutes in Serie A this season which just goes to show how much he has been starved of chances.
AS Roma Team News:
AS Roma’s Paulo Dybala will definitely not be a stranger at the Allianz Stadium where is the top goal-scorer with 68 strikers across all competitions. He is also the 10th highest scorer in the history of the Old Lady of Turin in their Italian top-flight history and Dybala is expected to partner in-form Tammy Abraham in attack.
Jose Mourinho will be forced into making several changes as Nicolo Zaniolo is sidelined after suffering a dislocated shoulder recently while the recent arrival of Georginio Wijnaldum has been soured as he has broken a leg and will be out for several months.
In the absence of Zaniolo, Roman captain Lorenzo Pellegrini should take up a more advanced role in midfield in order to assist Dybala.
Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, Bremer, Sandro; Miretti, Locatelli, Rabiot; Cuadrado, Vlahovic, Kostic
AS Roma possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Matic, Cristante, Spinazzola; Pellegrini, Dybala; Abraham
Despite their horrific recent record against Juventus, AS Roma have actually registered victories in two of their three previous Serie A matches against the Bianconeri in the month of August – in 2015 and 2020. While good omens may count for little in the game of football, Roma will be desperate to take advantage of the fact that Juventus are missing several key players due to various issues.
However, Allegri’s side may have enough in them to thwart the Roman advances, especially after the returns of Bonucci and Szczesny. As a result, a stalemate could prove to be the most likely scenario in Turin this Saturday.