The Andrea Pirlo era got off to a great start last weekend as Juventus defeated Sampdoria 3-0. The Bianconeri now head south for an early season test against Roma. Coach Paulo Fonseca didn’t have the best start to the Serie A season. Roma drew 2-2 with Hellas Verona on matchday 1.
Unfortunately, the nil-nil result isn’t Fonseca or the club’s biggest problem. Following the game, it was revealed that Roma fielded an ineligible player, Amadou Diawara. Due to the infraction, an Italian sporting court awarded Hellas Verona a 3-0 win. Roma have appealed the decision, but they are unlikely to get the loss taken off of the results. The infraction can from a clerical error that listed Diawara (23) as part of the club’s U22 squad.
So, this is the backdrop to Roma’s weekend fixture with Juventus. The Giallorossi could find themselves truly behind the eight ball with a second loss of the season. It stings even more as city rival Lazio fought for the Scudetto last season and will play Champions League football this time around.
Roma have claimed a result in three of their last six games against Juventus in all competitions. They won in 2019-20 in Turin. Can the Giallorossi claim a second straight win versus the reigning champions?
Roma and Juventus played three times in 2019-20 in all competitions. Juventus went to the Stadio Olimpico and won 2-1 thanks to first-half goals from Merih Demiral and Cristiano Ronaldo (penalty). The Bianconeri were 2-0 up after 10 minutes. Roma pulled a goal back thanks to a Diego Perotti penalty in the 68th minute, but that was as close as they got.
Juventus won in Turin in the Coppa Italia 3-1 in January with all of their goals coming in the first half. Roma again won the second half of the fixture, scoring in the second period. The teams once again posted a 3-1 final in their third match of the campaign.
Roma went to Turin and came from behind to win. Juventus’s Gonzalo Higuain scored five minutes into the game, but Nikola Kalinic levelled on 23 minutes. Diego Perotti scored from the spot just before halftime. The Argentine added a second goal seven minutes after the restart.
It is worth noting that the two league fixtures featured three penalties. Two of those penalties went to Roma and were converted by Perotti. The winger is nearly automatic from the spot.
Roma coach Fonseca is still putting his squad together. The coach wants to add another centre-back and has two players at the top of his list. Chris Smalling was on loan at the club last season and made a great impression. Roma want to sign him permanently, but so far, Manchester United have rejected their bid. In-demand Barcelona prospect Jean-Claire Todibo is also on their wishlist. Todibo is wanted by several clubs despite being injury- and error-prone at Schalke last season.
Fonseca chose to play Henrikh Mkhitaryan as a centre-forward against Hellas Verona last weekend. Mkhitaryan started ahead of Eden Dzeko, who never got off the bench. The move helped Roma attack the Hellas Verona goal but did nothing to get goals. Roma tallied 21 shots with four on target against Hells Verona. Of course, in retrospect of the game, Roma forfeited due to Diawara’s inclusion.
Juventus sealed a season-long loan deal for striker Alvaro Morata this week. The striker played from Juventus for two seasons previously before moving back to Real Madrid and on to Chelsea. Morata has made a career of being a highly rated second-choice striker. However, when given the chance to be a club’s first-choice, has failed.
Gianluca Frabotta started on matchday 1 for the injured Alex Sandro. Weston McKennie also got a start along with Aaron Ramsey. Pirlo opted for a 3-5-2 formation, much like what he played under during his time at Juventus.
Both teams to score - BET NOW
Roma and Juventus played three exciting games in 2019-20 in all competitions. Each game saw both teams score goals. The club combined for 11 goals across their three games last term. Although Roma’s game against Hellas Verona ended nil-nil on the pitch (3-0 due to forfeit) they had loads of chances. Juventus thump Sampdoria 3-0. They should have their shooting boots on playing in Pirlo’s attack-minded formation.
Over 2.5 goals scored - BET NOW
All three matches between Roma and Juventus in 2019-20 ended with over 2.5 goals scored. These teams put on thrillers last term and each game was perfect for neutral fans to watch. Five of the last 11 games in all competitions between Roma and Juventus finished with over 2.5 goals scored. Juventus will be goal hungry on Sunday just as they were on matchday 1 versus Sampdoria.
Roma to score a penalty - BET NOW
Roma scored a penalty in both Serie A games against Juventus last season. There were three penalties across the two games with Juventus scoring one of them through Cristiano Ronaldo and Roma scoring two spot kicks thanks to Diego Perotti. The Argentine winger is nearly automatic from the spot. So, if he is on the pitch, should be the player to take the penalty.
Roma have actually been good against Juventus in recent seasons. They are unbeaten in four of the last seven Serie A matches against the Bianconeri. Three of Roma’s last four home league matches finished in a positive result. Don’t sleep on Roma this weekend. Having to retrospectively forfeit the match could be a mental problem that is difficult for Roma’s squad to overcome.
Still, Pirlo is in his first month of coaching the squad in league games. This is his biggest test and a poor result could set the coach team back. Juventus should claim a win, but Roma could sneak a draw in the end.
19:45 on Sunday 27 September.