Juventus vs Roma: Preview and Prediction
Juventus will face fellow Scudetto contenders Roma at the Allianz Stadium in an early clash between potential title contenders on Saturday. The teams meet in Turin with the visitors having accumulated the most points thus far, while Juve followed their opening-day victory in Serie A with a disastrous draw the previous time out.
Depleted by injuries for their first road trip of the season, Juventus struggled for much of the first half of Monday’s stalemate with Sampdoria before seemingly settling for a point in the second. Without the magic of summer signings, Angel Di Maria and Paul Pogba to inspire them and create chances for a frustrated Dusan Vlahovic, who barely touched the ball at Marassi, Max Allegri’s men appeared to revert to type against well-drilled opposition.
Allegri was chastised after the game for his team’s disjointed performance, and old fears are resurfacing among fans ahead of the club’s upcoming return to the Champions League. Juve’s quest for their first Serie A title in three years continues on Saturday evening when they face rivals for a place in the top four after failing to follow up an impressive 3-0 win at home to Sassuolo.
Following home and away victories last season, the Bianconeri have won 85 of their 176 top-flight meetings with Roma, including the last three. Furthermore, they have only been denied maximum points once in 11 games at the Allianz Stadium since its inception.
This time, Juve’s visitors from the capital bring with them a once-cherished player from the club’s nine-in-a-row Scudetti streak – which Inter ended in 2021 – but Paulo Dybala’s return to Turin is unlikely to be as emotional as his tearful departure. While Dybala appears to have settled in seamlessly in the Eternal City, having received a regal welcome upon arrival, the mercurial maestro has yet to score for Roma in Serie A.
Indeed, the Giallorossi’s match-winners in their first two games came from unexpected sources, with Bryan Cristante firing them to victory at Salernitana and Chris Smalling heading home the winner against Cremonese last weekend.
So far, no team has attempted more shots on goal or found the target more frequently (17, tied with Inter), while Juventus has managed roughly half their totals in both categories.
However, playing against relatively weak opposition has undoubtedly aided their cause, and the capital club’s ongoing struggles against the top six did not end with the appointment of their charismatic coach last summer.
Jose Mourinho lost both games against Juventus last season, including a spectacular 4-3 defeat at Stadio Olimpico, in addition to a string of other defeats against Calcio’s heavyweights. Following an eye-catching recruitment drive in recent weeks, he will be expecting far more in the 2022-23 season, which begins this weekend in Turin.
What have they done so far?
Following back-to-back fourth-place finishes, Massimiliano Allegri’s side got the new league campaign off to a flying start as marquee striker Dusan Vlahovic notched up a double in a 3-0 thumping of Sassuolo. However, the Bianconeri could only manage a tepid scoreless draw at Sampdoria last time out, with Adrien Rabiot’s second-half opener disallowed for offside in the build-up.
On the other hand, Jose Mourinho’s bid to steer Roma back into the Serie A top four for the first time since 2017/18 has started on a strong footing following last season’s historic Europa Conference League triumph.
Led by former Juventus hero Paulo Dybala, the Giallorossi have put together a pair of 1-0 victories over Salernitana and Cremonese in the opening two league matches.
Juventus manager Max Allegri should be able to recall both Leonardo Bonucci and Wojciech Szczesny on Saturday, significantly bolstering his defensive options.
The latter is set to face his former club, against whom he saved a crucial penalty last season, while Bonucci would take the place of Daniele Rugani if he is declared fit in time.
Still, without Paul Pogba and long-term absentee Federico Chiesa, Allegri is reportedly considering bringing in young midfielder Fabio Miretti, who impressed in a cameo off the bench against Sampdoria, with Weston McKennie and Adrien Rabiot both under threat.
Dusan Vlahovic has had the fewest touches (35) of any outfield player to have played 180 minutes in Serie A this season, so whoever makes up the hosts’ central trio will be tasked with improving the supply line for those labouring up front.
Roma’s Paulo Dybala, who returns to a stadium where he is the top goalscorer in all competitions, is a forward accustomed to scoring freely in Turin (68). He is also Juventus’ 10th highest scorer in top-flight history, and he will start in the visitors’ attack alongside Tammy Abraham.
Jose Mourinho must make changes, however, because Nicolo Zaniolo is out again with a dislocated shoulder, and recent arrival Georginio Wijnaldum is also out for several months with a broken leg. In the absence of the former, captain Lorenzo Pellegrini should take on a more advanced role alongside Dybala.
Head to Head Record
In 34 head-to-head encounters between the two sides, Juventus hold a clear advantage. They have won 21 games, lost eight and drawn five.
The two clubs last faced each other earlier this year in Serie A, with Juventus beating Roma 4-3. Goals from Argentine attacker Paulo Dybala, midfielder Manuel Locatelli, Swiss winger Dejan Kulusevski and full-back Mattia De Sciglio secured victory for Juventus. Juve’s former Dutch centre-back Matthijs de Ligt was sent off in the second half of that match.
English striker Tammy Abraham, Armenian attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan and midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini scored consolation goals for Roma.
Predicted Starting XIs
Juventus (4-3-3): Wojciech Szczesny; Mattia De Sciglio, Leonardo Bonucci, Gleison Bremer, Alex Sandro; Weston McKennie, Manuel Locatelli, Fabio Miretti; Moise Kean, Dusan Vlahovic, Filip Kostic
AS Roma (3-4-2-1): Rui Patricio; Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, Roger Ibanez; Rick Karsdorp, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Bryan Cristante, Leonardo Spinazzola; Paulo Dybala, Stephan El Shaarawy; Tammy Abraham
The last time this iconic pairing met it produced an all-time Serie A classic to go alongside the dusty highlight reels littered with Gabriel Batistuta, Alessandro Del Piero and the rest.
If Saturday’s showpiece affair is going to offer a fraction of that excitement, Roma will be the driving force. In a meeting between two teams that will surely struggle to live up to their lofty ambitions for the upcoming campaign, they may cancel each other out on Saturday night.