With all eyes of the world on this evening’s clash of the titans, every one of the players set to take to the pitch at the Stadio Olimpico will want to put in a performance for all the right reasons.
As the title race starts to hot up with spring approaching, a victory for second-placed Roma would see them close the gap on the reigning champions to only six points, with 39 still to play for.
Rudi Garcia’s men will also be eager to get one over their old rivals following October’s five-goal thriller which was decided by Leonardo Bonucci’s blockbuster effort in the latter stages of the game at Juventus Stadium.
Determined to put on a good display in front of their home faithful and end a winless hoodoo in the capital that dates back to the end of November, here are the Giallorossi Juventus.com thinks will endeavour to prove the difference: midfield metronome Miralem Pjanic, tricky winger Gervinho and captain Francesco Totti.
Name: Miralem Pjanic
Position: Central midfielder
Playmaker Miralem Pjanic keeps things ticking behind the Giallorossi frontmen and is an imposing presence at the heart of their midfield. A fully fledged Bosnian international, he made his name in France with both Metz and Lyon before joining Roma in August 2011.
He is dangerous from dead-ball situations and adept with both his dribbling and passing abilities. Known for his lung-busting runs forward from deep, Pjanic is also able to thread exquisite through balls and likes to bring his team-mates into play.
During his time in Italy’s capital, the 24-year-old has had a hand in 36 of the Giallorossi’s goals, either by scoring or assisting, proving his importance to Roma’s domestic and European title aspirations.
One for statistics buffs to enjoy, the midfield schemer has already equalled the amount of assists he managed in the whole of last season (six) and is the player to have completed the most passes in the opposition’s half this term (894).
Position: Attacking midfielder/Forward
Ivorian winger Gervinho enjoyed a fantastic debut term with Roma last time out after ending a disappointing two-year spell in London with Premier League outfit Arsenal.
The 27-year-old, who was instrumental in Garcia’s Lille squad that secured a domestic double in 2011, joined the Gunners after scoring 36 times in 93 games. He was unable to stamp his mark with the English team and rejoined his old manager in Italy over 18 months ago.
A speedy individual blessed with the capacity to give opposition defenders nightmares thanks to his mazy dribbling skills, Gervinho was also a prominent figure in the Ivory Coast’s victorious Africa Cup of Nation’s campaign earlier this year, chipping in with two goals in four matches.
If he features during tonight’s encounter, it would serve as Gervinho’s 50th Serie A appearance and he’d want to cap that milestone off in style with a vintage performance.
Name: Francesco Totti
Position: Attacking midfielder/Forward
Skipper and talisman Francesco Totti has been a one club man ever since he made his debut way back in 1992. The 38-year-old, who was part of Italy’s World Cup winning side almost a decade ago, has notched 235 league goals in over 500 appearances for the Giallorossi during a 22-year spell.
With his strikes making him the second all-time highest goalscorer in Serie A history behind ex-Bianconeri forward Silvio Piola, Er Pupone is one of the division’s living legends and continues to roll back the years with every passing match he plays.
In recent seasons, Totti has been deployed in more of a false-nine role rather than his conventional attacking midfielder position and became the oldest scorer in Champions League history when he netted Roma’s equaliser against Manchester City back in October.
Totti, who possesses expert passing ability and is a menace from set pieces, has nine goals against the Bianconeri, five of which have come courtesy of the penalty spot. The number ten will want to make it a perfect ten as he attempts to lead his charges to victory in tonight’s battle.