24.01.2016 13:25 - in: Serie A S

    Roma on the road

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    Roma head to Juventus Stadium looking to improve their record in Turin and also their away form in general this season

    The expression goes that all roads lead to Rome yet going the other way and heading out of the capital has proved to be problematic for the Giallorossi so far this season and indeed, in the majority of their 81 visits to Turin to face Juventus. 

    For all of Roma’s recent pressure on top spot, twice pushing Juve to their very limits in the last two seasons, Sunday’s fixture is still one undoubtedly dominated by the Bianconeri.

    This evening’s visitors have returned home to the Eternal City with nothing to show for their efforts on 52 occasions, winning just a further seven times since their first northern triumph in March 1936.

    The good news for Juve fans and neutrals alike is that the visit of Roma is often accompanied by goals and plenty of them: the champions have found the target in all 12 of their previous home league appointments with their title rivals, averaging an impressive three goals per game.

    In fact, the best of the Piedmont action has come in the last decade, as Leonardo Bonucci’s spellbinding late winner in last season’s five-goal thriller was the 14th to bulge the Roma net at Juventus Stadium and the fourth game in a row in which the home side scored three times or more. 

    On a much smaller scale, the Giallorossi’s recent difficulties in the Old Lady’s front room have been symptomatic of their general form away from the Stadio Olimpico so far this campaign in spite of an excellent start.

    By mid-autumn, impressive victories at Frosinone (2-0), Palermo (4-2) and Fiorentina (2-1) had made last year’s runners-up prime contenders for the league title, at that time 12 points clear of Juventus.

    Since that win in Florence on 25 October, Roma’s struggles in breaking teams down and then taking the chances that do come their way (no other side can match the Gialllorossi’s total of 49 clear scoring chances created) have seen Serie A’s now fifth-placed side draw four and lose one of their last five away outings.

    The capital club’s tendency to draw games - second only to bottom club Verona for league stalemates this term (eight) - would ultimately contribute to the departure of French coach Rudi Garcia and spell the return of former boss Luciano Spalletti. 

    Famed for his swashbuckling and attacking style, it is hoped that Spalletti can re-energise the Giallorossi’s performances and create a replica of his 2005-09 Roma vintage that picked up a formidable 118 of a possible 231 points on the road in four seasons.

    Roughly speaking, a similar 50 per cent return in their remaining nine away fixtures this season would represent a solid base from which to force a way back into contention for the automatic Champions League places.

    Alessandro Del Piero's free-kick seals victory over Spalletti's Roma in 2008.

    That said, history would have it that a Spalletti-inspired upturn in travelling fortunes may have to wait another week as the 56-year-old former Udinese coach is yet to taste victory in any of his last 18 encounters with the Bianconeri, drawing three and losing 15.

    While the homecoming of Massimiliano Allegri’s opposite number may have experienced a false start in a 1-1 home draw with Verona last time out, any showdown between two of the country’s most successful sides rarely fails to disappoint. 

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