Roma vs. Juventus: Match Preview
A draw with Torino in the Derby della Mole last weekend – followed by victories for Napoli and Roma – scuppered chances of any earlier title celebrations but with the Bianconeri facing off against the capital club on Sunday, the Scudetto picture is now ever so simple.
With the Giallorossi and Partenopei seven and eight points behind respectively with three games remaining, a positive result at the Stadio Olimpico would be enough for Juve to seal a sixth consecutive league crown due to their superior head-to-head record over both teams.
Doing so with a win against a Roma side that has become the Bianconeri’s closest rivals for the title in the past six seasons would obviously be more satisfying, as well as breaking a run of two successive draws for Massimiliano Allegri’s men.
Sunday’s match will be the second in the space of three seasons in which the Old Lady has travelled to Rome with the Scudetto in mind.
With the title already wrapped up weeks before, Dani Osvaldo’s 94th minute winner on Matchday 37 of the 2013/14 season set Juve on course to break the Serie A record for points earned in a single campaign (102).
FIRST MEETS SECOND
It goes without saying that Juventus and Roma have consistently been the two best teams in the Italian top flight this term, a notion firmly backed up by the pair’s statistics.
They say that strikers win you matches and defences win you trophies and that notion seems to apply to Serie A so far this term with Juve boasting by far the nation’s best rearguard record (23 goals conceded), followed by Roma (32).
While the Giallorossi have attempted more shots than any other side (618), the Bianconeri have conceded the fewest to their opponents (321). Luciano Spalletti’s men have found the net 79 times this season however, eight more than Allegri’s.
Although likely to miss the game through injury, Roma’s Edin Dzeko leads the way for home goals so far (17) with Juve’s Gonzalo Higuain among Serie A’s leading scorers on the road (11), bettered only by Napoli’s Dries Mertens (13).
As it happens, Higuain is one short of equalling Omar Sivori’s 56-year old record of 25 for goals scored in a single league season. The Argentine has five games to muster the five required strikes to match Felice Borel’s all-time record of 37 for goals in all competitions.
LAST TIME OUT
Juventus equaled their own record for consecutive home league victories (25) by defeating Roma in December, racking up a total of 100 Serie A points in 2016 in the process.
And, not for the first time this term , the Bianconeri had Gonzalo Higuain to thank, the number 9 smashing superbly past Wojciech Szczesny on 14 minutes, a strike that remains a prime contender for goal of the season.
A win for Roma that night would have seen them go to within one point of Juve, the pre-Christmas meeting marking the only time they have truly been within striking distance of the reigning champions. Over the past five months since the gap has remained largely at seven.
Generally, Juventus’ record against Roma makes fine reading for fans of a Bianconeri persuasion, especially in recent times.
Fifteen victories, five draws and three defeats paint a predominantly positive picture over the last 12 years. Moreover, Juve have only once failed to find the net in this timeframe: February 2013 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
That said, the Giallorossi have got the better of the Old Lady on home turf more often than not in Serie A, winning 30 times to 25.
What’s more, they have lost just one of their last five encounters with Juve at the Olimpico, never conceding more than once in all of them.
Only a home win remember will take the title race to the last two weekends of the season.
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