Juventus will host Roma this weekend in an enticing clash on Matchday 21 of Serie A. Roma currently sits at 3rd with 40 points from 20 games. Juventus are at 4th with 39 points from 19 games. Easily the game of the weekend in the competition as both the clubs look to close in on table-toppers AC Milan.
While Juventus have not looked very convincing under Andrea Pirlo, they still have managed to snatch wins. If not only for the 6 draws that Juve played, they would have been closer to AC Milan and maybe holding the top spot. Roma, on the other hand, has been very impressive under Paulo Fonseca considering. This has been despite the absence of their talented youngster Nicolo Zaniolo due to a knee injury.
Juventus come on the back of a strong performance in the 1st leg of the Coppa Italia semifinal against Inter Milan. They won 2-1, courtesy of 2 goals by Cristiano Ronaldo. Their recent form in Serie A has been splendid. Victories against Bologna and Sampdoria will certainly build their confidence.
Roma enters this contest having won their previous two games against Verona and Spezia. Real Madrid loanee Borja Mayoral has delivered sparkling performances in both games bagging 3 goals and an assist.
The previous encounter between these two sides in Serie A resulted in a 2-2. Adrien Rabiot was sent off for Bianconeris. Cristiano Ronaldo and Jordan Veretout were on target for both sides, bagging 2 goals apiece.
Team News and Lineups
The Bianconeri looks like a settled outfit with Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata upfront. Rodrigo Bentaur is suspended from the match. Hence, Arthur Melo is set to pair with Adrien Rabiot in the midfield with Weston McKennie and Federico Chiesa operating on the wings. We can see the likes of Matthijs de Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci forming the center back partnership together. Juan Cuadrado and Danilo would occupy the right-back and left-back spots respectively with Wojciech Szczęsny between the sticks.
Pau López will start in the goal. He’ll be supported by Gianluca Mancini, Ibañez, and Marash Kumbulla forming the backline. Chris Smalling is set to miss due to injury. Rick Karsdorp, Gonzalo Villar, Jordan Veretout, and Leonardo Spinazzola will form the midfield. Lorenzo Pellegrini, having accumulated 5 yellow cards will be out for this clash. Consequently, we can see Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Carles Perez playing either side of striker Borja Mayoral. As Pedro is still sidelined due to injury.
Game Plan and Tactics
We can see Juventus controlling the majority of the possession and playing through wingers.
The full-backs of Juventus will have a very decisive role in going forward. The pace of Chiesa and Mckenzie will be vital to break down lines between the center-backs. Arthur will be seen playing from the back alongside the two center-halves. Juventus will dominate the game for the most part. Chances will be aplenty for the hosts which both Ronaldo and Morata will look to capitalize on.
On the other hand, Roma would like to play more centrally through the likes of Villar and Spinazzola. They will be looking to exploit the spaces left behind full-backs when the opposition is caught in possession. As expected, Roma will not get many chances moving forward, and hence, they would be looking to cause serious damage through counter-attacks involving Perez, Mkhitaryan with Mayoral upfront. They would certainly miss the presence of Pellegrini in the 3rd half of the pitch.
Players to watch out for
The current top scorer of the competition will look forward to repeating his heroics. In the previous encounter between the two teams, he was splendid and should shine as usual again. He is expected to polish his scoring boots once again. When his side faces Roma this weekend and maintain a healthy gap between second-placed Lukaku and him.
Regarded as one of the best footballers in the footballing world ever had. The Juventus ace will be keen to wind up his 36th birthday in style by starring against Roma. A definite nightmare for defenders, the superstar has taken himself to the greatest level from playing in the streets of Madeira to relieving his dream and demolishing oppositions with ease in England, Spain, and Italy.
Despite being 36, CR7 is at the pinnacle of his fitness scoring goals in a prolific way in Italy and becoming the league’s current leading goalscorer. From jumping over 1.71 ft to scoring with acrobatic volleys and bicycle kicks, nothing seems impossible to him even at this age and he seems to be as lively as before.
Mr. UCL, a role model for millions, a synonym of hard work and dedication!! One of the greatest footballers ruling football for more than a decade. Happy Birthday Cristiano Ronaldo
The right-back will be pivotal in supplying deep crosses in the opposition’s penalty area. Thus, he could be the key to unlock the 3-man defense of Roma.
The striker is in red-hot form and would like to continue his goal-scoring streak in this game.
The most consistent performer for the visitors will look to set the tone for them by providing through-balls for Mayoral to capitalize on.
Conclusion and Prediction
It will be a tight game and possibly be won in midfield. Both the teams will be looking to strengthen their position in the top 4.
However, Juventus go in as favorites as Roma will be missing the services of Smalling and Pellegrini. Here at Ball That Matters, we predict 2-1 in the favour of Juventus with Ronaldo on the scoresheet.
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