Preview: Juventus – Roma

Posted on 12/11/2010


Serie A Week 12 – 13/11/10 (19.45 UK)
Juventus – Roma
Stadio Olimpico

This has always been a bitter grudge match and the feeling is intensified as Claudio Ranieri, Gigi Del Neri and Alberto Aquilani face their former clubs.

Both sides had rather rough starts to the campaign, but have found their feet very well and are only a point apart going into the Stadio Olimpico. Juventus have the upper hand in fifth place despite an extraordinary injury crisis that has ruled out Gianluigi Buffon, Milos Krasic, Nicola Legrottaglie, Leandro Rinaudo, Zdenek Grygera, Paolo De Ceglie, Jorge Martinez and Alex Manninger.

Former Roma defender Marco Motta is also suspended, but Amauri and Felipe Melo are fit again after missing the midweek 1-1 draw with Brescia. In defence Del Neri has had to rely on Hasan Salihamidzic and Fabio Grosso, who were frozen out while they awaited a January sale, but had to be unthawed for this desperate occasion.

There is a lot of Roma in the new-look Juventus, including youth academy products Aquilani and Simone Pepe. Coach Del Neri had a brief spell on the Giallorossi bench in 2004-05, stepping in for Rudi Voller in September only to resign after 24 games in charge.

Ranieri’s memories are rather more recent, as he spent almost two seasons at Juventus. These were fraught with controversy and uncertainty amid the club hierarchy, which eventually led to his dismissal in May 2009.

The Coach has never disguised his bitterness at that sacking, nor the role he feels certain directors and players had in the events. There is no doubt the Tinkerman will be out to prove a point. He already did that last season with a 2-1 victory in Turin and before that game had never previously beaten Juventus as an opponent, losing nine and drawing three.

Mirko Vucinic should return to the line-up after he was rested midweek, while Jeremy Menez’s shoulder injury is not thought to be serious. Juan and Rodrigo Taddei are still struggling with fitness problems, but David Pizarro seems ready for his comeback in midfield.

Keep an eye on: Alberto Aquilani (Juventus) – The Roma youth product was expected to follow in the footsteps of Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi as examples of childhood fans representing their favourite team, but opted for Liverpool first and then Juventus. He has been reborn with this new faith in his abilities and facing up to his former teammates could spark a great performance out of Aquilani.

Last five in Serie A: Juventus (W D W W D) Roma (W D W W W)

Last season: Juventus 1-2 Roma

Top tip: The momentum is with Roma after three consecutive victories that have seen them propelled up the standings from bottom of the table to sixth in the space of a month. Both sides have failed to find the net only three times in Serie A this season.

Stat fact: Before last season’s 2-1 victory, Roma hadn’t won a Serie A match in Turin since September 29 2001, followed by three defeats and two draws.

Juventus (probable): Storari; Salihamidzic, Bonucci, Chiellini, Grosso; Pepe, Aquilani, Felipe Melo, Marchisio; Quagliarella, Iaquinta

Roma (probable): Julio Sergio; Cicinho, Mexes, N Burdisso, Riise; Perrotta, De Rossi, Simplicio; Menez; Totti, Vucinic

Ref: Rizzoli

Source: Football-Italia

Posted in: Review, Serie A