Juventus host Roma at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday in Serie A. The Old Lady are a full 12 points clear of Jose Mourinho’s side and look like title contenders. The Giallorossi beat Napoli on the 23rd of December and will hope for a repeat of their win against Juventus when the sides last met in March.
Juve are taking advantage of having no European football with a surprise title challenge. They sit second in Serie A after 17 matches with just one loss, a 4-2 setback in September. Max Allegri sides got over that loss with four wins and two draws in the next six matches without leaking a goal.
In Round 13, they drew 1-1 at home with Inter Milan albeit with a paltry 0.44 xG produced. They then went to Monza and won 2-1 in the last minute before a crucial 1-0 home win over Napoli. A disappointing 1-1 draw at Genoa followed. The Old Lady went into the Christmas break by winning 2-1 at Frosinone in an uninspiring display.
Juventus Team News
Coach Max Allegri remains without Paul Pogba and Nicolo Fagioli due to suspensions for off-field offences. Forward Moise Kean will play no part due to a leg injury. Dusan Vlahovic netted off the bench in the last match and is expected to replace youngster Kenan Yildiz up front.
Wingback Mattia De Sciglio is still three weeks from a return from a serious knee injury. Alex Sandro is missing due to a muscle injury in defence. Federico Gatti replaced him against Frosinone and is expected to start.
Juventus will play to win this game in their usual pragmatic and results-first style.
A draw is not going to be seen as a disaster, but it would their title hopes significantly. Allegri won’t open up at any point but knows his side could have two-thirds of the ball against a Mourinho team.
Roma’s 2-0 win against Napoli before the short Christmas break saw them jump from eighth to sixth in the Serie A. They scored in the 76th and 96th minute of that win as they put up 1.90 xG to just 0.70 xG for the defending Scudetto winners. At home, Mourinho’s side have 20 of their 28 points and they’ve lost four of eight away Serie A matches.
After losing 1-0 away to Inter Milan, they went on a five-match unbeaten run in Serie A (WDWWD). A 1-1 home draw with Fiorentina preceded a 3-0 home win over Sheriff to finish second in their Europa League group. Prior to the key win over Napoli, they lost 2-0 on the road to top-four rivals, Bologna.
Roma Team News
Jose Mourinho is without two key men striker Tammy Abraham due to his ACL injury and top centre-back Chris Smalling. Attacker Paulo Dybala and midfielder Houssem Aouar missed the Napoli win due to injury and remain question marks here.
Renato Sanches is out of favour in midfield and could be left in the stands again. Leonardo Spinazzola will hope to be recalled at left wingback for this one. Captain Lorenzo Pellegrini will expect to return to the starting XI after scoring from the subs bench vs Napoli.
Mourinho would probably take a draw in this match. His side are poor on the road and will want to avoid a fifth loss in nine on their travels in Serie A.
A defensive approach is expected with maybe 35% possession. Roma will hit Lukaku on the counter-attack in this match.
Juve have lost just once in 17 Serie A matches this season
Juventus’ last 7 wins in Serie A have all been by a one-goal margin
Roma have conceded in 6 of their last 8 league matches
Roma have lost 4 of their 8 away matches in Serie A this term
This is certain to be a tight game. If Juve wins at home, it is likely to be by a one-goal margin. Lukaku will be motivated to score against the team that failed to sign him in the summer after discussions. A draw may be the best value tip in this one.
Best Bet: Draw at 3.05
Safe Bet: Juventus win/draw double chance + Under 3.5 goals at 1.51
Value Bet: Juventus to win by exactly 1 goal at 3.35