The game of the weekend in Serie A, indeed the game of the weekend across Europe is Sunday afternoon’s huge clash at the Stadio Olimpico between Roma and Juventus.
NEW ROMA SAME OLD STORY
The Giallorossi kicked off the new campaign last weekend in Verona with coach Rudi Garcia only too aware that he must deliver silverware this time around. A new look forward line of EdinDzeko and Mo Salah however, failed to deliver all three points to the capital club and it was one of the old guard, Alessandro Florenzi who rescued a point for his side after BoskoJankovic had fired the hosts in front. Salah in particular, had a disappointing afternoon and was substituted during the second-half whilst Dzeko to his credit, displayed some of the characteristics that made him Garcia’s top summer transfer target. The coach declared he was satisfied with his team at the post match press conference, the fans will expect much better against one of their most bitter rivals on Sunday. Do our football betting experts think Dzeko will be on the mark on Sunday?
JUVENTUS LEFT STUNNED BY UDINESE SMASH AND GRAB
At the start of a season where they are chasing their fifth consecutive Serie A title, Juventus lost an opening day league fixture for the first time in their history. After all the summer activity in Turin, the last thing coach Massimo Allegri and their millions of fans around the world expected was to go down at home to Udinese, but that’s exactly what they did – A late goal from striker Cyril Thereau silenced the J Stadium and had the Italian press predicting an early season crisis at the Turin giants. The reality is the Old Lady created enough chances during the 90 minutes to win four games but they know they must produce a much more compact display in Rome on Sunday.
Roma were rocked this week by the news that Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman, who has already missed almost two years of competitive action with a knee injury, looks set to be absent for 2015-16 after it was revealed he has to undergo more surgery. On the positive side, Garcia welcomed new left-back Lucas Digneto the Italian capital after he joined from PSG and he should go straight into the starting XI on Sunday. Brazilian right-back Maicon has recovered from injury and he should also start the game allowing Florenzi to play further up the field alongside the strikers. Francesco Totti looks likely to start on the substitute’s bench once again in a fixture where he scored the winning goal the last time Roma beat Juventus at home in 2013.
Juventus have also been busy in the transfer market this week bringing in Colombian play-maker Juan Cuadrado on loan from Chelsea. The former Fiorentina man looks likely to start on the bench alongside another new face, Brazilian Alex Sandrowho recently arrived from Porto. Spanish striker Alvaro Morata is fit again and he should come straight back into the starting line-up alongside either Paulo Dybala or Mario Mandžukić. The player to pay the price for last weekend’s shock defeat looks likely to be Simone Padoin. His midfield berth will be filled by Stefano Sturaro. Frenchman Paul Pogba may play in a more deep lying role in front of the defence on Sunday as Allegri attempts to continue Juventus’s excellent recent record at the StadioOlimpico.
Probable Starting XI’s
Roma (4-3-3) Szczęsny; Digne, Manolas, Castan, Maicon; Pjanic, De Rossi, Nainggolan; Salah, Dzeko, Florenzi
Juventus (3-5-2) Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Sturaro, Pogba, Pereyra, Evra; Morata, Mandžukić
Totti’s winning goal in 2013 remains Roma’s only bright spot after a wretched run of results in the capital against Juventus. The Old Lady has returned home with all three points on six of the last ten occasions they’ve come to the capital in league competition. There have been three drawn games. Last season’s 1-1 draw at the Olimpico saw Roma’s Greek defender VassilisTorosidis return to the dressing rooms earlier than expected after being dismissed just after half-time. Although the home side will start as slight favourites, recent history points to an away win but in what is sure to be a red hot atmosphere, maybe a Dzeko inspired Roma can deal the first psychological blow of the new campaign. What do our football tipsters think?
Roma 2.70 Draw 3.10 Juventus 2.80
*courtesy of Bet365
By: Steve Mitchell