In an early clash between potential title contenders, Juventus host fellow Scudetto hopefuls Roma at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
The teams convene in Turin with the visitors having gathered maximum points so far, while Juve followed victory on Serie A’s opening day with a dire draw last time out.
Depleted by injuries for their first road trip of the season, Juventus found themselves on the back foot for much of the first half in Monday’s stalemate with Sampdoria, before seeming to settle for a point during the second.
Massililiano Allegri’s men appeared to revert to type against well-drilled opposition, without the magic of summer signings Angel Di Maria and Paul Pogba to inspire them and create chances for a frustrated Dusan Vlahovic, who barely laid his boot on the ball at Marassi.
Once again, Allegri took post-match flak for his team’s disjointed display, and old concerns are arising among fans ahead of the club’s upcoming return to the Champions League.
After failing to back up an impressive victory in their opening Serie A fixture – a 3-0 win at home to Sassuolo – Juve’s quest for their first Scudetto in three years continues on Saturday evening, when they meet rivals for a place in the top four.
Following wins at home and away last season, the Bianconeri have won 85 of their 176 top-flight encounters with Roma, including each of the last three. Not only that, but they have been denied maximum points just once in 11 meetings at the Allianz Stadium since its inauguration.
This time, Juve’s visitors from the capital bring with them a once-treasured player from the club’s nine-in-a-row streak of Scudetti – ended by Inter in 2021 – but Paulo Dybala’s return to Turin is unlikely to prove as emotional as his tearful departure.
While Dybala seems to have settled seamlessly into his new surroundings in the Eternal City, having received a regal welcome upon arriving, the mercurial maestro has yet to score for Roma in Serie A.
Indeed, the Giallorossi’s match-winners in both of their first two fixtures came from less likely sources, as Bryan Cristante fired them to success at Salernitana before Chris Smalling headed home the decider against Cremonese last weekend.
So far, no team have attempted more shots at goal than Roma, or found the target more often (17 – equal with Inter), while Juventus have managed roughly half their totals in both regards.
However, facing relatively weak opposition has certainly helped their cause, and the capital club’s ongoing struggles against the top six did not end with the appointment of their charismatic coach last summer.
Along with a series of other failures versus Calcio’s heavyweights, Jose Mourinho lost both games against Juve last term, including a spectacular 4-3 defeat at Stadio Olimpico.
Following an eye-catching recruitment drive over the past few weeks, he will be expecting far better in the 2022-23 campaign – starting this weekend, in Turin.
Juventus Serie A form:
Juventus form (all competitions):
Roma Serie A form:
Roma form (all competitions):
We say: Juventus 1-0 Roma
Despite their woeful recent record against them, Roma have actually won two of their three previous Serie A matches versus Juventus during August – in 2015 and 2020. Such good omens count for little, though, when the game gets under way, and Juve can grind their way to a win by a solitary goal.