The most important game in Serie A match day 25 is unquestionably Roma-Juventus, which is one of the fiercest rivalries in Italian football.
In the past, this clash has never been short in emotions, drama and controversies. Nothing suggests that this game will be different this time around.
On one side you have Juventus who have won each of their last four Serie A matches, including the derby against Torino, and with a success at the Olimpico, they will get closer to the fourth place, getting back in contention for a Champions League spot.
“Finishing in the top four despite a 15-points deduction will feel like winning three league titles”, Allegri stated during the press conference recently.
On the other side you have Roma, who lost against bottom side Cremonese last weekend but have won each of their last four home games in Serie A without conceding a goal.
All eyes will be on Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese will sit on the bench as his two-game ban has been suspended. Roma’s coach was sent off against Cremonese after an argument with the fourth official Marco Serra.
Mourinho defended himself on television by saying that the official had abused him and videos circulating on social media days after the game have apparently proved him right as Serra was caught saying: “Everyone’s taking the p*ss out of you!”.
Results from their last five matches in all competitions:
L W W L D
W W W D W
The big question mark about Roma’s line-up concerns Lorenzo Pellegrini. The skipper is in doubt due to a bout of flu but he’s expected on the pitch from the start.
If not, Stephan El Shaarawy will take his place alongside Paulo Dybala and Tammy Abraham as Ola Solbakken has been ruled out due to a muscle injury.
Chris Smalling is back after missing the Cremonese game due to suspension.
Paul Pogba will be available but coach Massimiliano Allegri, as he has confirmed during the press conference, sees him only as an option from the bench.
Leandro Paredes is back in contention for starting spot after having being snubbed for the derby with Allegri playing youngster Enzo Barrenechea ahead of him.
Angel Di Maria is likely to start the game next to Dusan Vlahovic with both Moise Kean and Federico Chiesa starting in the bench.
Roma (3-4-2-1): Rui Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Zalewski, Cristante, Matic, Spinazzola; Dybala, Pellegrini; Abraham.
Juventus (3-5-1-1): Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado, Paredes, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria, Vlahovic.
Andrea Agostinelli I GIFN