Juventus retain a firm grip on first place in Serie A , with Roma the next side to challenge the apparently untouchable Turin giants as they visit the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
Juve boast 15 wins and one draw from their opening 16 matches of the campaign, which is the best record of any club in Europe’s top five leagues. They were pushed a week ago by Torino, but a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty gave them a 1-0 win over their neighbours.
Roma, meanwhile, are in the race for a Champions League spot but are not hitting the heights expected of them and will have to raise their level substantially to challenge Italy’s top dogs.
|Game||Juventus vs Roma|
|Date||Saturday, December 22|
|Time||7:30pm BST / 2:30pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game will be shown on Rai Italia America and live-streamed through ESPN+.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|Rai Italia America||ESPN+|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be streamed via Eleven Sports 1.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|N/A||Eleven Sports 1|
|Goalkeepers||Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Perin|
|Defenders||De Sciglio, Chiellini, Benatia, Bonucci, Cancelo, Rugani, Sandro, Barzagli|
|Midfielders||Pjanic, Matuidi, Can, Bentancur, Bernardeschi, Spinazzola, Khedira|
|Forwards||Ronaldo, Dybala, Costa, Cuadrado, Mandzukic|
Juventus have seen Sami Khedira return to regular training this week, though it may be too early for the midfielder to see action.
Joao Cancelo and Juan Cuadrado remain the key injury problems for the Turin giants.
Possible Juventus starting XI: Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala, Mandzukic, Ronaldo.
|Defenders||Karsdorp, Pellegrini, Juan Jesus, Kolarov, Marcano, Santon, Fazio, Manolas|
|Midfielders||Cristante, Pellegrini, De Rossi, Coric, Zaniolo, Florenzi, Pastore, N’Zonzi|
|Forwards||Perotti, Dzeko, Schick, Cengiz Under, Kluivert, Celar, El Shaarawy|
Daniele De Rossi has been out since October with knee trouble but could be available for this clash. There are also doubts over Stephan El Shaarawy, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Edin Dzeko, all of whom would habitually start this encounter.
Possible Roma starting XI: Olsen; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; N’Zonzi, Cristante; Under, Zaniolo, Kluivert; Schick.
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It has been another thoroughly satisfactory week for Juventus, who lead Serie A by eight points over second-placed Napoli with a virtually unblemished record approaching their final match before Christmas.
Star summer signing Cristiano Ronaldo proved the difference from the penalty spot as Torino were seen off 1-0 last weekend in a competitive local derby, while away from the field they have been heartened by Alex Sandro penning a new deal and Daniele Rugani closing in on one.
Certainly, the Portuguese’s presence seems to have boosted spirits in the camp,with Moise Kean explaining to RMC : “I had only seen him on the PlayStation before! Playing with him has improved me a lot, I learn a lot from him as well as from the other champions with the Bianconeri.”
Perhaps the only concern for Juve came in Monday’s Champions League draw, in which they were paired with Atletico Madrid, despite beating Manchester United to finish top of their pool.
“We didn’t have much luck,” vice-chairman Pavel Nedved lamented.
But Juve can worry about Atleti in February, particularly as they have a challenging Serie A match forthcoming against Roma.
With only six wins from 16 league matches this season, Eusebio Di Francesco finds himself a man under pressure.
They have conceded two goals in each of their last five outings in all competitions and had to twice come from behind to beat Genoa 3-2 at the Stadio Olimpico last weekend.
“We have so much pressure on us that the wait for the next match has been really hard,” captain De Rossi explained. “We have a lot of pressure on our shoulders. We’re in a delicate period because we know we have to do better than we have been doing.
“We are all under observation, including the coach, and we know it. We want to have a great match, more for ourselves than for the importance of the game. Against the strongest of them all.”
A massive 22 points behind Juve, it is abundantly clear how daunting their task is.