Juventus v Roma

Roma v Juventus Match Preview, scouting and predictions


The ongoing tour de force for Roma continues with a date with their archrival Juventus, which have been treading water for weeks in search of the final push to clinch the Champions League qualification.

  Serie A Week 34 – Sunday 05 May  2024 – Allianz Stadium | Preview by Enrico Passarella


Daniele De Rossi’s honeymoon phase is over, and other teams are no longer taken by surprise by their different playing style, but the horseshoe is still there and is helping them get results they probably didn’t totally deserve, like the draw with Napoli and the victory over Udinese. Fortune favors the bold, so their more aggressive posture is an asset when it comes to scoring, but the shine is off, and the bill came due abruptly midweek against Bayer Leverkusen.

The fact that they are juggling multiple competitions is a big factor especially since a pair of their key players, Paulo Dybala and Lorenzo Pellegrini, aren’t the most durable and keeping up the same level with short turnarounds week after week is demanding. Qualifying for the Champions League is more vital for them than for Atalanta and Bologna given their ambitions and financial situation. The chances of getting past Die Aspirin are almost null at this point, so they might subtly prioritize this one rather than the return leg, as weird as it may be since it’s a semi-final.

The recent loss against Bologna could have killed their spirit but didn’t, and the Felsinei aren’t totally out of reach since they are no longer in helluva form. But the crunch duel is with Atalanta, and the salivating head-to-head clash will take place next week. La Dea having a game in hand that might not be played before the end of the season makes everything murkier and is a bit of a bummer.

De Rossi’s tactics and philosophy masked a lot for a while, but the holes in their squad are rearing their ugly heads. They have three right-backs but neither is great or complete in both phases. They already knew it, but Rick Karsdorp’s blunder on Thursday was one further evidence. Angelino and Leonardo Spinazzola are too dissimilar and neither is too sound defensively.

The main one is that they are in trouble whenever Pellegrini, Romelu Lukaku, or especially Paulo Dybala are out or not in tip-top shape, which is frequent given their thick schedule. They have more options to replace them than earlier in the season, but the drop-off is still noticeable. It wouldn’t be fair to ask too much out of Tammy Abraham coming off an ACL tear. He came through with a goal against the run of play in Naples but missed a bunny in the Europa League. They’ll have to be content with anything he can give them while he rounds back into form. In any case, they don’t have much presence up front without the big Belgian. He’s a catalyst even if his overall numbers are pedestrian. Sardar Azmoun is way better in spurts off the bench.

They are in a pickle because the Chelsea loanee is unlikely to stay given his price tag and wages, but he’s still their top option. On the other hand, they need to give Abraham minutes and assess whether he could lead their frontline in the future. There were major reservations about that before the injury as he had flattered to deceive in 2022/2023. They are probably stuck with him given the circumstances, and the only way for him to go is up. Their coach has proven to be creative and not stubborn schematically. The quicker he can find a sustainable way to deploy their top two strikers and their other top players together, the better. Both for the present, as their strike force would be impressive, and for the future, as it’d inform their choices.

Perhaps fatigue, rotation, and knocks will spare the boss the trouble of choosing, and everything will come naturally. He has occasionally gone back to a three-man defense or something similar with Diego Llorente or Dean Huijsen as a right-back, based on the match-up and the men at his disposal. Sometimes they have to do it because they don’t have the men to substitute for the starters. While understandable for certain pieces, it shouldn’t be the case for instance for Stephan El Shaarawy, who’s a nice weapon but far from formidable.

The choice of 4-3-3 appears more definitive than not and will force them to retool their squad, which was built for 3-5-2. It won’t be easy due to the financial fair play limitations and because the only players whose sales would fetch sizeable ‘plusvalenze’ would need to be replaced appropriately. The delay in hiring a new director to succeed Tiago Pinto is almost inexcusable at this point.

The lineup choices, primarily concerning Dybala, Pellegrini, and Lukaku, will be interesting, as there could be some energy management ahead of Thursday, even though they’ll have a Mount Everest to climb, much to the detriment of the quality of their XI.

Expected XI (4-3-3): Svilar; Celik, Mancini, Ndicka, Angelino; Cristante, Paredes, Pellegrini; Dybala, Lukaku, Zalewski.

Doubts:  Celik/Kristensen, Pellegrini/Aouar, Zalewski/El Shaarawy.



Juventus put another small brick in their limping march toward a top-five finish in the home draw against Milan. They actually had a decent second half and did enough to win. The fact that they have it in them to turn up the volume and attack insistently and en masse when they want to only makes the rarity with which they do it more infuriating.

Their quest to find a way to use Federico Chiesa and Kenan Yildiz together, which shouldn’t be rocket science, had another chapter with the former starring as a wingback in a 3-5-2, faring more than well. It’s enticing but doesn’t feel like something that could occur regularly. Even though he’s not the cleanest fit in a two-man attack, in reality he has adapted to it okay and he has a ton of freedom. Besides his small injuries earlier in the calendar year, their usually slow pace is a bigger hindrance than the scheme for him. Neither he nor Dusan Vlahovic are clutch, so they need a high number of touches to produce. That gets taken away if they intentionally let the opponents pull the strings.

They have rediscovered some compactness in the back, which makes it hard to move on from the three-man line even if it’d make things a lot easier for the attackers. They’d have the compromise of using Danilo as a right-back, but they have barely done it this season for whatever reason.

They shot themselves in the foot with their long swoon. They should already be in experimental mode at this point and solely focused on getting to the Coppa Italia final in the best possible way at this point given their level of success in the first half of the season. Instead, they keep doing the bare minimum to get there. It’s barely an achievement considering their history.

The second spell of Massimiliano Allegri on the bench hasn’t been all black, and most players seem to genuinely like him. Stil, it’s highly entertaining and bizarre how he somehow has a few staunch supporters in the press ready to spin any tidbit in his favor, magnifying his achievements and the difficulties he has powered through and pushing the narrative in favor of his permanence. They’ll get louder if they win the domestic cup, but they’ll have to play a lot better than they have done lately to keep up with Atalanta. They’ll be ready to unwrap the ‘mission accomplishment’ banner and mark the season as a success, blissfully ignoring that they have been having the pace of a relegation struggler from January on. Hastier teams would have pulled the plug during the peak of their crisis. They’ll have to get over their inability to make uncomfortable decisions if they want to usher in a new era. The rich final year of his contract is a hurdle but can’t possibly be the thing that keeps him on the bench for a team of this magnitude. Things would worsen next season if they stay the course. The squad will probably be younger and less established, and the boss will have to add a lot of his own to bring it together and raise its level.

In the meantime, the next few lineups will be telling about who they are committed to for the future. For instance, Weston McKennie has started to lose minutes as the buzz about his extension began trending negatively. Instead, Adrien Rabiot remains untouchable despite his highly uncertain future. Still, using Andrea Cambiaso as a box-to-box seems like an unnecessary complication. He should be back on the left wing, where Filip Kosti and Samuel Iling-Junior aren’t very expendable, where he’s the most comfortable and built a nice chemistry with Chiesa.

Timothy Weah is coming off a pair of good showings in a row and should get some continuity to see if he has finally adapted to Serie A completely. If he was solid and consistent down the stretch, it’d spare them the trouble of searching for a way out and then a replacement, with the big caveat of the likely different formation in the future. Carlos Alcaraz is in the same boat, but he’s on loan, so it’s a less thorny situation. While Yildiz has been anointed right away, and he has some mesmerizing plays, he too has to prove that he belongs and that he deserves to be considered a building block for the future and a regular starting from next season. He’s not there yet, and unfortunately he’s out for this one due to a stomach bug, weakening their bench.

Expected XI (3-5-2): Szczesny; Gatti, Bremer, Danilo; Weah, McKennie, Locatelli, Rabiot, Cambiaso; Chiesa, Vlahovic. 

Doubts:  Weah/Kostic, McKennie/Iling-Junior. 

Injury Report: Yildiz (illness), Alex Sandro (calf injury) – OUT. 

Suspensions: Pogba, Fagioli. 



Juventus Win – Under 2.5 Goals

Enrico Passarella

Contributor for @footitalia1 | Serie A | News, Transfers, Betting |