MX23RW : Wednesday, July 28 01:42:07| >> :120:24044:24044:
Feb 6, 2021 at 5pm UK at Juventus Stadium
Ronaldo (13'), Ibanez (69' og.)
Arthur (37'), Ronaldo (62')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Mancini (35'), Kumbulla (54')

Preview: Juventus vs. Roma - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Juventus and Roma, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Juventus pursue a sixth straight victory on Saturday evening, as they host fellow Scudetto challengers Roma amid a daunting run of fixtures.

Their visitors have bounced back from suffering derby defeat and an embarrassing cup exit to post two consecutive Serie A successes in the past fortnight.

Match preview

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo pictured on January 24, 2021© Reuters

Renowned for their abundance of high-profile attacking talent, adding a greater sense of continuity and resilience in defence has been vital in starting 2021 on a bright note for Juventus. Their record is now the best in Serie A, with only 18 goals conceded so far at an average of 0.85 per match.

Now looking to keep three consecutive clean sheets in the league for the first time under Andrea Pirlo's leadership, the Bianconeri appear an increasingly coherent unit, as they progress through a tough run of fixtures this month.

Having defeated Inter in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final tie - thanks to yet another well-taken brace from Cristiano Ronaldo - Pirlo's men must host Roma this weekend before resuming hostilities with the Nerazzurri, then face Napoli and Champions League last-16 opponents Porto in quick succession.

Against the Giallorossi, Ronaldo - a man acutely aware of such individual records - will seek to avoid going four consecutive league games without scoring for the first time since November 2017, while at Real Madrid. In the improbable event he requires a shot of confidence, the Portuguese superstar will no doubt have fond memories of the clubs' 2-2 draw in the autumn, in which his double strike rescued a point for Juve after Adrien Rabiot was sent off.

Federico Chiesa helped out in Ronaldo's absence from the scoresheet against Sampdoria last week, with his sixth goal of the season coming in a 2-0 win. Also contributing four Serie A assists so far, the versatile Azzurri forward has emerged as a key foil for the Juventus front pair since signing and will surely threaten to pin back Roma's attack-minded wide men on Saturday.

Edin Dzeko in action for Roma on August 27, 2018© Reuters

Currently third in the Serie A standings - one place and one point above Juventus, having played a game more - Roma managed to take care of awkward customers Verona last weekend - their second successive win since being thumped by city rivals Lazio and ignominiously ejected from the Coppa Italia due to a combination of shoddy defending and even shoddier administration.

A similarly messy situation has been partly resolved in the past week, as Edin Dzeko - star striker and team captain - failed to find another club in the January transfer window, despite being hotly tipped to swap places with Alexis Sanchez at Inter. The Bosnia international had a Papu Gomez-versus-Gian Piero Gasperini-style fallout with manager Paulo Fonseca and was subsequently dropped and stripped of the captain's armband.

Though Real Madrid loanee Borja Mayoral is proving an adequate replacement so far, it will be interesting to see how long it takes for Dzeko to be fully reintegrated into the first team, with Fonseca under pressure to achieve new highs at home and in Europe.

Despite his side's lofty league position, that pressure has yet to relent for two predominant reasons. Roma have yet to win against any of the top eight in the table, in a series of games in which they have claimed just four points from seven matches - chiefly as a result of their failings in defence. A terrible tally of 33 goals conceded (at 1.74 per game) makes the Giallorossi's the worst defensive department of the top 11 teams in Serie A.

Nevertheless, the capital club travel to Turin knowing that they could be unbeaten in three consecutive league meetings against Juventus for the first time since 2002 and will well remember their first-ever victory at Allianz Stadium last season, following ten consecutive league and cup defeats.

On that occasion, however, the Bianconeri had already mathematically won the Scudetto and they are unlikely to be in such charitable mood this time around.

Juventus Serie A form: WWWLWW
Juventus form (all competitions): LWWWWW

Roma Serie A form: WWDLWW
Roma form (all competitions): WDLLWW

Team News

Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo pictured on January 24, 2021© Reuters

Andrea Pirlo remains without last term's MVP Paulo Dybala, whose season has been scarred by a series of enforced absences, while another injury-prone talent, Aaron Ramsey, is again doubtful this week.

After being rested for cup duty in midweek, Wojciech Szczesny and Leonardo Bonucci are expected to return to the Juventus XI, with Juan Cuadrado and either Danilo or Alex Sandro featuring at full-back.

Midfield mainstay Rodrigo Bentancur is suspended, so will most probably be replaced by Adrien Rabiot, with Alvaro Morata coming back in for Dejan Kulusevski up front.

In addition to longer-term absentees Federico Fazio, Nicolo Zaniolo and Pedro, Roma have lost Chris Smalling to injury and Lorenzo Pellegrini to suspension for the trek north to Turin. Therefore, Marash Kumbulla will be drafted into the back three and Bryan Cristante could start in midfield.

It is expected that Edin Dzeko will be included in the squad following his clash with coach Paulo Fonseca, but Borja Mayoral should keep the starting jersey as Roma's main striker, with support from Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, De Ligt, Danilo; McKennie, Arthur, Rabiot, Chiesa; Morata, Ronaldo

Roma possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Mancini, Ibanez, Kumbulla; Karsdorp, Villar, Veretout, Cristante, Spinazzola; Mkhitaryan; Mayoral

SM words green background

We say: Juventus 2-1 Roma

Amid their toughest run of the season so far, Juventus seem to be approaching something closer to top form and can capitalise on Roma's all-too apparent deficiencies when facing the best sides.

In particular, the threat posed by wide men Juan Cuadrado and Federico Chiesa should occupy Roma's raiding wing-backs enough to keep the momentum trending in Juve's favour for most of what is set to be an absorbing 90 minutes of action.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Edin Dzeko in action for Bosnia-Herzegovina on September 4, 2020
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United StatesUnited States98825
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Great BritainGreat Britain45413
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Wednesday's key events

· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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