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Juventus-Roma, aka, the Campionato has truly started

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That ugly game against Chievo aside, of course. After the distraction of the Champion's League draw, it's back to work in Giornata 2 where our beloved Bianconeri travel to Rome to face not-Lazio. This is definitely a hard match to start out the 2nd week, particularly with a new coach and a new formation, but no excuses, we want the 3 points. I've never liked the Giallorossi as many of you all know, except cheering them on in the Champion's League. The good news for us anti-Romanistas is that the team is slowly crumbling in a way that reminds me of 2004-2005. No money, no discipline, no transfers, but it's not all bleak for them as their Primavera has produced some good talent.

RECENT ENCOUNTERS: The good news of course is that the last few years, despite Roma's near-Scudetto in 07-08, we've kicked their asses. 2004 was the last time they've won a game against us, kicking our ass 4-0 in Rome, but Spalletti has never beaten Juve and the last few seasons read 2-2, 1-0, 2-0, 4-1, which bodes pretty well. Last encounter in Rome was against an injury-ravaged team and we thrashed them good, 4-1, with the highlight of the night being Nedved's wonder volley from the edge of the box. Roma's not so injury-ravaged this time though, so it'll be a very different game.


You know what's awesome about this video? I realized when searching YouTube that last spring's 4-1 drubbing in Rome is the 2nd of the last 5-6 years or so.

RECENT FORM:
Juventus- Preseason games ignored, we labored hard against Chievo. The scoreline should have been bigger, but for an opener against a very resilient squad, I'll take it.
Roma- The million-dollar question: Can they replicate their Europa League form in Serie A? The team fell to Genoa last week 3-2 in an exciting encounter, but have thrashed their opponents in the Europa League with two 7-1 results already. Those are pretty rubbish teams, but they did look different in those matches; more determined, more cohesive, etc.

FORMATIONS AND LINEUPS:
Juventus- 4-3-1-2: This may be the first time in 2 years it isn't 4-4-2. Well, not true, we did experiment with 4-3-3 and even a 3-4-1-2 once. Out of the game are Sissoko and Zebina certainly, Salihamidzic likely to miss out and Felipe Melo and Diego are pushing for full fitness. Cannavaro-Chiellini look set to continue their partnership as Legrottaglie looks on forlorn from the bench, and given the substitute in the last game, De Ceglie preferred over Molinaro. Grygera will likely man the right-flank, though Caceres played well in a training match, scoring a long-range goal.

In midfield, Diego will certainly be slotting into the trequartista, provided he is healthy, and after a positive game against Chievo much will be expected of him. I've got a new phrase I'll be using, and that's the Melo effect. Simply, if a player is transferred into the squad and cost a lot of money or has a big name, he will start over the incumbent regardless of form. It sort of can be applied to Cannavaro, but Felipe Melo, if healthy, will almost certainly be starting, which makes no sense as his preseason form was pretty crap. Marchisio and Tiago will probably round it out, though if Melo is missing, Poulsen may get yet another chance to prove himself and hopefully get that reencounter with Totti we've all been waiting for.

In attack, Del Piero should be fit, but it remains to be seen if Ferrara will choose him. Trez still looks like he'll be waiting for his chance, after a positive game last week I think Ciro will stick with Iaquinta-Amauri. Iaquinta had a few good chances though I think sometimes his decision-making was iffy, and Amauri looked in phenomenal form despite not getting on the scoresheet.

Predicted XI: Buffon; Grygera, Cannavaro, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Marchisio, Tiago, Poulsen; Diego; Amauri, Iaquinta

Roma- The Giallorossi have a few absentees, notably Doni, Andreolli, Vucinic, and Brighi. From the looks of their Europa League exploits, they haven't really missed them. For better info, go read Chris' take on it (expect a lot of comments about ladri, thieves, maybe a chateau d'if reference, and of course irrational hatred for Nedved) at the Roma Offside.

Predicted XI:
Channel4 says this- 4-2-3-1: Artur; Motta, Mexes, Burdisso, Riise; De Rossi, Pizarro; Taddei, Menez, Guberti; Totti
Goal.com says this- 4-3-3: Artur; Motta, Mexes, Burdisso, Riise; Taddei, Pizarro, De Rossi; Totti, Vucinic, Menez.

Pick whichever you like.


A lovely picture yours truly took in Florence. That much I can agree with Viola fans.

KEY PLAYERS:
As much as I hate to admit it, Goal.com's preview is right on this one. Diego for Juve, and Totti for Roma. Diego had a great first half where he was dribbling past half of Chievo and putting in great final passes, whereas Totti has scored a lot in the opening Europa League games. A lot.

KEY BATTLES:
Spalletti v. Juve- Juve- Spalletti has a pretty poor record against Juve with Roma, having never won in the 3 seasons he's played the Bianconeri. I rate Spalletti pretty highly, but I don't think they will win this weekend, a draw would be a good result for them. After Iaquinta's brace last spring, Spalletti probably won't be complaining about how Iaquinta doesn't "score enough."

Nazionale Capitano v. Romanista Capitano- Push- Funny how different the two are, Cannavaro is not really associated with a particular team in Italy, whereas obviously Totti is the symbol of Roma, of all-time. Both have started out the season on the right foot, and it will be a fascinating duel between them.

Roma-born-and-bred Midfield General v. Turin-born-and-bred Midfield General- Push- De Rossi has been in pretty poor form this season and he'll have his work cut out to contain Diego, but that doesn't free him of responsibility to roam the center-midfield. Some have called Marchisio the Turin answer to DDR, and while I don't necessarily agree with the comparison, the duo will have an interesting battle.

Prediction: 2-1 to the Bianconeri. Totti, Marchisio, and Amauri to score. Roma's offense has been good the preseason, and that simply means Juve's defense which has been decent needs to stifle them. Roma's defense has been pretty miserable and we should be able to exploit that well, but ultimately, I think we need to do our best on defense and the result will take care of itself. Let's beat these whiny inferior bastards.

Other previews:
Goal.com (EN)
Football Italia
Football Italiano- Juve preview
Football Italiano- The Roma side
And for sheer entertainment, Chris' preview/review of the 2-2 draw in Rome from our return to Serie A.