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Juventus vs. Roma Preview: Round 37 — Playing for pride ... and points

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Claudio Villa

First, let's do a quick Juventus-related checklist before we get into the meat of this match preview.

  • Win the Scudetto for a third straight year? Check.

  • Party your ass off after winning the Scudetto for a third straight year? Check.

  • Successfully reminding people at every single opportunity possible that Simone Padoin has as many Scudetti as Roma do in their history? Check, check, and check.

  • Getting to the historic 100-point plateau? Well, there's still a little bit of work to do when it comes to that.

Now that we've got that out of the way, we can do one more thing before talking about Juventus-Roma, the second-to-last game of the season. Let's check in with one of my favorite people, Golden State Warriors point guard and the best damn shooter the NBA has ever seen Stephen Curry, to see how many points Juventus need to get to the magical and history making 100-point mark.

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That's a quick 1-2-3-4 from Mr. Curry. Thank you, Steph. Enjoy the summer vacation.  Even though the Warriors didn't make it far in the playoffs (stupid Clippers), you earned the rest.

Juventus have clinched the Scudetto. They've won all but one of their home games this — because it hasn't been played yet. Then there's the countdown to the 100-point mark that Mr. Curry so aptly provided us. And it just so happens that Juventus' second-to-last game of the season is against the squad that will be finishing in second place behind Serie A's best.

In a perfect world, this No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup would have some kind of meaning on the season. Well, that is if you're in the business of selling newspapers in Italy. Can you imagine the hype that would be going on right now? Instead of rumors about Nani coming to Turin, Ciro Immobile leaving Turin and the rest of it all, we'd be hearing about what Juve need to do to break down Roma, what Roma need to do to try and stop Juventus, and so on and so on.

But a good portion of that will just have to be shelved because Juve won the title before this meeting of two really, really good teams has taken place.

Focus. It's good to have focus. It's good to be focused.

GOOD NEWS

Juventus have won the Scudetto, Roma hasn't. I think that's pretty simple and gratifying at the same time.

BAD NEWS

We won't be seeing Arturo Vidal for the rest of the season. I know there's not a laundry list of things to play for these days with the Scudetto already being clinched, but it's Vidal and he's cool.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

1. Carlos Tévez vs. the Roma defense.

Remember for much of the season when Roma had Serie A's best defense and had allowed the fewest amount goals? Well, don't look now, but Juve and Roma have given up the same number of goals this season. We can thank Catania for a good number of those goals, but as we found out when Roma and Juve played at Juventus Stadium in January, the best defense in the league couldn't really handle the best offense. And, of course, a big portion in that is a certain Argentinian by the name of Carlitos, or Carlos Tévez if you want to be all official. Of his 19 goals this season, none of them have been scored against Roma. So, if you want Mr. Tévez to change that tomorrow, feel free to raise your hand. I have a feeling you won't be alone.

2. Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba vs. Miralem Pjanic and Radja Nainggolan.

I guess I could throw Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi into the mix, too, but I won't for the sake of saving time. The four players listed above are good. They been known to score a pretty nice goal or two in recent memory this season. All four are different kinds of midfielders, all which their own unique skill sets and, of course, importance to their respective teams. It would be pretty fun to see somebody like De Rossi face an Arturo Vidal, but that's not going to happen for obvious reasons. I guess we'll just have to settle for watching what might be Italy's starting midfield face off against one another. And those other guys, I guess they're pretty good, too.

3. Kwadwo Asamoah vs. Maicon.

Because there's not really much of anything riding on this game other than a 100-point record and probably some pride, I decided to concentrate on individual matchups rather than the bigger picture. You probably picked that up by now because you're smart people, so onward I go. So after concentrating on the center midfield, it's only natural we go out to the wings, where Maicon and Asamoah will certainly be seeing a lot of each other over the course of 90 minutes tomorrow night. You know, the same Maicon who has gone from looking kinda washed up to part of on his way to the World Cup this summer. When it comes to Asamoah, I can safely say that he will also be heading to Brazil this summer. But not as a wingback in all likelihood. So, this might be one of Asamoah's last wingback game for quite a few months. Hey, make it worth it, Kwadwo!

4. Antonio Conte vs. Rudi Garcia.

Let's face it, these are two of the best managers Serie A has right now. And when two really, really good managers go up against one another, there's always going to be the game within the actual game. Conte will want to win the game because he's Antonio Conte and winning is the bottom line. You would think that even though the Scudetto was won a few weekends ago thanks to Roma's rather stunning loss to Catania, Conte wants show Roma a little something. Like, you know, what Juve is all about once again.

My starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Llorente, Tévez

OFFICIAL KICKOFF TIME: 5:45 P.M. IN ITALY; 11:45 A.M. ON THE EAST COAST; 8:45 A.M. ON THE WEST COAST