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Juventus vs. Roma match preview: Time, TV schedule, and how to watch the Serie A

The final game of 2023 sees Juventus host Roma in a meeting of two managers who love a low-scoring battle.

Juventus v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Fabio Rossi/AS Roma via Getty Images

Once Juventus got through the hosting the reigning Serie A champions at the Allianz Stadium earlier this month, the schedule finally gave the Bianconeri a bit of a breather. The trend of big games coming every of week let up, with opponents in the bottom half of the table set to be next up on the schedule between the middle of December and the beginning of February.

Except for one game.

That one game was the man that everybody loves to hate, Jose Mourinho, and Roma making their way to Turin in the final fixture of the 2023 calendar year.

Well, here we are. Just a couple of days short of everybody popping champagne bottles and ringing in the new year with family and/or friends, here comes Mourinho and company rolling into Turin on the backs of getting their own win over the current Italian champions. Saturday evening’s matchup in Turin pits a Juventus side that’s comfortably in second place behind league leaders Inter and a Roma side that is sitting in sixth place behind Fiorentina and Bologna in fifth and fourth, respectively. (How many people would have guessed to see those two clubs where they are at this point of the season? Probably a small amount, if that. I know I didn’t, that’s for sure!)

So, coming off a tight win over Frosinone — at a stadium which Napoli (yes, another reference of them for whatever reason) had only previously won this season — Juventus look to close out a roller coast 2023 calendar year on a high note in front of the hometown fans at the Allianz.

And there’s this little note, too: Juventus can, with a win on Saturday night, can pull closer to Inter after their 1-1 draw with Genoa — yes, that same team that Juve weren’t able to beat just a couple of weeks ago — on Friday night at the Marassi. (Thanks to Radu Dragusin for that standout performance, by the way. It’s really appreciated.)

The difference between first and second is currently at five points. With a Juve win, it’s down to just two points and a rather favorable strength of schedule awaiting the Bianconeri in the new year if they can take advantage of Inter’s first draw against domestic opposition in a month.

Roma’s trip to Turin last season was a very unique and emotionally-charged kind of affair. It came just a few weeks into the new campaign, one that came all of five days after Juventus did what they did a lot of a year ago — drop points against a bad team, in this case a Sampdoria squad that ended up getting relegated. But it was also Paulo Dybala’s first game at the Allianz Stadium as a visitor following his extremely public divorce from the Old Lady just a few months earlier. He was playing on the same field in which so many tears were shed following Juve’s 2021-22 home finale against Lazio.

This time around, though, one of the main narratives also involves a striker or two, but it’s not necessarily Dybala, who has struggled with his fitness as of late (surprise!) and has only returned to partial training this week.

No, this one involves the two players who were the two halves of the proposed swap deal over the summer involving Juventus and Chelsea. That is possible because instead of moving to Turin back in August, Romelu Lukaku went to Roma on a season-long loan deal following the swap with Dusan Vlahovic fell apart. Lukaku’s 2023-24 season has been pretty impressive so far considering Chelsea wanted absolutely nothing to do with him, scoring a total of 13 goals in all competitions so far. Vlahovic, meanwhile, hasn’t been able to replicate the early-season form in which he scored four goals in Juve’s first four games. He has scored just two goals in the next three months — which, combined with Federico Chiesa’s goal scoring form also cooling off, has made for some interesting times for Juve’s top two attackers.

But the fact of the matter is that this is another test of Juventus’ top four potential title challenging chops. In a season in which they’ve already beaten Milan, Napoli, Lazio and Fiorentina while not losing to anybody currently battling for a top four or European spot, potentially beating Roma at home would be another feather in Max Allegri’s cap.

Saturday night has a good chance to not exactly be the pinnacle of modern football knowing that i’s two guys who love to grind out wins who are calling the shots in the form of Allegri and Mourinho. But it’s also the task of Juventus’ defense to try and slow down Lukaku, who has scored in each of his last three games. (And if Dybala plays ... that’s another piece to add to the puzzle to try and stop.) Despite the fact that Roma’s form has been absolutely all over the place so far this season, they’re still a dangerous team with who they have leading the line for them.

The chance to end 2023 with a big win and getting back within serious striking distance of Inter is very much out there for the taking. Just what’s left to see is if Allegri’s squad can grind out one more victory before the January slate of games — and the beginning of a potential Coppa Italia run! — arrives come the beginning of the new work week.

TEAM NEWS

  • Paul Pogba and Nicolo Fagioli are still suspended. We are, now, a couple of weeks away from Pogba’s initial hearing to see just how long his doping suspension ends up being.
  • Andrea Cambiaso is suspended for Roma’s visit to Turin due to yellow card accumulation.
  • Mattia De Sciglio — who returned to training earlier this month — and Moise Kean have been joined on the injury list by Alex Sandro after he had to be subbed out in the first half of last weekend’s win over Frosinone. Allegri said Sandro should be back within the next couple of weeks.
  • The other two players who were also feared to potentially have some sort of injury coming out of the Frosinone win, Manuel Locatelli and Weston McKennie, are all good to go.
  • Federico Chiesa, who stayed back in Turin last weekend, has recovered from the minor knee injury he was dealing with and is back in the squad. Whether or not he is deemed good to go when it comes to the starting lineup remains to be seen.
  • Allegri said that he is still trying to decide who starts between Chiesa and Kenan Yildiz.
  • Allegri also said that he has yet to decide between starting McKennie or Timothy Weah out wide despite there being a lack of options in the center of the midfield.
  • Three different Juventus players are one yellow card away from having to serve a one-game suspension: Locatelli, Danilo and Federico Gatti.

JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH

You see, going with the No. 9 who scored last weekend and is going to be under a microscope Saturday is the easy way to go. Same goes for the 18-year-old who just scored his first senior level goal in his first start as a Juve player. Too easy! This week, my friends, I won’t take the easy way out.

Instead, let’s talk about somebody who is likely the one who will be filling in for one of Juventus’ better players over the last month or so.

Football Serie A Frosinone-Juventus Photo by Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Ah, yes. Timothy Weah! With Cambiaso suspended this weekend and all of the absences in midfield that have meant McKennie isn’t bouncing around like he was in August and September, there really is likely one way for Allegri to go on the right wing — and that’s Weah.

As noted above, Allegri didn’t totally make it sound like Weah is a stone cold lock to start at right wingback, but you have to believe that the absences in midfield will mean it’s going to be a much more natural winger playing out wide compared to McKennie being there.

The interesting part of all of this is that Allegri has also thrown out there that Samuel Iling-Junior could get some more time on the left wing — maybe even a start! — which would give Juventus a whole lot of pace on the wings. That’s something that we haven’t seen a whole lot this season even with how well McKennie has played when he’s been a wingback.

But when it comes to Weah, getting him going and in some type of positive form following his injury absence is going to be pretty important knowing that Juve’s best wingback not named Andrea Cambiaso this season is not really a wingback at all. Throw in the simple fact that there’s an upcoming Coppa Italia Round of 16 tie and hopefully more games in that tournament to come, and there’s simply going to be more chances to play.

We know Roma are going to play more like Allegri normally does more than any other team, so there could be the opportunities on the counter as well as in possession for Weah to try and impact things with his speed and creative abilities. (But let’s face it, it’s the speed that we want to see him out there showcasing because the dude can simply mother.)

Weah had some nice moments of interplay between himself and McKennie after coming on in the second half last weekend against Frosinone. And if that’s the case from the start on Saturday night, then let’s hope they can continue the very obvious connection they have.

MATCH INFO

When: Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023.

Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy.

Official kickoff time: 8:45 p.m. in Italy and the Central European time zone, 7:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom, 2:45 p.m. Eastern time, 11:45 a.m. Pacific time.

HOW TO WATCH

Television: TLN (Canada); TNT Sports 1 (United Kingdom).

Online/Streaming: Paramount+ (United States); fuboTV Canada (Canada); discovery+, discovery+ app (United Kingdom); DAZN Italia, Sky Go Italia (Italy).

Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.