Higuaín’s Strike Takes Juventus 7 Points Clear #44

Week 21Score: Juventus 1 A.S Roma 0
– Juventus Stadium, Turin
                Following Roma’s big wins against Top teams Ac Milan & S.S Lazio Roma would continue their Journey in Serie A this season In the 17th match of their campaign against league leader and defending champions Juventus the biggest match in Serie A so far this season it would be 1st vs 2nd in a massive fixture in Turin a hugely important game for both teams title ambitions a win for Roma would mean the lead at the top would decreased to just a point and a win for Juventus would take them 7 points clear. The biggest game in Italy this season was a fixture everyone has been waiting for it has been clear since day one of the season that Juventus and Roma would be together at the end of the season. At times it has looked like a bigger title race with AC Milan and Lazio chasing the title but it just seems like it’s coming down to Roma and Juventus both teams have all the quality to take the Scudtto in May. There was more emotion than usual as Roma would be facing Pjanic for the 1st time since he left Roma for Juventus over the summer making him public enemy #1. There was a lot at stake here it would an absolutely brilliant game Juventus who despite losing three games are never challenged at home and have a very impressive home win streak going but in the match they would see a team they haven’t seen before Roma game them a challenge unlike they have seen this season. It was a physically and mentally tough game for Juventus but in the end they were able to pull it off After a Hard Fought Game between Italy’s Best Juventus would Narrowly Prevail Higuaín’s wonder strike would be enough to see the champions go 7 points clear but Roma outplayed Juve for much of the game they proved in this game that they are very much alive in the title race.
                Roma got some good news prior to the game it was widely speculated that Winger Mohammed Salah would be ready to return to action against Juventus after being out due to Injury a player Roma need to use while they can as he will be leaving next mouth to participate in the African Cup of Nations in mid-January playing for Egypt Roma will desperately be looking for a replacement Salah plays a very important role in the Roma attack Manchester United’s Memphis Depay has been spectacled as a potential replacement. Anyways his return would be great news for Roma Salah has a pretty good track record against Juventus. Roma need all the help they can get to take down the big boys. Luciano Spalletti would come out with a nearly identical lineup only one change from last week against Milan he stayed in the same formation as perusal with their 5-4-1 no real modifications staying the course was the right call here against a team like Juve you don’t want to risk too much especially if you’re in good form. In the net as the keeper would be Roma’s stopper Polish Keeper Wojciech Szczesny who has been very consistently good for the Romans the last two seasons he has been on loan at Roma for in his 2nd season after he Roma renewed the loan. I think that he should make his stay permanent he has been terrific the last few games he saved a PK last week he’s been in Great form. The back four of the defensive line would remain unchanged. The left-back again would be Emerson he started the last several games looks like he will be given a more permanent role given Florenzi’s injury also Spalletti likes to use him and he’s done well. At right-back would be the always creative the big German Antoine Rudiger than the pair of Center backs would be as usual Fazio Roma’s most consistent starter (on loan from Spurs) and Kosta Manolas a physical specimen one of Serie A’s most aggressive players tis back is one of the best in the league so on paper it Is a great defensive line. Directly in front of the defense would be the defensive midfield pair of Captain Danielle De Rossi on the right and Kevin Strootman of the left it has mainly been those two since the injury of Leonardo Paredes the two have worked very well together thus far. Than it would be the three headed monster attacking midfield unit as expected Raja “The Tasmanian Devil” Nainggolan would deploy the center of the midfield, the Belgium International has been on fire lately has scored in his last two games is one of the best players in Serie A this season. Than on the left side would be Diego Perotti The Argentine has been constantly picked this season has done very well so far is the teams designated penalty taker 5 for 5 this season from the spot than on the other side Spalletti would make the only change to his team with Bruno Peres not 100% and Salah starting on the bench the 19 Year old Brazilian teenager Gerson would get his 1st start in Serie A making his 11th total appearance of the season has been constantly picked in the team Europa league campaign. Than up front as the lone wolf the Bosnian Tower the Serie A’s scoring leader Edin Dzeko who has 12 goals in the league this season (17 Goals total). El Shaarawy, Salah and Bruno Peres would all be available off the bench. A very strong Roma side and that’s exactly what it would take to get a good result here.
They game finally arrived one of the most exiting matchups of the weekend both team had done a fair amount of talking as the match approached there was a lot of attention and press regarding this much awaited fixture it would be 2nd Place Roma vs 1st Place Juventus this may not be a derby but it may as well be because Roma v Juventus is still a rivalry Roma have finished 2nd to Juventus many times over the years. Beside the fact that there is only a four point difference at the top of the table and a win for Roma would make it just a one point lead and Juve win would give them a commanding lead this game is really important of several other reasons too. Roma and Juve don’t like each other at all there has been many testing games with a lot of cards drawn, this match up possibly more intense and emotional than in the past. This is the best Roma team we have seen in years it was always going to be a hard match for Juventus even though they are at home a place where Roma doesn’t have great success. The big headline was this would be the 1st match Pjanic would play against his old team. Pjanic played 5 wonderful years in Rome before betraying the fans, teammates and the city to join Juventus this summer. It had a great ripple effect Raja Nainggolan admitted that he doesn’t speak to him anymore but it wasn’t all bad there was a lot of respect shared between the two sides prior to the match Juventus keeper Buffon said that he thought that Roma have a real chance to take the title from them and even a loss to Juventus wouldn’t kill their chances he also called Dzeko Serie A’s most dangerous player very kind words from the greatest ever. After a weekend of Serie A football we were ready for the big one on Monday night football match between Italy’s bests. As the game kicked off the it was a cold night in Turin which had its own effect on the game you could just see the tension building between the two sides no smiles just none stop intensity. In the 1st 20seconds Manolas wanted to let Juventus know he was there. As the ball approached the side line the Greek international pushed Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic over the touchline. I wasn’t surprised to see him do something like that Manolas really hates Juventus like more than the average person he has gotten into several different altercations with Juventus players in the past he is a very aggressive player he was just letting them know that he’s there. Juventus would get a chance in the opening moments of the game Higuaín was in scoring position but the service wasn’t good as it went too deep as Szcz?sny got to the ball easily. Juventus controlled the pace of the game early in Roma wasn’t getting very many chances offensively at the start they were just defending Juventus as Juve had the upper hand to start of the game. Than in the 10th minute Juventus got the 1st real chance of the game for either team Higuaín found open space in the box due to poor defending Higuaín would one touch the cross from the wing but again Szcz?sny would make the save. Than just 3 minutes later Juventus would break the deadlock. Higuaín took advantage of poor defending as he pushed over Danielle De Rossi and saw open space at the top of the box as a part of Roma’s defense was out of position he hit the ball and blasted it in the top left corner Szcz?sny doing everything he possible could to stop it but there was nothing he could of done. Higuaín’s wonder strike gave Juventus the 1-0 lead in the 13th minute. The usually strong Roma defense made a costly mistake to concede a big time goal it would be Higuaín’s 10th goal in Serie A this season. Roma would get there offence going not to long after the goal as Raja Nainggolan got great service from Rudiger who was just outside the box as he had a great chance to score with a shot from inside but would misfire visibly showed his frustration. Less than a minute later Raja Nainggolan would get yet another chance on the break from inside the box at a tight angle he would take a shot but barely missing hitting the outside of the crossbar. Nainggolan was doing really well creating a lot for Roma as the game was starting to become more balanced but Juve still looked a little sharper as Roma was having defensive troubles Than again Roma had another chance, Perotti on the wing sent a cross trying to find Dzeko but much like Juventus’s early chance the cross went to deep and Buffon got to the ball. Roma’s creativity continued in the 33rd minute they got there perhaps best chance so far Perotti sent a good cross inside the box in which Raja tried to chase down he slid trying to get to the ball than poked the ball with his foot as he bumped into Buffon. Than in the 36th minute right before the half Juventus nearly went up 2-0 after getting a short pass from inside the box Higuaín hit it with the first touch hitting the inside of the crossbar. Several minutes later the ref blew for half time after 45 minutes it would be 1-0 Juventus.
               It had been a very physical 1st half between two teams that don’t like each other many speculated that the game wouldn’t finish with all 22players on the pitch. Roma was creating many more chances at the end of the 1st half it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before they broke through. After the 1st half Spalletti went to his bench to bring in Mouhamed Salah for Gerson the 19 year old got a good 45 minutes which will be invaluable for him but it was time to bring Salah to try and create more goal scoring opportunities. Roma’s Enemy #1 Pjanic picked up an injury shortly into the 2nd half he tried to play through it but was unable. Now while I don’t like him he’s still a fantastic player and I hope he has a strong recovery. Juventus’s boss Algeri also went to his bench brining Juan Cuadrado in for Pjanic. Roma didn’t come out firing like was expected in the 2nd half they started much like they did in the 1st not much activity in the start of the 2nd again they were just defending the game to start the second half. For the opening 15 to 20 minutes of the game they were just chasing the ball as Juventus was in control of the game despite not putting together scoring chances they still were in control for those opening 20 minutes. There was a lot of great football but there weren’t a lot of chances early in the half. In the 69th minute there finally was a scoring chance after a Juventus cross in to Mario Mandzukic he reset the play giving a perfect pass to Sturaro setting up a clear shot. Szcz?sny made a fantastic save he really turned into superman in the 2nd half one of the best games I’ve seen him play in the Roma shirt. But the team play displayed on the play was unbelievable by Juventus. Spalletti would make his second sub of the game brining in El Shaarawy for De Rossi at this point Roma started looking like a force this sub changed the game drastically. This is where Roma would really heat up on a Corner in the 72nd minute Perotti hit a perfect ball in Fazio has chance to score but the ball would be cleared. It was very controversial as Fazio was being grabbed by a Juventus defender it was shocked there wasn’t at least a card shown it was one of the refs many missed calls in the match. Minutes later Roma got on another attack Perotti Dzeko and Salah put together a great attack Salah was cover by three Juventus players inside the box he passed it to to Perotti in a good spot but the shot was saved. Then again Roma had another near goal they were dominating the last 20 minute of the game. On a free kick with a little more than 10 minutes to go Perotti hit it perfectly it left on open window in goal Manolas went it for the Diving header but he missed as the ball just barley skimmed the top of his head Juventus were very lucky that it didn’t go in. Juventus at this point would bringing Pablo Dybala would come in for Higuaín making his 1st appearance since his injury. Spalletti would also make a switch bringing in Bruno for Manolas who was feeling pain in his leg. Roma’s scoring chances continued this time it was EL Shaarawy as he hit a header that nearly hit the bar as Buffon would push it over the goal. Dzeko would attempt a header minutes later but again misfired. The final whistle would blow several minutes later as Juventus would win a narrow victory 1-0.
Roma’s loss would make the difference 7 points at the top it was very unlucky result as Roma were the better team for most of the game created more chances looked and played better. Statically they destroyed Juventus it’s very clear this was very unlucky that they didn’t at least get a point. However there are positives too No team has challenged Juventus at home like that all season in a lot of ways they were better a very unlucky result. Thursday they will play host to Chievo I think Roma can win a large portion of the remaining games. Despite the loss they it’s not over there are still 21 games left the title can still be won this makes things more difficult but without a doubt they are very much alive in the title race…

MAN OF THE MATCH: Gonzalo Higuaín, ST
NEXT Match: vs Chievo Thursday, December 22nd

BY THE NUMBERS
A.S Roma
Shots: 10
On Target: 2
Possession: 61%
Passes: 404
Passing Accuracy: 80%
Corners: 8

Juventus
Shots: 7
On Target: 6
Possession: 39%
Passes: 225
Passing Accuracy: 69%
Corners: 5

TOP OF THE TABLE
1. Juventus 14-0-3 42Pts
2. A.S Roma 11-2-4 35Pts
3. Napoli 10-4-3 34Pts
4. S.S Lazio 10-4-3 34Pts
5. AC Milan 10-3-4 33Pts

BOTTOM OF TABLE
16. Sassuolo 5-2-10 17Pts
17. Empoli 3-5-9 14Pts
18. Crotone 2-3-12 9Pts
19. Palermo 2-3-12 9Pts
20. Pescara 1-5-11 8Pts

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