Even before the start of the season, the game here in the 18th round of play in Serie A between Juventus and AS Roma was going to be an attractive one given that it’s one of those must-watch games each season. Little did we know that the game between these two late Sunday at the Juventus Stadium has taken on a far greater importance as it is a matchup between the teams first and second in the league standings.
After 17 games played, Juventus are on top with 46 points and have won their last nine league games while Roma are second on 41 points and have yet to lose a league game in what has been a great start to the Rudi Garcia era. Roma has played with the attacking and defending balance that has eluded them the past two seasons. As these two play on Sunday, Juventus find themselves in a position where it can enhance its claim to a third straight Scudetto with a win.
At this stage of the season nearing the halfway point of games played, games like the one to be played between Juventus and Roma on Sunday are what one can term “six-point” games. What is meant by that is that a win would see you as the winning team have a six-point swing in your favor in the standings. This only adds to the intrigue and excitement when these two take the field, and it also enhances the importance of what a win by Juventus would mean.
A win by the ‘Vecchia Signora’ of Italian calcio would not only mean increasing their lead over Roma to eight points in the standings with 20 league games left to be played, but it would mean that Juventus would virtually put the league title on lockdown even with so much of the season left to be played. There are several reasons why a Juventus win would mean that the remaining Serie A season would be a boring one to borrow a phrase recently uttered by the great Marcelo Lippi.
Juventus are by far and away the best team in the league, and after some early defensive struggles they have righted themselves and are once again a very tough and solid defensive team with Roma at this moment being the only team better than them in that department. In addition, the play of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente upfront has proven to be a lethal partnership, and with the support of the best midfield in the league it is hard to see how this team coached by Antonio Conte will drop off enough for Roma to be able to take advantage of.
Aside from the strength and balance of Juventus on the field of play, them winning on Sunday would virtually seal their third straight Scudetto as common sense of analyzing and predicting results ahead favor Juventus. While Juventus might drop some points from the 60 possible that would be up for grabs after Sunday’s game, Roma too will drop points. Therefore, we can reasonably say they won’t be able to make up an eight-point deficit if they lose on Sunday.