Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) previews the top-of-the-table clash between Roma and Juventus from Serie A.
Roma v Juventus | Monday 19.45 | BT Sport 1
Italy’s two big-hitters meet on Monday night knowing the destination of the Serie A title could be as good as settled come 10pm. Only a win will do for Roma as they look to close a nine-point gap on league leaders Juventus.
Rudi Garcia’s men went into the winter break trailing the Old Lady by three but a combination of poor transfer business, injuries, loss of form and poor tactical decisions have cost the capital club ground. The Giallorossi’s run of W2-D6-L0 since January has seen their outright odds rocket to 12/1. It’s now or never for the Wolves.
Vasilis Torosidis should fill the problem right-back position for the hosts after a couple of decent showings in the Europa League but Roma were forced to play with 10 men for the final 30 minutes of Thursday night’s match in Rotterdam and may be weary.
Juventus have their own selection dilemmas for the trip to the Olimpico. The mercurial Andrea Pirlo has already been ruled out while Paul Pogba is a serious doubt. Without their two star names in midfield and (crucially) without the need to win this fixture, it’s hard to find faith in backing the table-toppers at 29/20.
The visitors have come out on top of five of their last six Serie A showdowns with Roma, have scored in 18 of their last 19 head-to-heads and are unbeaten in their last 22 matches. It’s hard to oppose Max Allegri’s charges but I’m not interested in supporting a side that don’t really need to win. I’m expecting Juve to sit back and play on the break, knowing Roma must attack.
I very rarely bet on draws but Monday night looks to be the perfect opportunity with 888 Sport making the stalemate a 23/10 runner. Roma’s recent run of draws, their unbeaten record at the Olimpico plus the fact that Juve have been held in three of their previous five Serie A road-trips, coupled with the state of play in the Scudetto race means for me, it’s the best option available.
Roma v Juventus – Draw (23/10 888 Sport)
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What’s your best bet from Monday night's showdown? Do you agree with Mark's selection?
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