Juventus v Roma
I have not forgotten. I don't think anyone has forgotten. It's just been swept under the rug for the moment. With all the hullabaloo surrounding Inter's recent shenanigans, Juventus has been able to quietly sit back with their hands behind their back, whistling softly and eyes sliding from side to side. Everyone's focused on the new Juve, rather than the old Juve. But let's not forget: they're still vile, dirty, cheating bastards. They're still the criminals, and The Other Olimpico is still calcio's resident penitentiary.
As I'm sure y'all remember, the last game went (relatively) splendidly until the ref decided to hand Juve an early Christmas gift with that throw in late in the game. Juve "earned" an undeserved draw despite being beaten from pillar to post throughout the entire game. As Claudio Ranieri keeps mentioning, Roma has a "little something extra", hence he performance. (Of course, that little something extra isn't finishing, which they failed to do in the tie - I realize I'm becoming a broken record, sadly.) So now would be a wonderful time to exact some revenge against the jailhouse bastardi.
Despite the recent suckitude Roma has displayed against the resident cellar dwellers, everybody knows Roma shows up for the big boys. Therefore, the performances against Palermo, Siena and Reggina were their way of resting up for the forthcoming onslaught of everything plus calcio's kitchen sink. Hell, this run may even be a good thing, serving as a swift boot in the ass. Please?
Last League Five
Juve hasn't been playing their best footy as of late either. They've played two similar Serie A opponents recently, Catania and Sampdoria:
Doesn't necessarily mean anything, but it's clear Juve hasn't been playing their best against opponents Roma handled easily. So that's nice going in.
9 MIRKO VUCINIC
10 FRANCESCO TOTTI
18 MAURO ESPOSITO
30 MANCINI ALESSANDRO FAIOLHE AMANTINO
7 DAVID MARCELO CORTES PIZARRO
8 ALBERTO AQUILANI
11 RODRIGO FERRANTE TADDEI
14 LUDOVIC GIULY
16 DANIELE DE ROSSI
20 SIMONE PERROTTA
33 MATTEO BRIGHI
2 CHRISTIAN PANUCCI
3 CICERO JOAO DE CEZARE (CICINHO)
4 JUAN SILVEIRA DOS SANTOS
5 PHILIPPE MEXES
15 VITORINO GABRIEL PACHECO ANTUNES
21 MATTEO FERRARI
22 MAX TONETTO
77 MARCO CASSETTI
25 CARLO ZOTTI
27 JULIO SERGIO BERTAGNOLI
32 DONIEBER ALEXANDER MARANGON (DONI)
10 Del Piero
Juan and Pizarro are still "knocked". I'd say the former is unlikely to play and the latter has a much better chance - though I suspect we'll see neither. Gilu Curci is proving it would have been completely useless to send him out on loan. Kid's cursed.
Mauro Camoranesi is supposed to be out but he's on the list so, uh, your guess is as good as mine. Methinks he'll be left in the stands. Jorge Andrade is still realizing he did a stupid, stupid thing by signing with Juve, aka Bad Karma.
Cassetti, Panucci, Mexes, Tonetto;
Taddei, Perrotta, Mancini;
I'll admit I've been a little out of the Roman loop, so I have no idea what's going on with Matteo Ferrari and the CB spot. I suspect the back line revolves around that. In the midfield I doubt Spal will risk his Valentine, David, if he's not 100%. They need every body possible for the upcoming run of calcio hell (II). And of course, Alberto is decent for a "substitute". Ludovicious in the middle? Possible as well. Basically: watch the spine of the formation. Things could change.
Zebina, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Molinaro;
Palladino, Nocerino, Zanetti, Nedved;
Trezeguet, Del Piero.
Feel free to rotate that lineup around completely.
Philippe Mexes v Pavel Nedved: Last time around they were really cordial, which was hugely disappointing for me. I was hoping Philou's boot would fly so far up Pavel's ass it gave him indigestion. I'm not sure this is so much a "matchup" as something to watch, but yeah, I love it when these two tango.
Juve's Home Mentality v Roma's Big Game Mentality: The Giallorossi get up for big games (most of the time), which means many have dreaded the Siena and Reggina games more than this one (alright, a few - I'm one). Juventus, however, have made their home self damn near impenetrable. Four goals allowed in 11 games at home. (How the @#$% they pulled that off with some of those disgusting back lines they've thrown out this year is well beyond comprehension.) Roma has to want to win this one baaaad. I suspect they do. (I always do.)
Mancini v Juve's Left Flank: Zebina, despite the fact that Roma won a scudetto as soon as he arrived, never scares me - and that's me being overly polite. Salihamsandwich? Ditto. In summation: Juve is overmatched on the left wing. Amantino has scored big goals in big games before, it's time for some of his magic again.
Pre-Winter Break Totti v Post-Winter Break Totti: Even if we're just counting goals, it's clear Francesco hasn't been as productive as he was before the break. (Not that he's human or anything.) His impact just hasn't been of the same level. Totti hitting on optimal makes this team nigh unstoppable. Hopefully he's just been keeping it in the tank for the upcoming run, and Saturday will be a little reminder of who the best player in calcio is. (And it is NOT Del Piero.)
Good v Evil: Whatever craptastic piece of journalistic toilet paper wrote up that Juve deserves to be in first place due to refereeing errors has a seriously short memory. If, and that's a big if, Juve has been at the wrong end of calls this year (I haven't seen enough of them to comment), then fuckin' good. Great, in fact. Fanfuckingtabulous. Let's start slapping a little harder on their wrists after that joke of a one year punishment they were handed down in the dungeons.
I don't care if Roma gets a Juve/Inter type call this game and wins only on that merit. If so, fuckin' good. It's about time reparations are being paid - and no, I don't consider gifted throw-ins (illegal ones) to be "reparations". Lady Luck should be on Roma's side for this one. Maybe that's all they'll need.
Score: 2-1 Roma
Goals: Mancini (24), Palladino (30), Totti (68)
Rosso: Nedved (51)
When: 2030 CET, 1430 EST
Where: The Other Olimpico, Turin
Forecast: 6°C, Clear.