To say this has been an eventful week in the Romaverse would be an understatement. The Giallorossi have reportedly found their next Sporting Director in Granata man Gianluca Petrarchi, despite comments from Torino owner Urbano Cairo saying otherwise. Roma’s managerial search, on the other hand, has seen Roma get rejected by Option A (Antonio Conte), Option B (Jose Mourinho), and Option “Break Glass In Case of Emergency” (Claudio Ranieri). With all this hullaballoo, you could be forgiven if you forgot that i Lupi have a huge match coming up tomorrow.
Although Roma’s draw against Genoa C.F.C. last Sunday essentially closed the door to the Champions League next season, there is still an infinitesimally small chance that things may go the Giallorossi’s way in the last three weeks of Serie A play. Three points separate fourth-placed Atalanta and Roma - certainly not insurmountable. Even so, that door will slam shut with gusto if Roma grab anything less than nine points out of nine from their last three matches of the season. Enter the Old Lady of Turin.
Roma v. Juventus: May 12th, 20:30 CET/2:30 EDT. Stadio Olimpico, Roma.
Juventus has nothing to play for; the Scudetto is all wrapped up, their European adventure is over for the season, and Cristiano Ronaldo is probably already thinking about his summer plans. This adds a sizable amount of variability to a match that, with normal stakes, would probably be an open-and-shut win for Juventus. If Max Allegri decides to throw out his B team and Roma shows some serious chutzpah, the Giallorossi might have a legitimate shot at winning this one, leaving the door open for a last-ditch run to fourth place. Coincidentally, Juventus’ opponent next matchday is Atalanta; in a way, the last thing Juventus has to play for is, in essence, deciding what club has a real shot at that last Champions League place. A win against Atalanta and a loss to Roma could fundamentally shift the balance of power among the clubs jockeying for that ticket to the Champions League; conversely, a win against Roma and a loss to Atlanta would basically seal Roma’s fate.
In all honesty, I have next to no idea how this match is going to play out. Will Roma play as if their Champions League future depends on it? They haven’t before when the stakes were this high. Will Juventus actually care about this match, or rest on their laurels? It’s always hard to tell with the Bianconeri. Regardless, the result of this match will have a deep impact on the future of Roma, so I’d recommend finding time for it on Mother’s Day.