If Wednesday's Round 37 fixture against Torino was about managing late season consequences (locking down fifth place and direct qualification to the Europa League) then Roma's Round 38 match against Juventus is about...well, nothing. For either team. By toppling Torino 3-2, Roma secured fifth place with a week to spare while Juventus officially won their ninth straight Scudetto last week, meaning neither club has anything of consequence on the line tomorrow, aside from resting key players ahead of the resumption of European play next week.
While I wouldn't expect to see 22 new faces on the pitch at the Allianz Stadium tomorrow, both Maurizio Sarri and Paulo Fonseca are likely to dig deep into their bench, not only to rest their core players but to give some younger and/or fringe players a look ahead of next season.
Juventus vs. Roma: August 1st. 20:45 CET/2:45 EDT. Allianz Stadium, Torino.
Consequences or not, as a Roma fan you're honor bound to hate Juventus, so, despite the lack of substance in tomorrow's match, upsetting the Old Lady in her house tomorrow will still taste just as sweet—something the Giallorossi have never managed since Juve moved into their new grounds in 2017.
And they haven't fared so well at the Olimpico either. Case in point.
January 12, 2020: Roma 1, Juventus 2
Roma's last league match against Juventus was another clunker for Roma, as they fell behind in only the third minute, only to see their sorrows double in the 10th minute when Paulo Dybala drew a penalty call on Jordan Veretout. Roma would get a PK of their own in the 68th minute, but they were simply outclassed once again by Juventus.
This was also the same match in which Nicolo Zaniolo tore his ACL, so Roma fans had far greater concerns then a one-goal defeat to Italy's perpetual powerhouse. And things in the Romaverse got even more hectic in the days after this defeat: Roger Ibañez and Gonzalo Villar came aboard, then Roma swapped Leonardo Spinazzola for Matteo Politano, Politano took his medical, Roma promoted the signing and then Antonio Conte had buyer's remorse and scuppered the entire deal.
And this was all within a matter of maybe 10 days—there’s nothing quite like being a Roma fan, right?
With no immediate motivation and potentially some massive upheaval on both sides, tomorrow's match could go any number of ways, but let's take a quick look at what to watch for tomorrow.
Keep An Eye On
Way back in July of 2018, Roma signed a little known Brazilian keeper named Daniel Fuzato; the 10th signing of Monchi's 2018 shopping spree. Beating out the likes of Fiorentina and Bordeaux, Roma paid a paltry €500,000 to Palmeiras for the then 21-year-old keeper.
And somewhat surprisingly, Fuzato has spent the bulk of his time as Roma's third keeper rather than learning the trade at the youth level, though when he has played with the Primavera, the results have been stellar. Fuzato's somewhat strange developmental curve continued when he earned his first call-up to the Brazilian national team in the fall of 2019.
Still, despite being called up by Brazil, despite making Roma's squad list week after week, despite flashing his potential with the Primavera, and despite signing a new contract with Roma just three weeks ago, Fuzato has never played for the Giallorossi. Not against relegation bound clubs, not in early Coppa Italia fixtures and not in meaningless end of the season fixtures.
Clearly, Roma saw something in his kid to pluck him from Palmeiras in the first place, and clearly they still have enough faith in him to sign him to a new deal, but sooner or later they have to give him a chance.
He may very well spend a season on loan, but what better time than now—a meaningless Round 38 fixture—to give him his first taste of Serie A?
There are certainly other young faces we might see tomorrow, but Fuzato, for all the reasons we just mentioned, is the most intriguing name on that list. Let's hope Fonseca gives him a look.
The Other Guys
For players like Diego Perotti, Javier Pastore, Federico Fazio and Juan Jesus, tomorrow could be their final Serie A match in a Roma shirt. While Pastore's deal runs through 2023 (FFS, Monchi), the remaining three players have one year remaining on their deals. Despite that, these former central figures have been mere observers this season, with Fazio standing as the only one of this set to play more than 1,000 league minutes this season.
It will take all of Roma's cunning to find a home for Pastore and his hefty salary, but one would imagine that, at this point in their respective careers, Perotti, Fazio and Jesus will want to play out the string on their careers somewhere they will, you know, actually play football.
Whether they move to a smaller Italian club or head back home to South America remains to be seen, but severing ties with these three players is probably best for everyone. They've each had their moment in the sun for Roma, so it would be great to see them end it on a high note.
Tomorrow's match will be an odd one, but there could be some poignant and exciting moments for some of Roma's forgotten and overlooked players.