Roma is coming off an impressive 3-1 victory over a tough Hella Verona side, which maintained the Giallorossi’s spot in third on the table. However, things will get no easier when the Giallorossi travel to the Allianz Stadium to face off with Juventus in the marquee match of matchday 21. Any time Roma takes on the Bianconeri it has the feel of a big match just because Juve is Juve.
Yet, this time around, the match will take on an even greater meaning considering table position. Roma enters the match just a point ahead of the Bianconeri, but the defending champs have a match in hand. A win would give Roma some breathing room over Andrea Pirlo’s side no matter what happens in that match in hand, meanwhile, a draw or loss means Roma’s advantage will be no more.
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Couple that fact in with the pack of teams within just a few points of Roma and the Giallorossi could fall from 3rd to 6th in the blink of an eye if they don’t leave the Allianz with at least a point. That also depends on the results of the teams around Roma in the table. So, let’s see what the other five teams are up against this weekend. And keep an eye out for our in-depth preview of the Juventus-Roma showdown.
Perusing the Peninsula: Matchday 21 Previews
The Best Non-Roma Match of the Week
Geona (14th place) vs Napoli (5th place): Saturday 14:45 EST
Just a couple of months ago, this match would’ve likely been a walk-over for Napoli. Genoa was struggling in the relegation zone and seemingly staring into the abyss of a dreadful season. However, ever since Davide Ballardini was brought back in late December, the Grifoni are one of the more in-form teams in the league.
Genoa has four wins, two draws, and a loss in seven league matches under Ballardini. Meanwhile, Mattia Destro has been one of the hottest strikers on the peninsula with eight goals in his last eight appearances. And in that stretch, Genoa has pulled out draws against both Lazio and Atalanta.
Napoli enters the match having just played Atalanta in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg—meaning the Partenopei will be far from fully rested. Couple that in with some up and down form of late and this match could be an upset in the making.
Napoli hammered Genoa 6-0 back on matchday two, but I wouldn’t expect this one to be anywhere close to that. In fact, considering the Grifoni’s fine form, Romanisti wouldn’t be crazy to believe Genoa could pull out a result against Napoli.
Other Matches Featuring Top Four Challengers
Fiorentina (11th place) vs Inter (2nd place): Friday 14:45 EST
This is one of those matches that, in name-value, looks great on paper. The problem is Fiorentina has been up and down all season with just 22 points through 20 matches. These two teams met just a few weeks ago in the Coppa Italia round of 16—won by Inter 2-1.
It would’ve been a huge upset for the Viola, but Lukaku saved the day for Inter with his goal in the 119th minute. That match proved that Fiorentina has the potential to play with the Nerazzurri, which should buoy its confidence just a bit. However, the Viola will be without two of its most influential players through suspension, Nikola Milenkovic and Gaetano Castrovilli.
Considering those absences, Inter will be favored, but the Nerazzurri are coming off their Coppa Italia semifinal first-leg loss against Juve just 72 hours earlier. The Nerazzurri then have to worry about the second leg on Tuesday, which could make this a classic trap game.
Inter will surely be gunning to knock Juve out of the cup with an eye on winning its first trophy under Conte. That could mean the Inter manager needs to rest some of his key players on Friday. So, while Inter should pull a result out, don’t be surprised to see Fiorentina trip them up.
Atalanta (7th place) vs Torino (17th place): Saturday 9:00 EST
On paper, this one looks like a complete mismatch as Torino have struggled mighty all season. The Granata currently sit 17th and look like a side that will be in a dogfight to avoid relegation the rest of the way. However, since its loss to Roma back in December, Il Toro has lost only one league match out of eight. On the flip side, the other seven have included six draws and just one win.
Those draws have put Torino just above the relegation zone, but the Granata will have to start turning some of those draws into wins if it's going to avoid the drop. This week presents a tall task for Davide Nicola’s side. However, Torino could be getting Atalanta at the right time.
La Dea is coming off a humbling league loss to Lazio last Saturday and just played the Coppa Italia semifinal first leg against Napoli on Wednesday. As we’ve seen with some of the other big boys on this list, Atalanta will have to be wary of this trap game. With Torinio sandwiched in between the two legs against Napoli, Gianpiero Gasperini will have to keep his team focused on the task at hand or La Dea could find themselves dropping more points.
Milan (1st place) vs Crotone (20th place): Sunday 9:00 EST
This one looks like it should be a walk in the park for top of the table Milan. Not only are Milan playing last-place Crotone, but they also don't have to worry about mid-week Coppa matches like many of the other top four contenders do this week. If things go Milan’s way and some of the teams remaining in the Coppa trip up on the weekend this could be an opportunity for the Rossoneri to increase their lead at the top of the table.
Lazio (6th place) vs Cagliari (18th place): Sunday 14:45 EST
Lazio enters this weekend with a great opportunity to continue climbing the table. The Biancoceleste enter this one having won five-straight matches including last weekend’s resounding victory over Atalanta. That win moved Lazio ahead of Atalanta at sixth in the table. And with Roma squaring off against Juve, there’s a chance Lazio could draw level with or jump one of those sides with a win.
Romanisti will hope that Eusebio Di Francesco will be able to conjure up some of his old magic against Lazio and slow down the in-form Bianconeri. However, Cagliari has been in abysmal form—it hasn’t won since November 7th—and blew a 1-0 lead late to Sassuolo last weekend. So, the odds will be stacked.
- Sassuolo (8th place) vs Spezia (16th place)- Saturday 9:00 EST
- Benevento (12th place) vs Sampdoria (10th place)- Sunday 6:30 EST
- Udinese (13th place) vs Hellas Verona (9th place)- Sunday 9:00 EST
- Parma (19th place) vs Bologna (15th place)- Sunday 12:00 EST
Which Top 4 challenger is most likely to drop points this weekend?
This poll is closed
Napoli vs Genoa
Inter vs Fiorentina
Atalanta vs Torino
Milan vs Crotone
Lazio vs Cagliari