Juventus and Roma have finished first and second in Serie A in each of the last two seasons and meetings between the two during that time have been dominated by the Turin side.
Juve, Serie A champions for the last four seasons, took six points off Roma two seasons ago and four points last season as they ran away with the title.
Now, the fixture list has pitted them against each other in only the second match day of the season and, with Juventus still under construction after an eventful summer, the odds appear to be stacked in favour of Rudi Garcia’s Roma, who host the match at the Stadio Olimpico.
Juventus, who saw veteran playmaker Andrea Pirlo, topscorer Carlos Tevez and midfield dynamo Arturo Vidal all leave during the summer, were disjointed and lacked their usual vitality as they slumped 1-0 at home to Udinese last Sunday. Italian commentators were quick to get out their history books and point out that there have only been four seasons in the past a team has recovered from an opening day defeat to go on and win the title.
Juventus have kept the core of their team together over the last four seasons and merely tweaked the team during the transfer window, but this summer they have gone for a full-blown overhaul.
Although the season has already started, the transfer rumours are still swirling around. Colombia forward Juan Cuadrado was signed this week and the club are still reported to be chasing Schalke 04 midfielder Julian Draxler.
“Everyone needs patience, as it is a transitional year, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost before we begin,” said defender Leonardo Bonucci. “There are many young players here and we have to put them in the best condition to do well.” Unlike Juventus, Roma have kept the core of their side from last season and brought in Mohamed Salah and Edin Dzeko to bring in some added flair and firepower.
Even so, their most impressive debutant in last week’s 1-1 draw at Verona was goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
“It will be interesting it see that when we play them next weekend. They’ve lost some top-quality players in Pirlo, Tevez and Vidal but they’ve also signed some fantastic talents,” said Roma coach Rudi Garcia.
“They, like us, have work to do if they want to improve and exploit their squad’s full potential.”
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)