Juventus v Roma preview: Crucial top four battle

Roma contest one of their biggest games of the season when they visit Juventus on Saturday.

Top four ambitions still well within Roma’s grasp, it’s another opportunity for Paulo Fonseca’s side to shake off the hoodoo of struggling in big matches.

Defending champions Juventus have not been as strong this season as in recent years. In fact, Roma – who won on their last trip to this stadium, albeit with both teams playing rotated lineups – go into this game above their rivals in Serie A.

Those standings would change if Juventus were to win their game in hand. However, Roma will be trying to increase the distance before then.

The build-up to the game has been dominated by Roma’s captaincy dilemmas. Edin Dzeko returns to the squad for this match, but is no longer club captain – and Borja Mayoral could continue up front anyway.

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With Lorenzo Pellegrini out with suspension, Bryan Cristante will wear the armband. It’s likely he will play in midfield, as Paulo Fonseca has confirmed Roger Ibanez will be in the middle of the back three in the absence of Chris Smalling.

Fonseca also revealed that Pau Lopez will keep his place in goal despite Antonio Mirante returning to fitness.

New signings Stephan El Shaarawy and Bryan Reynolds will not be involved as they continue to work on their fitness programmes.

This match should provide a clear picture of where Roma can aim for the final few months of the season. If they can return from Turin with a win, it would be a major boost for their hopes of a top four finish.

The game kicks off at 5pm UK time and will be available to watch live on Premier Sports 1.

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