Roma v Juventus: Back Allegri's men to overcome title rivals

Will Tevez grab another goal against Roma?
Will Tevez grab another goal against Roma?
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All eyes will be on Monday night's big match in Serie A as second placed Roma host leaders Juventus, in a game being billed a a title-decider. Italian football expert Matthew Amalfintano takes a look at the key tactical battles and picks out his best bets...

"While Juve are no strangers to counter-attacking, it’s likely that they’ll look to control the midfield and dominate play in Roma’s half. We saw Allegri’s side begin with a patient approach against Napoli last month, initially sitting back before quick and unforgiving pressing led to them controlling possession."

Roma v Juventus
Monday, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 1

Roma have been in a slump for roughly three months now, their last home win coming against Inter in November. Rudi Garcia's fluid 4-3-3 system of a year ago is no longer finding similar success, notably struggling this term against sides that choose to sit back and counter, which Juventus are capable of doing.

The Romans have displayed a fragile mentality and shown few ideas going forward; that will have to change if they will have any chance of beating the Bianconeri.

Both sides love to dominate possession, averaging 62% and 59% respectively, so the centre of the pitch will play a crucial part in deciding the victors of the match.

Daniele De Rossi will probably operate as a midfield fulcrum that will look to maintain possession and make important tackles, but it will not be easy against this powerful Juve side who will press him constantly. Miralem Pjanic has been inconsistent in successfully dictating play, his quick and direct passing not in evidence much this term; so a lot of the creating responsibilities have fallen to Radja Nainggolan.

Massimiliano Allegri introduced Juventus to a diamond midfield in a 4-3-1-2 this season that has helped them continue their success. They'll be hampered by Champions League injuries, though; Andrea Pirlo is definitely out of the clash while Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal are uncertain to feature.

Expect Allegri to choose a tactical system based on the players at this disposal, with a familiar 3-5-2 being another option.

Pirlo's absence should prompt Claudio Marchisio to operate in the deep lying role; his vision and superb passing abilities have made the transition to a deeper role seamless.

Should Allegri continue with a 4-3-1-2, Vidal, if fit, would fall back into the right side of the diamond where his tenacity will be crucial in combating the home side.

Meanwhile, Roberto Pereyra's fine performance against Dortmund added pace and livened up the Bianconeri attack. He would look to do the same nestling behind the forwards. Pereyra performs the trequartista role better than Vidal as he's much more fluid in linking midfield and attack and taking on opponents.

While Juve are no strangers to counter-attacking, it's likely that they'll look to control the midfield and dominate play in Roma's half. We saw Allegri's side begin with a patient approach against Napoli last month, initially sitting back before quick and unforgiving pressing led to them controlling possession.

Another area that will play a big part in deciding the match will be the full-backs. Roma particularly enjoy attacking down the right flank through Maicon, but the Brazilian has faced fitness concerns this term and will miss this match.

His absence has affected his side's play, making them much more narrow and his replacement, Vasilis Torosidis, can't match his offensive capabilities. Likewise, Patrice Evra is the obvious weak point for Juve, often caught out of position. Gervinho's pace will trouble Evra while Juventus will look to open up Roma wide on their right flank.

Juventus should have enough in the tank for a victory that would wrap up the title race and allow them to focus more on the Champions League but, with Roma drawing their last five Serie A home matches, I'll keep the stalemate on side.

I'd also back Carlos Tevez to score - he's netted three goals in seven games against the Giallorossi and always seems to find a way to score in Juve's biggest matches.

Recommended Bets
Back Juventus, Draw No Bet, at 1.910/11
Back Carlos Tevez to Score at 19/10 (Sportsbook)

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