Saturday January 4 2014
The key Juve-Roma duel

Dave Taylor believes the Juventus-Roma result rests on the winner of the battle between Carlos Tevez and Mehdi Benatia.

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Who knows? But we may find part of the answer to this paradox after the Juventus and Roma clash. Although not quite the Hulk Hogan v Andre the Giant duels of the 80s,both clubs will be fielding their strongest sides and as they are pretty much equal in everything, it’s a tough call.

In general terms Juve are the irresistible force while Roma are the immovable object. The champions are top scorers, have won their last nine Serie A games and have not been beaten at home. Visitors Roma meanwhile have the best defence and haven’t lost for 19 rounds, home or away. 

The game will probably revolve around two of the peninsula’s most accomplished players: Juve’s Carlos Tevez and Roma’s Mehdi Benatia. One is Serie A’s most dangerous and in-form striker, the other its most redoubtable defender, so something has to give. A head-to-head between this pair should be a fascinating sight. Tevez is the feisty tango-fuelled irresistible force, trying to thwart the Sirocco-charged immovable object that is Benatia. Hypothetically, it promises to be a classic as neither seems ready to be dislodged from their perches in a heavyweight clash that could help determine the eventual champions.

Both players obviously have different characteristics and it should prove a pretty even contest. Despite Tevez measuring just 1.73m to Benatia’s 1.91m and weighing 13kg less, he is a little player who consistently delivers a big workload.

Back to the teams, relatively speaking Roma’s immovable object is her consistency. The back four has rarely changed this season, enabling the defence to build up an understanding which has made them difficult to break down. In Benatia, Leandro Castan and Douglas Maicon, they have arguably got the best two centre-halves and right back in Italy, which gives them a formidable base to work from. 

On the other hand Juve’s irresistible force has seen Coach Antonio Conte produce a team that has scorers all over the pitch. Whatsmore on this season’s evidence, even after two Scudetto wins they are still hungry and ambitious. There is no doubt that Tevez has added much needed energy to this ambition and so far this season he has had the most shots on target in Serie A with 29. All told the Argentinean has scored 11 goals with just one of them a penalty and when compared to the three players Roma needed to score the same amount, it shows how important he is to Juventus.

Stats of course can be employed any way you want them, but what is concrete is that Tevez is a real danger and with his energy, control, pace and bull-like ability to burst out of tight situations, he will take some controlling. Yet if there is anyone who can do it, then it’s Benatia. Roma’s former Udinese defender has a similar burst of pace like Tevez, but he also has a height that he uses for the benefit of the team. Apart from winning almost 80% of his headed duels this season, which is exceptionally good, that extra height would be of no use without his determination and spatial awareness.He uses this effectively and exploits it to attack his opponents’ space. He is also unafraid to do the dirty work while also possessing the intelligence to read the game perfectly, which added together might just give him an advantage over Tevez.

So far in this campaign his average 3.1 interceptions and 5.8 clearances per match illustrate his ability to disrupt his opponents’ attacks before they develop into anything dangerous. Factor in that he is a natural ball player seen by his completion of a superb 88.3% of his passes and it’s obvious why he has been crucial to Serie A’s best defence.

His eye for goal has also made him an integral part of Roma’s attack and three of his four have come from his daunting John Charles-like presence at set pieces. “I trained as a striker when I was a kid and every Sunday my father placed me in front of the goal to train me and my cousins on specific exercises,” he said recently. “He prepared me to be a hitman. Who would’ve thought I would go on to become a defender? I didn’t!”  And neither did most and certainly Tevez will be just that little more aware this Sunday – he will need to be. 

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Have your say...
@Anonymous Marchisio, Giovinco, Nocerino (to name a few) anything else? Stop bringing calciopoli into this, milan fio juve are punished, the only one escape was inter. Whilst juve in serie B what happened to Roma? Yes NOTHING!!! your beloved team was weak then and now! your team can't even win single scudetto since calciopoli. How many scudetto your team have? hahahahhaa ever heard of Pro Vercelli ? they won more than your club hahahahahha 3 scudetto? ROFLATMF hahahaha
on the 9th January, 2014 at 7:44pm

Yes we all run because nobody wants to catch loseritis off you clowns.

Don't even bring fiorentina into this. Your team wear a lilac/purple/violet kit. Enough said.
on the 9th January, 2014 at 7:12pm
You all run from fiorentina
on the 9th January, 2014 at 1:33pm
I think my post read name the Italian players (plural). You could only name one. My beloved team has many more titles than you think. It would have a lot more if Juve did not cheat. Remember Juve were found guilty. You support a team that were found of guilty cheating. This can't be disputed.
on the 9th January, 2014 at 1:37am

Marchisio heard of him?

No juve fans in Torino? LOL then who filled up the Juventus Stadium then? oh yeah in Roma many are Juve fans, and your stadium oh well you don't have one bahahahahahahahaha

Anyway speaking of Torino the have more title than your beloved team bahahahahaha

Anything else to say? would love to hear more LOL
on the 8th January, 2014 at 8:51pm
Name the Italian players in the current juve team developed by juve. Prilo, Buffon, . Name them. Don't accuse people of not knowing anything just because they wish to support clubs with integrity. Juve should have been kicked out and this would have allowed the game to prosper in Italy. All the juve fans in Turin could have switched their allegiance to Torino. Oh I forgot there are no Juve fans in Turin. Tainted trophies can't be polished. They always carry a stain on them .
on the 8th January, 2014 at 8:34pm
what nonsense are you yapping about anonymous . it is inter who has the league in shambles blame them not juve who has developed a lot of young italian players .do you even know anything at all . you must be mistaking juve for inter . @ roma fans please i have had enough your team will always be physically small and weak with an idiot like totti who cant even read or write leading you what did you expect . didnt hear anything about juve cheating when yall were 5 points ahead hahahaha shut it
on the 7th January, 2014 at 7:54pm

Muhahaha how does it feel every day of your life looking up at juventus wishing the team you support could be us. How does it feel knowing Juventus IS Serie A. I can just hear your jealousy. This league is so easssssssy for us. Conquered Rome so easily. brutally despatched the pathetic side. When your star player is nearly 40, you know your team must suck lol.

Here is to another scudetto title. You can polish our trophies for us. Keep them shiny ok. Good boy
on the 7th January, 2014 at 1:41pm
Juve is not Italia. Juve does not develop players. Juve are cheats which put the Italian game through the mire again and again. Only a Juve fan would be so deluded to think juve represents italia. De Rossi did the right thing in reminding that dirty player chellini that any one can play the dirty game. the only difference is chiellini gets a way it and others get sent off. Chiellini is anti football and he and only should not go to the world cup. Disgrace.
on the 7th January, 2014 at 4:27am
Told you Roma are a xmas break team.
on the 6th January, 2014 at 7:27pm
Hi guys. Just wanna say yesterday's game was one the best I've seen in a long time. As a Juve fan I must hand it to Roma for playing good football for long spells during the game. They should certainly make the champions league places. I also must salute my wonderful Juve for proving that we're still the best and for silencing all those doubters. Form is temporary, but class is certainly permanent. Winning by three clear goals against the meanest defence isn't to be overlooked. Thanks Juve!!!!
on the 6th January, 2014 at 5:20pm
Proud of the way La Signora both played and conducted ourselves before and during the contest.Should Italy be takig a lunatic like De Rossi to a WC?He just lost it entirely.Roma keep your boasts until you achieve.
on the 6th January, 2014 at 4:00pm
Delighted that Rossi injury isn't as bad as we all feared. If he is out for 3 months then hopefully come the world cup he will be ready to go. You can do it Rossi, the whole nation is with you. I agree juve did their talking on the pitch and again full credit to them. With Napoli winning today we need to get the 3 points with Genoa next, again as I have said to finish 2nd this year and maybe win coppa italia would be a great season. All roma fans should be proud of our team.
on the 6th January, 2014 at 3:46pm
Much like in a brawl, you shouldn't worry about the ones mouthing off but those who remain silent...they're the dangerous ones! Roma talked too much before the game, revealing the fear of a skillful but immature team; Juve did the talking on the pitch. No ref alibis. As history has shown, we'll need a strong Juve to make a strong WC Italy...we saw what happens what we leave the Nazionale to Inter. Forza JuvItalia!!
on the 6th January, 2014 at 2:12pm
Francesco Totti
Age: 37
Caps: 58
Scudetti: 1 (ouch...only one?)
Quotes: "It's their fault if they get upset"
Recent accolades: Led his team to a 0-3 defeat with two sent off.

Gigi Buffon
Age: 35
Caps: 138
Scudetti: 6 (two lent to Moratti, who was feeling left out)
Quotes: "I think more than anything else this is used as a ready alibi for those who don’t win"
Recent accolades: Led his team to a 3-0 win and an 8-point lead.

Maybe there is a link between humility and victory. Oh and brains too :)
on the 6th January, 2014 at 8:36am
Well done @Sam De Martino and respect to you for being a true fan..
on the 6th January, 2014 at 4:33am
Benatia and castan the two best CBs in Serie A? LOL neither would start for Juve
on the 6th January, 2014 at 4:11am
FORZA JUVE !! 3 - 0 take that Totti !! Scudetto 32, here we come !!
on the 5th January, 2014 at 10:07pm
Well done juve. Very upset roma fan. We had a good first half but juve where clinical. Red cards where annoying and de rossi needs to learn to control himself. Im proud of my team, if we finish 2nd its a great season, juve in a different league. Devastated about rossi, without him at world cup we ve had it. Praying not as bad as feared.
on the 5th January, 2014 at 10:02pm

I hope you hate juventus more after today hahahahhaa

3-0 LOL

on the pitch hahahahahahaha
on the 5th January, 2014 at 9:56pm
the wolves got smashed by zebra bahahahahahahahahahahha
on the pitch bahahahahahahhahahahaha
the only thing you can have unbeaten 17 record ITS ONLY BECAUSE YOU MET JUVE ON GAME 18, nothing else!

now back to square one hahahahahahha
on the 5th January, 2014 at 9:49pm
Don't give me tips. Take a tip yourself, crooks always point the finger at others. This is the behaviour juve has shown. Since they were given the slap instead of dismantled all they have done is pointed the finger at the club which as suffered because of their crooked ways.
on the 5th January, 2014 at 9:22pm
Everyone hates Juventus except Juve fans - oh and Italian referees obviously...
on the 5th January, 2014 at 3:58pm
I'm a Roma fan, and while I hope that we win I see no reason to mouth off the other team etc etc (scusami Totti!) Juve are an extremely good team who are built for the scudetto whereas Roma are not. So to me the supposed "trash talk" is just to unnerve the rivals and it's understandable, it's not as if the team or the fans on either side is short of controversial comments so let's not act like victims and let the feet to the talking tonight, looking forward to the game regardless of the result.
on the 5th January, 2014 at 2:40pm
@Anonymous, in 2006 Juventus had 8 players Italian and French in the world cup final, and its producing that ability that has made serie A a joke? You obviously are unaware of evidence the tampering and former Inter shareholders who were judge jury and executioner of a farce trial. Free life tip; dont blindly follow what you hear in newspapers.
on the 5th January, 2014 at 1:35pm
One Anon comment on here mentions "classy Juve fans" in a rude way. Okay. But look at the articles on this site and what do you see? I see Roma players talking trash about Juve, not the other way around. I see Roma players saying refs help Juve, even though Roma have had more PK so far than Juve. I see Roma going negative against Juve in an unsporting way, which means without provocation. I see a classless Roma team. Are Roma fans reflecting it? I see that.
on the 5th January, 2014 at 12:36pm
Tevez might be an important card for conte's side, but not to mention there is llorente, who also handles almost 90% of air balls, which will be another challenge for the roma defense, specially if benatia is busy closing down on tevez
on the 5th January, 2014 at 11:22am
Italian football had it's opportunity to rid the bad smell around it. Instead of disbanding the organisation that made the league a joke it just gave a slap. Now the bad smell sits on top. Only the people who are used to the smell pay attention to it. Unfortunately for me I'm used to the smell. But it stinks.
on the 5th January, 2014 at 10:12am
It is a dual and a football game. My experience tells me anything can happen a team might lose a well prepared & dominated game & another might win with an sluggish outing. That said, Juve should win no matter what. This is like the right moment to show pride because killing the giant will tell scary tales to other 19 "Serie A" teams & 8 points will make you think clear without tension. I guess that is when Mr Conte produces his best. Yea without TENSION CONTE IS THE BEST.
Roma shud fight though
on the 5th January, 2014 at 8:57am
I love all the class from the Juve "Fans" oh that is right they don't have any, sorry my mistake. Daje Roma!
on the 5th January, 2014 at 4:40am

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