Serie A's hope for the season rests on Roma beating Juventus
It'll be daunting for the Giallorossi however in Turin18:04 Friday 16 December 2016, 18:04 16 Dec 2016
The way Monday night's fixture between AS Roma and AC Milan was billed is illustrative of what Serie A has become.
In a way, the game was viewed as a fixture of the "anti Juve" as the two leading challengers to Juventus went head-to-head.
In the end, an excellent goal from Radja Nainggolan gave Roma a 1-0 win over a young Milan side to push Luciano Spalletti's side into second and four points of Serie A table toppers Juventus.
And now that Roma hold the mantle of the "anti Juve" for this season, they could get to test that "best of the rest" position straight away with a trip to Turin to face the leaders.
Juventus' recent dominance of Italian football has been far reaching. Should they win this season's Scudetto as expected, it will be their sixth league triumph in a row. That would break the all-time record for consecutive titles.
The Bianconeri have also made their presence felt in the transfer market by signing the best players from rival clubs.
Roma were unable to keep playmaker Miralem Pjanic from Juve's clutches and this season's Serie A top scorer Gonzalo Higuain has gone from breaking goalscoring records with Napoli to banging in the goals in a black and white shirt.
Juventus's Miralem Pjanic controls the ball during a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Juventus, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
A part of Juve's success is the fact that they moved into their own stadium, the 41,000 seater Juventus Stadium with all the financial benefits that entails.
Roma have had ambitions to follow suit by building their own ground but at present like most Italian clubs, they occupy council owned stadiums with the challenge that entails. In Roma's case it is the vast Stadio Olimpico.
Juve's stadium has also proved virtually unconquerable. They have won eight from eight in Turin in Serie A this season.
Their last home league defeat dates back to the opening match of last season when Udinese stunned a team that was in transition after losing Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal.
That loss was followed up by a 2-1 defeat to Roma but Juve still went on to dominate the league after getting to the top of the table on Matchday 25.
Indeed, the loss to Udinese was the only home defeat since the start of the 2013-14 league campaign.
And Roma will have to try to make it two defeats in Turin on Saturday. It's an almighty task even with in form goalscorer Edin Dzeko and midfield talent like Kevin Strootman, Nainggolan and and Daniele De Rossi. But even if they win, they will still remain a point behind and Juve are still overwhelming favourites to make it six titles in a row.
Neutrals (expect Lazio fans presumably) will have their fingers crossed for a Roma win but mainly because they are the only hope of a change in the list of league winners in this era.
The very best bits delivered every weekSubscribe now