Boston Celtics shareholder James Pallotta's Roma defeated Catania 4-0 on Sunday at the Stadio Olimpico and will head into the New Year as Italy's only unbeaten team and ranked second in Serie A. Mehdi Benatia's brace plus additional goals from Mattia Destro and Gervinho helped give the giallorossi three crucial points.
Injuries plagued Roma's form over the last few weeks, resulting in a drop of form and a struggle to earn positive results. Captain Francesco Totti, Federico Balzaretti, and Marco Borriello were sidelined on and off during November and December, a period in which Roma won only two games and tied five.
Totti has since returned and the emphatic win against Catania means Roma has momentum going into 2014. But the points they gave away by tying games in November and December allowed Juventus to overtake Roma at first place.
This sets up what is probably the most anticipated game of the Serie A season, Roma at Juventus, when Italian soccer resumes on Jan. 5 after the Christmas break.
Juventus hold a decisive 5-point edge over Roma. But a loss for Juventus would likely mean a dog fight with Roma for control of Serie A's top spot from winter until the season ends in May.
Roma have never gone this long without losing a game. When they travel to Torino to play Juventus in January, they'll have eyes to stay unbeaten. A win or tie would also improve Roma's chances of winning their fourth Scudetto and solidify their chances at a berth in next year's Champions League.
Perfect season are hard to come by, but not unheard of. Perugia ('78-'79), AC Milan ('91-'92), and Juventus ('11-'12) have all managed to go one season without losing. But given that they did it recently and that Roma is a rival, Juventus won't be too keen on giving up valuable points at home.
Roma's away record with Juventus is 8-21-51. They've been outscored in Torino 156-58. Their last win there was Jan. 23, 2010.
Roma have also never won a game at the new Juventus Stadium, which opened in 2011.
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