Dec 29, 2013, 11:48 PM EDT
By the time Serie A-leading Juventus host second place Roma on Jan. 5, Andrea Pirlo will have missed 34 days of action, but the important thing from Juve’s point of view could be their regista’s availability for the first time since Dec. 1. On Sunday, reports out of Italy claimed the 34-year-old is expected to play in Italy’s top of the table clash, giving the Old Lady its full first choice midfield for Roma’s much-anticipated visit.
The Bianconeri will go into the match with a five-point lead on their guests, Antonio Conte’s side having won nine-in-a-row in Serie A. The last three victories, however, have come without Pirlo, who has been sidelined with an injury to the medial collateral ligament in this right knee. During that time, Juventus beat Bologna, Sassuolo, and Atalanta in league but lost to Galatasaray in Europe, sending them from Champions to Europa League.
In Italy, however, Juve’s streak has allowed them to overtake Roma, who have yet to lose this season. The Giallorossi, however, have been drawn five times, with the team’s hot start slowed by an injury to their own veteran star, Francesco Totti. The Roma captain, however, returned prior to the winter break, a sojourn that ends on Jan. 5.
In 18 all-competition appearances this season, Pirlo has recorded three goals and one assist. Since moving to Juventus from Milan in the summer of 2011, the Italian international has won been a part of two league title-winning teams, recording 11 goals along the way.
With only one loss in league, Juventus is on their way to a third straight scudetto, though a defeat to Roma on Sunday will allow Rudi Garcia’s team to pull within two points. Juve, however, has not lost at home in league since Jan. 6, a run of 17 games the extend back into the middle of last season.
And although they visited Turin with a different manager last year, Roma lost 4-1 at the Juventus Stadium in 2012-13, a game in which Pirlo scored the opening goal.
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