AC Milan will be hoping to put an end to their mixed run of form as they travel to Stadio Olimpico on Sunday to face AS Roma.
Newly-appointed AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli will be looking for his first win with his new club as they face AS Roma this weekend. The 54-year-old replaced Marco Giampaolo earlier this month, following an uneventful start to the campaign. However, Milan had to endure a disappointing 2-2 draw with Lecce last weekend in Pioli’s first game in charge.
That being said, the managerial turnover would make it difficult for Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca to assume Milan’s game-plan. The Giallorossi are coming on the back of a strenuous 1-1 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach in the UEFA Europa League in midweek. Fortunately, they had to play at home, meaning they won’t have to deal with travel fatigue ahead of their clash against Milan on Sunday.
Roma are currently sixth in the league table, with 13 points on the board. But, a win this weekend could potentially help them overtake fifth-placed Cagliari. Milan, in contrast, are still dawdling on the wrong end of the table, having collected only ten points. They will be looking for a welcome victory as they aim to move up the table.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over the two sides ahead of this enticing contest in Seria A this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Fonseca might revert a 4-2-3-1 lineup this weekend, and we can expect the Portuguese to make a few necessary changes. It’s unlikely he will want Aleksandar Kolarov to play three matches in a row, meaning Davide Santon may return to the side.
The ex-Inter Milan star could feature as a right-back, with Leonardo Spinazzola shifting to the opposite flank. Gianluca Mancini, meanwhile, could return to central defence, where he will be partnered by Chris Smalling, with Federico Fazio starting on the bench.
The injury to Bryan Cristante, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Henrikh Mkhitaryan mean Fonseca will be forced to deploy Javier Pastore and Jordan Veretout in the double-pivot, once again.
As for Nicolo Zaniolo, the reverted 4-2-3-1 could allow him to feature in his preferred number ten role. But, Alessandro Florenzi could come in at the expense of Justin Kluivert, who is suspended after picking up a red in the last league game.
Florenzi will operate at right-wing, with Diego Perotti a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank. And finally, the Roma attack will be led by Edin Dzeko, who was also risked in midweek.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lopez; Santon, Mancini, Smalling, Spinazzola; Veretout, Pastore; Florenzi, Zaniolo, Perotti; Dzeko
Pioli employed a 4-3-3 setup in his first game in charge of the club. He is likely to retain that formation. Only this time, Krzysztof Piatek might finally start ahead of Rafael Leao as leader of the Milan attack. The Pole will be partnered by the ever-present figures of Hakan Calhanoglu and Suso, thus forming the front three.
As for Leao, he remains an option on the bench along with fellow new signing Ante Rebic, who will be hoping to make an impression under the new coach.
Lucas Paqueta’s return has served as a blessing for the visitors. And the Brazilian is a guaranteed starter in midfield, alongside Franck Kessie and Lucas Biglia, who will feature in a more defensive role. These three will look to dominate the decimated Roma midfield this weekend.
Andrea Conti might be replaced by Davide Calabria due to his poor form at right-back. But same cannot be said about Theo Hernandez who will likely to get the nod ahead of the injured Ricardo Rodriguez on the opposite flank.
And finally, the Milan side will be led by defender Alessio Romagnoli, who will be partnered by Mateo Musacchio at the heart of the four-man backline.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Romagnoli, Musacchio, Hernandez; Kessie, Biglia, Paqueta; Suso, Piatek, Calhanoglu
- AC Milan are unbeaten in their last three Serie A meetings against Roma – they last went four in a row without defeat against them in 2005.
- Roma and Milan have drawn six of their last 11 Serie A meetings at the Olimpico: three wins for the Giallorossi, two for the Rossoneri.
- Roma have won 13 points so far, their fewest total after the first eight games since the 2011-12 season.
- Roma have failed to win in their last two Serie A home games – they last went three home games in a row without a win in a single campaign in January 2018.
- AC Milan could draw two Serie A games in a row for the first time since February – also on that occasion, the second match came at the Olimpico against AS Roma.
Player to Watch
After starring for Milan and Genoa in his debut campaign in Italy last term, it hasn’t been the best of seasons for Piatek so far. The striker has scored only three goals in eight matches. As a result, he was notably dropped to the bench against Lecce.
However, the Pole did score the second goal for Milan, even though they were undone by a late goal from Marco Calderoni. And this weekend, he will have an excellent opportunity of redeeming himself by putting in a good display against AS Roma.
Piatek’s goalscoring prowess could pose a huge threat for the Roma defence, who have, at times, looked susceptible at the back. Hence, they will need to keep tabs on this Milan forward.
AS Roma 2-0 AC Milan
Given Milan’s form this season, it’s likely they will easily be beaten by a Roma side, who will have the home advantage. However, a lot of will depend on how the hosts manage to play without their key players. As for Milan, they will be hoping that Pioli would be able to revive their dire form in the league this season. But, the manager’s first win at the club is unlikely to come against the Giallorossi.