Serie A Preview: Roma v AC Milan
Allegri's side look to make it five on the bounce by bagging three more points on Saturday, while the capital club need a convincing display to kick-start their season
By Livio Caferoglu
Cassetti, Burdisso, Juan, Jose Angel
Perrotta, De Rossi, Gago
Borriello, Bojan, Osvaldo
Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Taiwo
Aquilani, Van Bommel, Nocerino
Roma coach Luis Enrique will be boosted by the return of Brazilian defender Juan at the back, who seems likely to replace Gabriel Heinze after a poor display in the 2-1 defeat to Genoa on Wednesday. Other changes from their disappointing reverse include Marco Cassetti, who is in line to replace Simone Perrotta at right-back, while David Pizarro, Erik Lamela and midweek goalscorer Fabio Borini are set to be dropped in favour of Perrotta, Marco Borriello and Pablo Osvaldo.
However, summer recruit Miralem Pjanic has been ruled out of the encounter, and joins Francesco Totti, Aleandro Rosi, Bogdan Lobont and Simon Kjaer on the treatment table, although it is expected that they will all return at some point next week.
Meanwhile for the Scudetto holders Milan, they are set to welcome back Alessandro Nesta into their ranks, after missing their 4-1 win over Parma in the week. Elsewhere, Mark van Bommel should replace Massimo Ambrosini in midfield, while the rest of the side looks likely to remain unchanged.
Gennaro Gattuso and Mathieu Flamini are both still recovering from long-term setbacks for Milan, but Luca Antonini and Alexandre Pato are nearing a return, which will please boss Allegri.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Along with Cagliari, Roma are the lowest scorers in the top-half of the Serie A table, bagging just nine goals in eight games.
- Two of their three wins this season have come at the Olimpico, where they are unbeaten since the first match day.
- Roma have kept clean sheets in their last three fixtures against AC Milan, including five without defeat.
- AC Milan have won six of their past seven games, including a run of four straight victories.
- Despite being the highest scorers in Serie A, they have failed to keep a clean sheet in four games on the road in all competitions.
- Surprisingly, they have beaten Roma just once in their past 10 meetings, and haven't won the away fixture since the 2004-2005 campaign.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
Top 3 Predictions
Roma 0-2 AC Milan
- 15.57 %
Roma 1-3 AC Milan
- 15.41 %
Roma 1-2 AC Milan
- 13.74 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Dec 16, 2013||AC Milan 2 - Roma 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||May 12, 2013||AC Milan 0 - Roma 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Dec 22, 2012||Roma 4 - AC Milan 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Mar 24, 2012||AC Milan 2 - Roma 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Oct 29, 2011||Roma 2 - AC Milan 3|
|Mar 1, 2014||Roma 0 - FC Internazionale 0||ITA1|
|Feb 22, 2014||Bologna 0 - Roma 1||ITA1|
|Feb 16, 2014||Roma 3 - Sampdoria 0||ITA1|
|Feb 12, 2014||SSC Napoli 3 - Roma 0||ITAC|
|Feb 9, 2014||Lazio 0 - Roma 0||ITA1|
|16||Daniele De Rossi||Midfielder|
|17||Pablo Daniel Osvaldo||Striker|
|17||Mark van Bommel||Midfielder|
|Daniele De Rossi|
The Italy midfielder has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts so far under Luis Enrique, after seemingly falling into a comfort zone at Roma for the past year. De Rossi looks to have regained his bite and hunger, with a series of commanding displays in the middle of the park, and has impressed with his all-round game, acting as the general, organising his troops at the back while looking comfortable with the ball at his feet and forging attacks with renewed vigour. The midfield battle with Milan is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio Cassano being forced out of the spotlight in recent weeks, the stage is set for the Ghanaian to put on another all-action performance and demonstrate to the world that his quick-fire hat-trick against Lecce was no flash in the pan. Roma have endured problems in central defence this season, and Boateng's sheer power and stature through the middle could make it difficult for Burdisso and co. on the night.
It promises to be a mouth-watering encounter at the Olimpico with two of the league's best footballing outfits on show, but Milan should prevail and pick up the three points, ending their six-year Roma hoodoo. Both sides currently have contrasting fortunes, as the visitors are firing on all cylinders, while Luis Enrique's men are still a work in progress, and it should play into Milan's advantage.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed