AS Roma vs AC Milan: Serie A - Preview and Prediction
AS Roma welcome a struggling AC Milan side to the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday for what promises to be a lively clash in the Italian Serie A.
The home side have gone four games in all competitions without a home win, while Milan find themselves in the 12th position following a poor start to their 2019-20 campaign.
Two of the biggest teams in Italy are set to lock horns with each other as they look to move up the table and put themselves in the kind of position they should be at. Both teams are capable of challenging for Europe, even if they are not the teams they once were back in their prime.
Roma are on the back of two draws, and being hard to beat is the name of their game as their results show. AC Milan lost three in a row recently, but a win and a draw from their last two games is a sign that they are getting back on track.
Although Roma are a solid outfit, one question mark surrounding their form is the number of matches that they draw. They have only tasted defeat once in their last 17 Serie A matches and now host Milan in what looks like an intriguing contest in which both teams are likely to score.
Roma's performances and results so far this term have been average, with the Giallorossi now sitting in sixth place after eight games; a position they have been largely familiar with, in recent years.
The injury-hit Giallorossi played out a rather dull goalless draw against Sampdoria last week and and went on to share the spoils with Borussia Monchengladbach (1-1) in the Europa League.
Roma continue to be without Arsenal loanee Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whose thigh problem looks likely to keep him sidelined until next month.
Both Davide Zappacosta and Devid Eugene Bouah are out for a long period of time due to cruciate ligament injuries, while talented youngster Cengiz Under is also set to spend some time on the sidelines as a result of a hamstring problem.
Lorenzo Pellegrini, a highly-rated youngster, is a month away from recovering from a broken foot. Another starlet, Justin Kluivert, is suspended after being sent off for simulation in Roma's last domestic game.
Roma may have a proclivity towards changing managers regularly but it by no means stacks up to the sheer chaos that is AC Milan in 2019.
Having overseen just one game as Milan manager so far, a 2-2 draw with Lecce, Pioli must find a way of engendering some stability as he looks to stop the rot at this once-great club.
For Milan, Mattia Caldara, who recently returned to training, is the only senior member of the squad guaranteed to miss Sunday's fixture.
Milan have the feeling of a team in disarray, currently going through yet another cycle of change, and have only won three times this season.
The Rossoneri, sitting at 12th position with just 10 points to their name, were unlucky to concede a stoppage-time equalizer against Lecce in the previous round.
AS Roma form: LWDDDD
AC Milan form: WLLLWD
Edin Dzeko vs Alessio Romagnoli
With limited technical or dribbling skills, Edin Dzeko was deemed unfit for a career at the elite level of football.
But, the former Manchester City striker has since then evolved into one of the most consistent strikers across the top five European leagues in the last decade.
Such has been his scoring form in Italy that he now sits seventh on Roma’s list of all-time goal scorers. The 'Bosnian Diamond' has scored 4 goals and has a statistic of 3.5 shots per game, from what could be seen out of his seven Serie A appearances so far.
Dzeko will have his task cut out against Milan's trusted defender, Alessio Romagnoli.
The defender has shown brilliant consistency in the past season and has impressive Serie A stats to boot in the current season. In 8 matches, he averages 1.4 tackles and 5.6 clearances.
The big number here is the average clearances, which stands at a whopping 5.6.
Romagnoli's clean tackles, aerial dominance and the ability to clear the ball under high-pressure situations lend extra credence to the comparisons he has drawn with a certain Alessandro Nesta.
Gianluca Mancini vs Krzysztof Piatek
Gianluca Mancini is a modern-day centre-back blessed with fantastic pace, agility, athleticism and ball-playing abilities. He is capable of covering a lot of ground and initiating attacks from the back with his passing range.
The Italian is clinical, fearless, powerful and rarely gets flustered in pressure situations. The 23-year-old is bullish, strong, aerially dominant and also has the pace to make recovery tackles.
Due to his towering frame, Mancini poses a huge threat from set-pieces as well; 1.6 tackles and 3.6 clearances each per game in six league games are a testament to his qualities.
He will have to contend with AC Milan's prized asset, Krzysztof Piatek.
Piatek is a natural goalscorer. The Polish centre-forward is comfortable finishing with both feet, and his understanding and technique make him a handful for every defender.
Added to that is his aerial quality. His heading ability and strength makes him a constant threat from crosses. The 24-year old's movement and intelligence take his technical ability to another level and makes him such an exciting striker.
The Milan striker has scored three goals and registers three shots per game from six matches in the Serie A.
SCORE PREDICTION: AS Roma 2-1 AC Milan
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