During the week, both teams earned spots in Europa League’s round of 16 and must now turn third focus back to Serie A as Milan try to climb to the topmost position on the standings.
Sitting fourth in the Serie A standings after an underwhelming goalless draw away at the weekend to ten-man Benevento, Roma normally dominate more modest competition but have appeared to crumble when meeting their key top-four rivals, such as Juventus, Atalanta and Lazio city rivals, each of whom they have lost in the past few weeks. Fonseca is now expected to guide his squad towards the May final in Gdansk having completed the job against his former Braga colleagues after crashing out of the Coppa Italia to humble Spezia last month and having subsequently fallen off the pace in the Scudetto race. Roma’s excellent season has been fueled by a good home record, with the team going unbeaten at the Stadio Olimpico during the season. The men of Paulo Fonseca have won their last four home matches in all competitions and will be sure that on Sunday they will see their visitors off.
As they head to the capital winless in their last four matches in all competitions, the Rossoneri seem to have experienced a fall in form. They’ve dropped their last two Serie A games, including a 2-0 loss at lowly Spezia just before the Milan derby. Their recent poor form means that Stefano Pioli’s men have now given their bitter rivals Inter Milan the top spot. They are four points behind in second, and with Roma and champions Juventus breathing down their neck, they will look over their heads. Having performed poorly in the last two Serie A matches, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be under even more pressure to perform this weekend.
Even at the age of 39, the Swedish striker has scored a pretty ridiculous fourteen goals in thirteen Serie A appearances so far this season, most recently scoring a brace as Milan crossed 4-0 past Crotone. In the most recent meeting between these two teams, Milan drew 3-3 with Roma, and only Saint-Etienne (17) has conceded more goals to Ibrahimovic than the I Giallorossi. Over the last four games, Pioli’s side have looked vulnerable defensively, conceding eight goals. Inter, Milan’s city rivals, ripped them apart 3-0 on Sunday, but Milan will be hoping to strengthen their defensive frailties on Sunday night.
Roma – The hosts have Davide Santon, Chris Smalling, Ibanez and youngster Riccardo Calafiori all sidelined, Roma suffer from a variety of defensive injuries. Edin Dzeko will skip the match this weekend as well after scoring the opener against Braga during the week. With Ismael Bennacer and Mario Mandzukic being his only confirmed absentees, Pioli is unlikely to make many changes to his side.
The goalscoring mantle is likely to transfer to the Spanish forward, Borja Mayoral, with Dzeko sidelined. For his Serie A chances, the Real Madrid loanee had to be patient, playing just eight games on top of a further nine appearances from the bench
Possible Roma XI: Lopez; Mancini, Fazio, Cristante; Karsdorp, Veretout, Pellegrini, Spinazzola; Mkhitaryan, El Shaarawy, Mayoral
AC Milan – Pioli will name the side that took on Red Star for this weekend’s clash. Though Mario Mandzukic and Ismael Bennacer won’t be called on to make the trip due to injuries, both players are the only fitness problems the Rossoneri are faced with.
Possible Milan XI: Donnarumma; Calabria, Romagnoli, Kjaer, Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Leao, Krunic, Saelemaekers; Ibrahimovic
- While Roma are undefeated in sixteen home games this season, they have scored at least two goals in fourteen of them.
- Pioli’s side are without a goal in their previous two Serie A outings.
- The yellow and reds are the only team still unbeaten in Serie A, leading at halftime in nine matches.
- Roma have collected the most points at home out of all Serie A sides this season, but their visitors on Sunday have earned the most points on the road this season.
Roma have lost in the big games this season, but under Paulo Fonseca they played some wonderful football. Alongside a driven Stephan El Shaarawy, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is certain to trouble the Rossoneri security. As for AC Milan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, especially with Pioli’s men motivated to get their title chase back on track, can never be ignored, we can assume that the previous meeting will be replicated.