AS Roma v AC Milan Preview
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
MATCH IN A SENTENCE: They may be seventh in the table but AC Milan are one of the form sides in Serie A and on Saturday will look to win a fifth match in succession when they visit AS Roma, who are just two points above them.
BREAKDOWN: Since a 3-2 loss to Lazio the last time they travelled to the capital AC Milan have lost just one of their last nine matches and taken 20 of a possible 27 points.
The run has seen them jump a handful of places in the standings, and with a win at Roma on Saturday the Rossoneri could leapfrog Roma in the standings.
The Giallorossi, meanwhile, had a four-match winning streak come to an end at Chievo Verona last weekend and need all three points in order to keep pace with the European positions.
A high-scoring team by nature, they’ve managed to improve defensively the last month or so and coming into Saturday have conceded just four goals in their last five matches.
ESSENTIALS: Roma will be without defender Leandro Castan, who misses out through suspension. Midfielder Marquinho is injured, as is full-back Rodrigo Taddei.
Milan’s injury list includes defenders Didac Vila and Daniele Bonera and midfielders Bakaye Traore and Nigel De Jong.
Saturday’s match could represent the final Milan appearance for Robinho, who is rumoured to be heading back to Santos in January. Fellow Brazilian Alexandre Pato is also in talks with a club back home—in this case Corinthians.
KEY BATTLE: Neither side plays with a lot of width, so the centre of the park will be packed with bodies on Saturday. Roma will have Michael Bradley and Daniele De Rossi sitting back in front of the defense, which means Kevin-Prince Boateng could have some trouble springing Milan forwards Robinho and Stephan El Shaarawy.
FORMATIONS: Roma manager Zdenek Zeman will deploy a 4-3-3 formation with Erik Lamela, Francesco Totti and Pablo Osvaldo across the forward line. Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri will go 4-3-1-2 with Boateng playing in the hole behind Robinho and El Shaarawy.
BETLINE: AS Roma 5/4; Draw 11/4; AC Milan 9/5. Milan did the double over Roma last season and won 3-0 at this ground in October 2011.