AC Milan will host Roma this Monday at San Siro after having booked its ticket for the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday against Ajax. Milan, ninth on the table with only 18 points in 15 games will need a win to stay in the top half of the table while a victory for Roma would bring them leveled with league leaders Juventus should the bianconeri lose to Sassuolo on Sunday.
This has been a very difficult season for Milan fans. The rossoneri have won only four of their 15 Serie A games and have already conceded 23 goals. The Champions League qualification in midweek against Ajax has temporarily taken the pressure off Massimiliano Allegri shoulders but a result against Roma is vital. The gialorossi, undefeated with 11 wins and four draws, will be looking for a second win at the San Siro this season after their impressive 3-0 win against Inter Milan in October.
Allegri will most likely keep his 4-3-2-1 formation with Christian Abbiatti between the sticks. Frenchman Philippe Mexes should be back in the side to partner Cristian Zapata in central defense. Mattia De Sciglio, back on Wednesday after a long-term injury will play at right-back while Kevin Constant will be on the left. In central midfield, Nigel De Jong will be the one sitting in front of the defense with Andrea Poli on his left and captain Riccardo Montolivo on his right. Kaka and Stephan El Shaarawy will be in support of striker Mario Balotelli.
Roma’s coach Rudi Garcia will most likely keep his 4-3-3 formation with the experienced Morgan De Sanctis as a goalkeeper. The former Napoli shot stopper has started every league game this season. In front of him, Leandro Castan and Mehdi Benatia will as usual officiate in central defense with Douglas Maicon as a right-back and Brazilian Dodo on the left. In the absence of suspended Bosnian international Miralem Pjanic, Garcia will bring in American international Michael Bradley to partner Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman in midfield. Alessandro Florenzi (left) and Gervinho (right) will flank the lone striker Adem Ljacic. Captain Francesco Totti returned from injury last week against Fiorentina but didn’t participate. He will most likely come off the bench.
Prediction: AC Milan 2-1 Roma
Despite being still undefeated, Roma has won only once in the last five games and will have a tough test against AC Milan in San Siro. The rossoneri, despite their poor league form, will be the only team representing Italy in the next round of the Champions League. Their qualification has given them a mental boost that will be very much needed to beat Roma on Sunday.