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AS Roma vs AC Milan : Preview, Live stream and TV channel info, Team News, Prediction, Betting odds

Your guide to the crunch weekend clash between AS Roma and AC Milan.

Rudi Garcia vs Sinisa Mihajlovic: Who will come out on top in the battle of wits?

Matchday 19 in Serie A pits two hard-pressed league giants AS Roma against AC Milan in a crunch encounter at the Stadio Olimpico as the embattled managers look to cut themselves some slack after a run of poor results.

The going has got really tough for the sides in the league of late. Decimated by injuries, both teams have faltered in their quest and are losing their grip in the Scudetto race. Their misery would only be compounded after another set of disappointing results in the midweek games when the league recommenced after a fortnight-long winter hiatus.

La Maggica blew a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 at Chievo, whereas The Rossonerri were dished out a frustrating 1-0 loss to Bologna at home. The outcome leaves the managers, Rudi Garcia and Sinisa Mihajlovic, on the tenterhooks and staring at a very distinct possibility of a sack if they aren’t able to thwart the downward spiral in this crucial tie.

The clubs are currently in the dock with head-honchos desperate to hang on to their jobs. So who will come out on top in this pivotal clash and who will bump into a roadblock?

Kickoff and Telecast:

Date and Time: 10th January 2016 – 01:00 AM (IST)

Live Telecast: Sony Six

Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome.


Team News:

AS Roma will be without the leading marksman Eden Dzeko, who will be serving his second of the two-game suspension, but will have Miralem Pjanic and Radja Nainggolan back in the team after sitting out of their trip to Chievo through suspensions.

However, the hosts are still short of attacking options with Daniel De Rossi (ankle) and Kevin Strootman (knee) out, whilst fitness concerns loom large over club icon Francesco Totti. The likes of Seydou Keita and Salih Ucan too, are sidelined with injuries. Midfielder Juan Iturbe left for Premier League side Bournemouth for greener pastures last week.

Travelling side AC Milan are plagued with casualty concerns of their own, with Diego Lopez, Mario Balotelli and Jeremy Menez continuing their recuperation in the Milan treatment room. To soothe Mihajlovic’s frayed nerves a little, though, Kevin-Prince Boateng comes as an additional option in the attack, having returned to the club as a free-agent.

 

Probable line-ups:

AS Roma (4-3-3): Szczesny; Maicon, Manolas, Rudiger, Digne; Nainggolan, Florenzi, Pjanic; Salah, Gervinho, Falque.

AC Milan (4-4-2): Donnarumma; Abate, Alex, Romagnoli, De Sciglio; Honda, Montolivo, Bertolacci, Bonaventura; Niang, Bacca.

 

Team Form:

AS Roma
 
AS Roma are treading the same path which they have been since the last couple of seasons. Start the season brightly, take the pole position, then pull off a string of disappointing stalemates to drop out of contention, get humiliated by a European giant in Champions League, lose out early in the Coppa Italia and then limp their way towards European places in the end.

This has been the sad humdrum of the Giallorossis. The Rome outfit do not have what it takes to mount a sustained challenge in the league and thereby wither away in mediocrity as the season progresses. Just one win in the last 9 games in all competitions hence comes as no surprise, but it also suggests yet another disappointing end to a season that started so positively.

Last 5 games: L-D-D-W-D (Last match: Chievo 3-3 AS Roma)
 

AC Milan

For all their extravagant expenditure in the market during the summer, Milan have once again flattered to deceive. Seventh in the standings, 11 points off the pace and with 6 defeats so far, Il Diavolo’s season is already looking like an expensive disaster. Sinisa Mihajlovic arguably has better resources at his disposal than his predecessor Filippo Inzaghi but hasn’t been able to turn things around at the club.

Defeats to Fiorentina, Inter Milan, Juventus and Napoli has highlighted the chasm between them and the elite teams of the league, suggesting they still have a long way before contending for the league crown. Their slip-ups to lowly sides such as Atalanta, Carpi, Torino, Verona and Bologna have robbed them off any breathing space in the league and have had to suffer serious repercussions.

To pile some more problems, Roma, Fiorentina and Inter Milan are up next in their fixture list.

Last 5 games: W-D-D-W-L (Last match: AC Milan 0-1 Bologna)


Key Stats:

  • Roma have won only one of their last 5 league games against Milan (D3, L1).
  • Three of their last 6 meetings at Stadio Olimpico have ended in goalless draws.
  • Roma have won only 1 of their last 7 league games.
  • Last 5 games between AS Roma and Milan have seen the sides pick up one wins each.
  • Milan are yet to pick up a point against any of the top 6 teams in the league.

Key battles:

Miralem Pjanic vs Carlos Bacca

They may not go head-to-head in the game, but their contributions to the game will certainly go a long way in determining the final outcome of the clash. With a host key injuries to deal with, both teams are running short of attacking options and will have to rely heavily on the services of Pjanic and Bacca.

The Bosnian will be shouldering more burden than usual with Daniel de Rossi and Edin Dzeko missing out. Pjanic has been one of the talismanic figures in the Roma squad and his creative brilliance will be put through the paces again. If the hosts aren’t able to find the net from open play, then his unerringly accurate free-kicks will be vital in invading the Milan net.

Rudi Garcia’s future lies in the midfield maestro’s hand, and can only hope that he lives up to the billing.

At the other end, Milan striker Carlos Bacca will be shouldering the hopes of his side, especially that of Mihajlovic. The Colombian has had a stop-start life in Italian top-flight since his move from Sevilla in the summer, but may have to shift gears for this one as the whole club’s ambitions are pinned on him right now.

Milan have been creatively challenged this season despite their attacking riches. As a result, Bacca has gone devoid of service upfront. If they are able to conjure a few good chances for him, then the visitors might pull this one off as the Colombian ace has shown his flair and cutting edge in the past.

 

Betting Odds (bet365):

AS Roma  – 21/20

Draw – 12/5

AC Milan – 11/4


Prediction:

Beset by a raft of injuries, both teams are walking severely wounded. Their season is in great turmoil with managers under equally great pressure. That makes this tie all the more unpredictable and exciting.

The game can flail between a goal-fest to a drab encounter. However, given their recent struggles, the pointer points to the latter.

AS Roma 1-1 AC Milan

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