After battling to a hard-fought win over Genoa, Roma will welcome Milan to the Stadio Olimpico for their last League game of 2014.
It certainly was not a pretty win, but the Giallorossi’s victory over Genoa has moved them to just one point behind Juventus. Still, although 11 points separate them from the Rossoneri, for the visitors, this could not represent a better time to take on the Scudetto contenders.
Juventus are currently one point ahead at the top of the table, but Roma appear to be better equipped than ever to ensure that the champions do not storm away with the title.
The result against Genoa proved a pyrrhic victory to a mild extent. Not only did Rudi Garcia pick up a two-match ban for alleged aggression towards a steward, but also a trio of key players – defenders Jose Holebas and Davide Astori, as well as playmaker Miralem Pjanic – were suspended. Following a last-minute appeal, Garcia saw his ban suspended pending further investigation and Holebas had his punishment revoked entirely.
Philippe Mexes hopes that A.C Milan can use Saturday’s Serie A trip to former club Roma as the springboard to a more consistent run of results.
After starting the 2014-15 league campaign with just one defeat from their opening nine matches, Filippo Inzaghi’s men have hit a patch of indifferent form in recent weeks.
Their last six outings have seen two wins, two draws and two defeats as they have struggled to find top form.
There were encouraging signs last time out, as goals from Jeremy Menez and Giacomo Bonaventura secured a 2-0 home win over Napoli, a result which lifted them to sixth in the table, two points drift of third place and the Champions League qualifying spot.
Despite missing Ignazio Abate and Mattia De Sciglio, with the Italian duo suffering from injuries, as well as having a suspect defence at times this season, the partnership between Adil Rami and Philippe Mexes appears to be growing stronger with each match.
Stephan El Shaarawy will be on bench as per reports suggest as he has failed to impressed Pippo Inzaghi. Captain Riccardo Montolivo will start with Nigel De Jong and Andrea Poli in midfield as all of them played brilliantly against Napoli in San Siro.
Their attack will comprise of Giacomo Bonaventura, Inform Jeremy Menez and Keisuke Honda.
Francesco Totti was on the bench for that game, but he could return to the side for the meeting with Milan, while Daniele De Rossi is available again after suspension.
Garcia was handed a two-match touchline ban by the Lega Serie A for “aggressive and intimidating conduct” towards a steward after Sunday’s intense encounter in Genoa.
Garcia has denied accusations that he attempted to slap a steward and has launched an appeal to have the punishment overturned.
“I will wait for Friday’s appeal,’‘ Garcia told the Italian media. “I will fight to clear my name.”
“It seems strange that I’ve been judged and punished with a two-match touchline ban for a comment made by someone who claims to be a steward. It’s something unheard of.”
“Against A.C Milan, we need to show the same determination that we displayed in our 1-0 triumph at Genoa,” Garcia said. “We know Milan is a good side but this is our last game of the year and we want three points.” (source ESPNFC)
- Milan have won their most Serie A games against Roma: 71 wins in 158 meetings.
- The Giallorossi are unbeaten in the last four league clashes against AC Milan (W2, D2).
- The Rossoneri have managed only one win in their last nine visits at the Olimpico against Roma (3-2 in October 2011): four wins for the Giallorossi and four draws in the process.
- Roma have won 11 games so far, equalling their Serie A record set in 2003/04 and 2013/14. However, the Giallorossi have conceded six goals more than they had last season after 15 MDs.
- Roma are unbeaten at home in this league campaign (W7, D1), and have scored at least two goals in each of these eight matches.
- Garcia’s men have conceded four goals in the last two games at the Olimpico, as many as they had suffered in the previous 10 fixtures.
- The Rossoneri have won two of the last three league matches, both at home 2-0.
- They are winless away from home in three games (D2, L1) and have conceded in 10 consecutive away games
Roma: De Sanctis; Maicon, Manolas, Yanga-Mbiwa, Holebas; Nainggolan, De Rossi, Keita; Ljajic, Totti, Gervinho
Suspended: Astori, Pjanic
Milan: Diego Lopez; Bonera, Rami, Mexes, Armero; Poli, De Jong, Montolivo; Honda, Menez, Bonaventura.
Roma 2-0 Milan