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Key players miss out for Roma, important pair sidelined for title-chasing AC Milan

Key players miss out for Roma, important pair sidelined for title-chasing AC Milan

The Serie A action concludes on Sunday at the Stadio Olimpico, as Roma and AC Milan come face-to-face in a real clash of titans.

A disappointing dip in form in 2021 has hampered Milan’s pursuit of their first Serie A title since 2010/11, allowing Inter Milan to build a four-point cushion at the summit.

Roma are in contention for a top-four finish, but they have a fragile one-point advantage on fifth-placed Atalanta.

It will go down to who wants to win it more, as neither team would benefit too much from a draw.

Roma Preview

Coming into this matchday, the Giallorossi have not surrendered the three points in 16 successive Serie A home matches (W13, D3) and remain one of only four sides in Europe’s top-five divisions yet to lose at home this league season.

Only top-placed Inter (32) have netted more goals at home than Roma (31) this Serie A campaign, with Paulo Fonseca’s men averaging 2.58 goals scored per home fixture.

Delivering action from the get-go, the hosts have notched up a league-high 18 first-half goals on home soil this term.

A triumph on Sunday would see Fonseca become the first Roma manager since Fabio Capello in 2003 to win back-to-back Serie A home games against Milan.

A blistering first-half showing will be a priority, as Roma have won 76.92% of the Serie A fixtures in which they were leading at half-time this season (GP13 – W10, D2, L1).

AC Milan Preview

The Rossoneri have gone from two consecutive Serie A wins to back-to-back defeats in which they failed to find the net and now stare at the prospect of losing three in a row without scoring for the first time since 1967.

Stefano Pioli’s fairytale has turned into a nightmare since the calendar flipped to 2021. His men have already dealt with four Serie A reverses this calendar year, two more than they had in the entire 2020.

Milan have picked up only one victory in their last eight top-flight visits to the Stadio Olimpico (D3, L4), scoring under 1.5 goals six times in the process.

This season, however, the Lombardian giants have accrued the league-highest 28 away points and boast an impressive win-ratio of 81.82% on the road (GP11 – W9, D1, L1).

Before suffering a dismal 2-0 loss at Spezia in their last Serie A trip, the seven-time European champions had scored two goals or more in 17 away league games in a row.

Team News

Marash Kumbulla, who denied Milan a win in the reverse fixture with the 84th-minute equaliser, has yet to recover from injury. Joining him on the sidelines will be Edin Dzeko, Davide Santon, Chris Smalling and Nicolo Zaniolo.

Pioli still cannot count on his first-choice midfielder, Ismael Bennacer, and the January acquisition, Mario Mandzukic.

Predicted Line-ups

Roma (3-4-2-1): Pau Lopez; Gianluca Mancini, Federico Fazio, Bryan Cristante; Rick Karsdorp, Jordan Veretout, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Leonardo Spinazzola; Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Stephan El Shaarawy, Borja Mayoral.

AC Milan (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Davide Calabria, Alessio Romagnoli, Simon Kjaer, Theo Hernandez; Sandro Tonali, Frank Kessie; Rafael Leao, Rade Krunic, Alexis Saelemaekers; Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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