Serie A Match Of The Week: AC Milan vs AS Roma

AC Milan vs AS Roma
Italian Serie A
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan
Saturday, 18 December 2010
19:45 GMT

This season has seen AC Milan reborn as Massimiliano Allegri has enjoyed a superb start as boss of the Rossoneri. While there have been a few hiccups here and there, Milan are in a good position at the moment; top of Serie A with six points lead and of course, they are into the knockout stage of Champions League 2010/11 (against Tottenham Hotspur). While it won’t be known until May whether this will become a season to remember for Milan supporters, the truth is, the club have rebounded from a couple of difficult campaigns and have taken full advantage of their city rivals Inter Milan’s downward spiral.

Against Roma, Allegri’s men will hope to stake further claim to their Scudetto ambitions. With a 10-point lead over the visitors, Milan can virtually deliver a knockout blow to Roma’s title ambitions with a win at the San Siro. Having won their last two Serie A games, scoring six goals and conceding none, an Ibrahimovic-inspired Milan appear to enter this game in tip-top form.

Roma boss Claudio Ranieri has underlined the importance of this weekend’s clash with the Serie A leaders, saying that a win over AC Milan would make the league “much more interesting.” Ranieri also expressed his belief that his team have turned the corner and said, “We are going through a positive phase and we will be playing the leaders. I expect a great match.”

Roma may be 10 points behind Milan; however, a victory could see the capital side gain momentum going into the second half of the season. Having already defeated Serie A surprise package and city rivals Lazio, and also dealt a blow to the defending champions Inter. Roma will certainly fancy their chances against Milan at the San Siro. Ranieri will also remind his team that they have emerged victorious in two of their last three meetings with Milan in the famous old stadium – mission impossible is certainly possible for Ranieri's squad. Off the pitch, rumours of a takeover early in New Year are now widespread as UniCredit reported this week that there were several parties interested in buying AS Roma.

Recent Form

AC Milan
  • AC Milan 3-0 Brescia (04/12; Serie A)
  • AC Milan 0-2 Ajax (08/12; UEFA Champions League)
  • Bologna 0-3 AC Milan (12/12; Serie A)

AS Roma
  • Chievo 2-2 Roma (04/12; Serie A)
  • CFR Cluj 1-1 Roma (08/12; UEFA Champions League)
  • Roma 1-0 Bari (12/12; Serie A)

Key Players

AC Milan – Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Having had to start from scratch again after an ultimately unsuccessful season with Barcelona, Ibrahimovic is back to his brilliant best with AC Milan. Something about Italian football seems to bring out the best in the big Swede; “Ibra” as he is known, has already notched nine goals and seven assists. In a club that also recruited Robinho in the summer and possesses attacking-minded players of great skill and stature such as Ronaldinho, Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf, and Alexandre Pato amongst others, it is Ibrahimovic who in such a short time has proven to be the real talisman of the side. With the technically gifted, prolific Ibrahimovic leading the line, Milan have one of the most dangerous forwards in European football.

Roma – Marco Borriello: At the San Siro, Borriello will be in a strange situation of trying to beat the team that still hold his registration. The 28-year-old is still considered an AC Milan player, only being at Roma on loan. The Italian international, declared surplus to requirements when Ibrahimovic and Robinho landed at the San Siro, will be keen to prove a point to Milan. The Naples-born striker has already proven to be a hit in Rome, bagging six goals so far for his new side. In the form of his career in the last couple seasons, Borriello has been a late bloomer, having gone through much of his 20s without seeing much first team action with the Rossoneri.

Undoubtedly, Roma have shown they can beat the best teams so far this season; after claiming such scalps as defending champions Inter Milan and Lazio. Those results though distract from the fact that Claudio Ranieri’s men have been inconsistent for much of the current campaign, and at the San Siro Roma will face an acid test that should show whether they have settled after early season struggles. It will be difficult against Serie A’s in-form side who have now gone seven matches unbeaten in the league. It will be a fantastic clash.

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