AC Milan will take on AS Roma at the San Siro in the Serie A on Monday, 26 October 2020.
Finishing just below the Champions League positions in 2019-20, AC Milan and AS Roma will be eager to regain their top four status and based on their current form – the hosts could even dream for something bigger?
After three consecutive defeats in their Serie A home matches with AS Roma between 2016 and 2017, AC Milan have won the last two at the San Siro, including a 2-0 victory in the most recent meeting on 28 June.
AC Milan Betting Preview
Considering that AC Milan were out of the top-four for the last seven seasons, a top-four finish and a Champions League qualification seems to be an appropriate target.
Indeed, finishing sixth last season, twelve points behind fourth-placed Lazio, AC Milan were probably eyeing a top-four return in 2020-21, but a flying start to the new campaign and the not so convincing results of the nine-time defending champions Juventus could set another, more ambitious target over the course of the season.
The Rossoneri have gained momentum since the Serie A post-lockdown resumption in June, remaining unbeaten since a 2-1 home defeat to Genoa on 8 March. Most recently, AC Milan have been impeccable since the start of the new campaign in the Italian top-flight and come off a massive 2-1 win over arch rivals Inter Milan in the Derby della Madonnina last weekend.
Stefano Pioli’s men will be keen to maintain their invincible form that stretches beyond the new season, with AC Milan winning 13 of their last 16 Serie A matches.
Like their opponents who also had to travel abroad in midweek, AC Milan will take on AS Rome on the back of a 3-1 victory away at Celtic.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has recovered from his own coronavirus experience and the Sweden veteran, who turned 39 earlier this month, is enjoying a magnificent form. Ibrahimovic scored a brace for AC Milan’s 2-1 victory over Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan and can boast a very efficient Serie A record, having scored four goals in just two appearances.
Brahim Diaz and Jens Petter Hauge were among the youngsters who have starred for AC Milan’s 3-1 win at Celtic in midweek, while Bosnian midfielder Rade Krunic also scored his first goal for the Rossoneri since he joined the Milan outfit last summer. However, of the aforementioned trio, only Diaz could start in the No. 10 role on Monday as he can replace injured Hakan Calhanoglu.
Except for the injured Turkey international Calhanoglu who has to overcome an ankle sprain, Stefano Pioli should have no intention to rotate his starting side, meaning that Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer should pair at central midfield, while Alexis Saelemaekers and Rafael Leão are set start on either flank. The 21-years-old Belgium international Saelemaekers is yet to score or assist in Serie A this season, but his progress is obvious and it seems that Pioli is willing to give him a chance to establish himself as a starter, especially when Ante Rebic is recovering from an injury.
Calhanoglu and Rebic could both return to full training in the coming week, particularly Rebic who already started individual training, but Monday’s clash against AS Roma probably comes too soon for either of them.
Centre-backs Matteo Gabbia and Mateo Musacchio are both sidelined as well.
AS Roma Betting Preview
Paulo Fonseca’s side comfortably defeated the Serie B champions Benevento 5-2 last weekend courtesy of a brace from AS Roma’s star Edin Dzeko and a prolific performance from ex-Barcelona players Pedro and Carles Perez.
This was their second successive win in the Serie A and The Giallorossi managed to build on in midweek, when they were trailing 1-0 at the break against Young Boys of Switzerland, but substitutions inspired a comeback to snatch a 2-1 victory in Berne in their Europa League opener with goals from Bruno Peres and Marash Kumbulla. Moreover, Paulo Fonseca rested some first-team figures and can now fully focus on an in-form AC Milan side in Serie A.
The GIallorossi were fifth in the Italian top-flight last season, eight points behind Atalanta and their Roman rivals Lazio, who finished third and fourth respectively.
Paulo Fonseca’s men are now 8th in the table, collecting seven points from their four Serie A games and travel to Milan on the back of consecutive victories over Udinese and Benevento.
Whereas Roma have enjoyed a decent attacking record last season – scoring 77 goals in 38 Serie A matches (one more than of Champions Juventus) – it was the defense that let them down in crucial games. Indeed, they’ve conceded 51 goals last season, which was the worst defensive record among the top-seven sides and they’ve also conceded as many as 9-th placed Hellas Verona and 13-th placed Udinese or even more than 10-th placed Fiorentina.
AS Roma’s goalscorer Edin Dzeko has scored 16 goals in 35 Serie A appearances last season while the Bosnian-veteran has just opened his scoring account in the new season and will surely want to add to his tally on Monday.
Paulo Fonseca finds himself without two key centre-backs as the former England international Chris Smalling hasn’t recovered from a mild knee injury and is not going to be ready in time, while his Italy counterpart Gianluca Mancini tested positive for Coronavirus earlier this week and is ruled out as well.
This means that experienced Argentine Federico Fazio and his younger teammate Marash Kumbulla could feature at centre-back, especially if Paulo Fonseca reverts to a three-man defensive line.
Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Pellegrini could be in contention for a central midfield spot alongside Jordan Veretout, though the latter is tipped to start here. Anyway, Bryan Cristante could also be pulled at centre-back, where he started in Roma’s opening match – a goalless draw with Hellas Verona that has eventually been turned into a 3-0 defeat because Guinea midfielder Amadou Diawara was mistakenly included in the Under-22 section of their players list and not on the 25-man squad list.
Now, Amadou Diawara himself is also out of action due to illness (coronavirus), whereas Italian talent Nicolò Zaniolo suffered another long-term injury setback and will be sidelined for a couple of months.
Possible Starting Lineups of AC Milan and AS Roma
AC Milan: Gianluigi Donnarumma – Theo Hernandez, Alessio Romagnoli, Simon Kjaer, Davide Calabria – Franck Kessie, Ismael Bennacer – Rafael Leao, Brahim Diaz, Alexis Saelemaekers – Zlatan Ibrahimovic. (4-2-3-1)
AS Roma: Antonio Mirante – Roger Ibanez, Federico Fazio, Marash Kumbulla – Leonardo Spinazzola, Jordan Veretout, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Davide Santon – Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pedro – Edin Dzeko. (3-4-2-1)
Spooky Express Betting Prediction
AC Milan are +103 favorites to claim the three points against odds of +194 on AS Roma with BetOnline. Meanwhile, a draw can be backed at +211.
Both sides are brimming with confidence and have some excellent attackers in their lines as the duel between Roma’s Bosnian centre-forward Edin Dzeko and his Swedish counterpart Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose father is a Bosniak as well, could be crucial for the final outcome.
However, we are backing AC Milan to extend their winning streak in the Serie A, which could inspire their Scudetto hopes even more.
Spooky Express Free Play: AC Milan +103 @ BetOnline for 6/10 Units