Ball management issues and a major absentee: Roma’s season so far

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan host Roma at the San Siro in the Sunday night fixture of round 20 of the Serie A season, seeking a victory that would put them nine points clear of fifth place.

You can read our preview ahead of the game, while the official website have published an analysis of tonight’s opponents, starting with their differentiating performances in both halves.

Milan and Roma have scored 35 and 31 goals respectively, the most after league-leaders Inter (44). The Giallorossi are the second-highest scorers in the second halves of Serie A matches (20 goals, equal to Atalanta), trailing only Inter with 24.

Meanwhile, Milan are the team with the most goals in the first half of matches this current season (21). In addition to their goal-scoring prowess, José Mourinho’s side have faced the fewest total shots in the league (185).

However, Roma have struggled with ball management as they have conceded 25 shots following a recovery by opponents in their half, behind only to Frosinone (34), Salernitana, and Empoli (both 27). Pioli’s side is the team with the most direct vertical attacks this season (41).

Paulo Dybala will miss the game, and it is a sigh of relief for Milan given he has contributed to 12 goals against Milan in his Serie A career (seven goals and five assists).

The Argentine is one of the three players – along with Felipe Anderson and Marcus Thuram – with the most successful passes to team-mates in this season (six). Since November 2023, Dybala leads the Serie A with the most goal involvements (seven: three goals and four assists).

Romelu Lukaku will lead the line, and he has scored in each of the four games he started against Milan in Serie A, but he didn’t find the net in his last two appearances after coming off the bench.

Bryan Cristante played three league games with Milan, scoring his first goal in Serie A against Atalanta on 6 January 2014. He found the net against his former side while playing for Atalanta on 23 December 2017.

He is one of two midfielders, alongside Morten Frendrup, to have played every single minute of the first half of the Serie A 2023-24 season (1710 minutes), highlighting his importance in Mourinho’s plans.


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