GdS: From Tomori to Belotti – Roma-Milan a battle of duels in each department

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will take on Roma tonight and it will be the battle of two sides who have started the season in very contrasting ways, a report has highlighted.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) goes department by department looking at tonight’s game at the Stadio Olimpico, starting with the defensive sector and the all-English duel that will take place.

Chris Smalling’s season didn’t start in the best way. The first two games saw him struggle in one-on-one situations against Candreva and Ngonge in which he didn’t shine.

Now the bar seems to be raised further, but the English defender certainly wouldn’t want to lose the virtual challenge with his compatriot Fikayo Tomori, who is defending a team seemingly in better shape.

Even if Smalling is on the threshold of 34 years of age (his birthday is in November), he seems willing to keep going with the Giallorossi and signed a two-year renewal. In addition to trying to stop Olivier Giroud, as usual he will also look for glory in attack.

Tomori’s goals against Milan are easy to count – one per season, against Juve, Liverpool and Juventus again – and yesterday he received good news from Gareth Southgate as he called him up for the Euro 2024 qualifying matches against Ukraine and Scotland.

Moving to the midfield, the new signing that convinced the most so far for Roma is Houssem Aouar. The French-Algerian former Lyon player immediately inserted himself into Jose Mourinho’s schemes, showing some quality and even managing to score.

For this reason he could be one of the protagonists tonight, splitting between the midfield and the attacking line, alternating with captain Lorenzo Pellegrini. If Roma are truly very cautious at the start so as not to leave room for the Rossoneri to accelerate in the open field, Aouar could be a decisive weapon.

On the other hand, the keys are in the hands of Tijjani Reijnders, because the Dutchman is the synthesis of everything that Pioli asks of his midfield: movement, aggression and runs in behind.

Personality too, a quality that the 25-year-old does not lack: Tijjani carries the ball with his head held high and always chooses the bravest solution.

Then there is the attack. Andrea Belotti and Oliver Giroud got off to a great start despite the ghosts behind them. If for the Frenchman Mehdi Taremi’s has vanished, for the Italian two ghosts have arrived: Azmoun and above all Lukaku.

Last year Belotti did not score a goal in the league and now Il Gallo’s desire for revenge immediately materialised with a brace in the first game against Salernitana and with a good game also in Verona.

For Giroud the argument works in reverse: Oli has scored 3 goals in 2 games and he is the undisputed starting No.9, and he is the one with the big goals in the games that count, but at almost 37 years of age, repeating a season as irreplaceable as the last one would be nearly miraculous.

For this reason, Milan moved on the market, trying to give Pioli a worthy deputy like Taremi. Now the path leading to the Iranian has disappeared, we wait to see if another ghost arrives.

Tags AC Milan Roma Milan
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