Preview: Serie A Round 3 – AC Milan vs. Roma

By Claudio Perfetto -

AC Milan will look to bounce back after an opening match loss to Napoli last Saturday. The Rossoneri will face Roma in their first match of the season at the San Siro.

The team had an impressive opening 60 minutes against Napoli, taking a 2-0 lead. A run of mental lapses cause the home side to get back into the match and eventually win, 3-2, but Milan will want to build off of the first part of the match when they face the Giallorossi.

Even though previous reports suggested that Gennaro Gattuso was set to make three changes to the lineup that took the field in the first game, it seems he might only make one.

In goal, Gianluigi Donnarumma will be given the start ahead of Pepe Reina once again. It was previously believed that Abate and Caldara would replace Calabria and Musacchio in the starting eleven, but Sky Italia’s latest report suggests that the latter two will keep their spots. Furthermore, Ricardo Rodriguez looks set to remain as left-back.

The preferred midfield trio of Franck Kessie, Lucas Biglia and Giacomo Bonaventura will stay intact for the first home match of the season.

In attack, Hakan Calhanoglu returns from suspension and will occupy his normal place on the left wing, while Suso remains a staple on the right wing. The striker position will once again be given to Gonzalo Higuain as he looks to score his first official goal in the red and black shirt.
Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria (Abate), Musacchio (Caldara), Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura; Suso, Higuain, Calhanoglu.

Roma are off to an interesting start to the season, as they scraped out a 1-0 win against Torino in the first match and followed it up with a crazy 3-3 draw against Atalanta this past Monday.

They are a team in transition as they had a ton of activity during the summer’s transfer session. Newcomers Javier Pastore and Justin Kluivert have shown glimpses of the talent they possess and the dangers they could cause in the Giallorossi’s first two matches.

There are expected changes to Eusebio Di Francesco’s starting eleven, as the manager was very upset with his team’s performance against Atalanta. Reports lead to the belief that Di Francesco will change his formation from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1, with new signing Steven Nzonzi receiving his first start. Rick Karsdorp also looks set to take the place of injured Alessandro Florenzi.

Likely Roma XI (4-2-3-1): Olsen; Karsdorp, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; De Rossi, Nzonzi; Under, Pastore, El Sharaawy; Dzeko.

As mentioned, Milan’s last match was a 3-2 away loss to Napoli. The Rossoneri took a 2-0 lead and had spells of very good football, but ultimately fell to the Azzurri 3-2. Giacomo Bonaventura scored a stunner while Davide Calabria found the net on the second goal.

Meanwhile, Roma drew to Atalanta 3-3. The Giallorossi took a 1-0 lead, only to fall behind 3-1. They eventually were able to close the gap and tie the match and leave with a point.

For Milan, it will be Hakan Calhanoglu. While Bonaventura and Suso are creative players, it was obvious that in the first match against Napoli, Milan were missing an additional creative option. The Turk will certainly bring that aspect to the team.

Although Gonzalo Higuain had a very strong performance, it was apparent that he will not be much help unless he is given significant service. The addition of Calhanoglu to the lineup should bring just that.

For Roma, it’s Steven Nzonzi. The Giallorossi midfield and defence had a horrific performance against Atalanta. Nzonzi is the perfect player to close the gaps in the centre of the pitch and provide cover for the back four.

This will no doubt be a difficult match for Milan. Roma is a perennial top four team and have made some significant signings this season such as Nzonzi and Pastore. After the match against Napoli, however, the Rossoneri should be out for blood.

In that match, they showed they can play with the best, and maybe the disadvantage of it being their first match caused them to tire out towards the end. Gattuso will surely fire up the squad, and with Calhanoglu’s return to the squad, the Rossoneri should have enough creativity to support Higuain. The defensive partnership of Caldara and Romagnoli will also want to impress on their official debut.

Milan vs. Roma: 2-0

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