Preview: Serie A Round 16 – Roma vs. AC Milan

By Anthony Torgrude -

A head to head clash between the two teams tied on points for second place in this year’s Scudetto race.

The Rossoneri enter December in their best league form in recent memory but are about to face arguably their toughest test all season. Roma have been a stable in the top three of Italian football since Milan originally fell out of those standings. This season we find the two sides neck and neck fighting for second and possibly first.

While the possibility of either Milan or Roma topping league leaders Juventus is there, most fans will agree that the real race this season is for second which leaves this game all the more crucial to both squad’s campaigns.

MILAN, ITALY - DECEMBER 04: Gianluca Lapadula (R) of AC Milan celebrates his goal during the Serie A match between AC Milan and FC Crotone at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 4, 2016 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Roma have finished either second or third since the 2013-2014 season and this year looks to be no different. The American owned franchise has done a wonderful job at turning their side into a powerhouse, albeit faltering at every opportunity within European competition.

As we have all said and noticed, this season Milan have created an atmosphere reminiscent of days old and glorious. They enter this match up on a six game unbeaten run and hope to extend that to seven.

THE TEAMS

Kucka managed to earn himself a suspension after just three minutes on the pitch against Crotone (in the 93rd minute as well!) so he will be missing this crucial match.

Milan's Slovakian midfielder Juraj Kucka receives a red card during the Italian Serie A football match SSC Napoli versus AC Milan on August 27, 2016 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples. / AFP / CARLO HERMANN (Photo credit should read CARLO HERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

In addition to the loss of Kucka, Bonaventura is still recovering from an injury. Instead, either Sosa or Bertolacci will start.

Returning from injury will be Mati Fernandez whom may start but with picking up injuries in his last two appearances it would be wise to give him some more rest as to avoid a third consecutive knock.

As for Roma they will miss a number of players including, Alessandro Florenzi, Leandro Paredes, and Mohamed Salah.

You may have read that Kevin Strootman will also be banned for the game but as of the latest news, he has appealed and won so expect Kevin to be present during the game.

AC Milan Probable XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Abate, Paletta, Romagnoli, De Sciglio; Pasalic, Locatelli, Bertolacci; Suso, Lapadula, Honda.

Roma Probable XI (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Emerson, Fazio, Manolas, Rudiger; Nainggolan, De Rossi; El Shaarawy, Perotti, Peres; Dzeko.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

For the THIRD consecutive week, Gianluca Lapadula is the man all eyes are faced. Four goals in his last four games means he is in hot form and with Bacca still injured, a strong showing against the toughest opponents this season he can solidify his starting position and throw Carlos to the bench.

With the possibility becoming increasingly close to a reality, Bacca should get used to the prospect of being a bench player and conversely Gianluca should show the necessary to lead a glorious club like Milan to victory.

Lapadula the hero again for Milan | Getty Images

LAST TIME THEY MET

Milan and Roma are by no means strangers to one another. Each team has three wins in their last ten meetings but Roma won the most recent game 3-1 which saw former Milan fan favorite, Stephan El Shaarawy score against his home club.

Tags AC Milan Bacca Bonaventura Donnarumma Italy Juventus Milan Montella News Roma Romagnoli Rossoneri Serie A Sosa Suso