Saturday, November 6
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Oct 31, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
AC MilanAC Milan
El Shaarawy (90+3')
Zaniolo (7'), Karsdorp (24'), Mancini (49'), Veretout (90+7')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Ibrahimovic (26'), Kessie (57' pen.)
Ibrahimovic (27'), Hernandez (41'), Tomori (65'), Calabria (67'), Giroud (77'), Kessie (81')
Hernandez (66')

Preview: Roma vs. AC Milan - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Roma vs. AC Milan - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Roma and AC Milan, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Two of Serie A's top four clash at Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening, as Roma host second-placed AC Milan, seeking to make up ground already lost.

Sitting some nine points above their capital city counterparts in the standings, the Rossoneri enter the weekend level on points with Napoli, as the pair lead the way in the early stages of the Scudetto race.

Match preview

Though they may have been below their best throughout much of their latest league victory in midweek, Milan managed to eke out a win against Torino which keeps them separated from the top step of the Serie A podium only by goal difference.

Following dramatic comebacks over the past two weekends, this time Olivier Giroud's early goal-poacher's strike proved enough to seal the deal at San Siro.

Last week's late win at Bologna had temporarily taken the unbeaten Rossoneri to the summit of the standings, though current leaders Napoli then responded with four points from two fixtures to resume their occupancy of first place.

Nonetheless, the pair are now only the fifth and sixth sides to claim nine wins from their first 10 matches of a Serie A campaign, and Stefano Pioli's side sit seven points clear of defending champions Inter - with next week's Derby della Madonnina on the horizon - and a full 13 above Juventus.

Now seeking to prolong their fine spell of form until the upcoming international break, during the next week, Milan must first meet Roma, then host Porto in a last-gasp attempt to keep their waning Champions League hopes alive, and finally take on Inter in the Derby.

Six successive Serie A wins have built a serious sense of momentum at their Milanello headquarters of late, and Pioli now returns to Stadio Olimpico - where he enjoyed a positive spell as leader of Lazio earlier in his career - expecting to leave with the points.

Not only are they flying high in the standings, but Milan have also lost just one of their last seven matches against Roma with their current coach in charge, and were 2-1 winners in the capital when the clubs last met in February.

While their brief burst of excitement at the arrival of Jose Mourinho has begun to fizzle out already, Roma have got back on their feet during the past few days; following a disciplined goalless draw against Napoli with their first win in four games on Wednesday.

Defeats in the Derby della Capitale, to Juventus, and - most alarmingly - a 6-1 crushing of Mourinho's second string by Bodo/Glimt in the Conference League meant that when Roma fell behind in Cagliari, many Giallorossi fans would have feared the worst.

However, the visitors rallied in the final 20 minutes, as their incessant attacking brought about goals from Roger Ibanez and captain Lorenzo Pellegrini - the latter an unstoppable free-kick which left Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno grasping at thin air - to secure a valuable three points.

That success in Sardinia came as the suspended Mourinho was forced to watch on from the stands, having been sent off during the intense clash with Napoli, but the Portuguese tactician will be back prowling the Olimpico technical area on Sunday.

Though his recent comments about the quality of the Roma squad have somewhat soured the mood and raised familiar questions in the media, on the last nine occasions in which Roma have won at least six of their first 10 games in a Serie A campaign, they have then gone on to finish within the top three.

Currently fourth - just above Atalanta, Lazio and Juventus - they already have six wins on the board, and will seek a seventh against Milan, having remained unbeaten as the home side so far this season.

Roma Serie A form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Roma form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W

AC Milan Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

AC Milan form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Milan's long injury list has recently started to recede, but Stefano Pioli will still be without Samu Castillejo (hamstring), Alessandro Florenzi (knee), Junior Messias (thigh), Ante Rebic (ankle) and goalkeeper Mike Maignan (wrist) on Sunday.

Both Brahim Diaz and Theo Hernandez returned from COVID-19 infection during the week though - with the latter appearing as a substitute for the second half - so could start at Stadio Olimpico. That would result in Pierre Kalulu and Rade Krunic dropping to the bench.

Up front, Pioli must choose between two vastly experienced strikers, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic - seeking his 400th goal in league football since his first back in October 1999 - will vie with Olivier Giroud for a start as the lone frontman in Milan's customary 4-2-3-1 formation.

Incidentally, Ibrahimovic has previously scored 10 goals against Roma in Serie A, and each of his last eight have come in pairs.

The home side, meanwhile, are relatively untroubled by absences, as only the frequently injured Chris Smalling and long-term Achilles victim Leonardo Spinazzola are currently sidelined for Roma.

As Jose Mourinho patently does not trust his squad much outside of the regular first XI, he will likely keep his side unchanged this weekend. However, Henrikh Mkhitaryan may find his place under threat from former Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy, who turned 29 in midweek.

Summer signing Tammy Abraham has yet to find the net this month, so has one final chance to put that right on Halloween night, as alternative options Borja Mayoral and Eldor Shomurodov are out largely of favour. The England striker will try to outsmart fellow Chelsea alumni Fikayo Tomori, who features in the visitors' defence.

Roma possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Karsdorp, Mancini, Ibanez, Vina; Cristante, Veretout; Zaniolo, Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Abraham

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Tatarusanu; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao; Ibrahimovic

We say: Roma 1-1 AC Milan

Both teams have been adept at keeping opponents shut out - in domestic competition at least - so not much is likely to separate them throughout what is sure to be a hard-fought 90 minutes.

While a goalless draw must be a possibility, the array of attacking talent on display at the Olimpico will surely see someone unlock the door for either side as legs start to tire.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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