Verdict: Roma win
Best Odds: 5/4
In an Italian heavyweight showdown on Sunday night, Roma will welcome a struggling AC Milan to the Stadio Olimpico this weekend.
Starting with the hosts, putting in another eye-catching display while on Europa League duties earlier in the week, Roma find themselves enjoying a real purple patch. Landing a 3-1 romp against Portuguese outfit Braga on Thursday, Paulo Fonseca’s side cruised their way to the round of 16 in a routine fashion. Making an immediate return to winning ways after their 0-0 stalemate against Benevento last weekend, I Giallorossi have managed to find a route back into the top-four. With a Champions League return at the top of their agenda this year, Roma have lost just one of their last seven matchups across all formats. Knowing that victory this weekend could see them leapfrog defending champions Juventus, Sunday’s hosts should also be boosted by their continued success at the Stadio Olimpico. Including that thumping win against Braga earlier in the week, Roma have won each of their last four straight matchups on home soil, bagging themselves over 2.5 goals in each of those wins.
After picking up a groin injury in midweek, Edin Dzeko is expected to miss out on Sunday night.
Likewise, Roma will once again be without the quartet of Chris Smalling, Roger Ibanez, Nicolo Zaniolo and Davide Santon.
As for the visitors, although AC Milan might have marked their return from the festive break last month sat at the top of the Serie A table, I Rossoneri do find themselves in the midst of a sluggish patch. While they might have just about managed to come past Crvena Zvezda on Europa League duties thanks to away goals in midweek, Head Coach Stefano Pioli finds his side in the midst of a four-match winless run across all formats. Watching bitter rivals Inter Milan hand them a 3-0 drumming when the two sides faced off last weekend, AC also saw their neighbours extend their buffer at the top of the table to four points. Really failing to bounce back from that shock 2-0 loss away at Spezia, the former Fiorentina boss has seen his side win just a pair of their last eight matchups across all competitions. Facing what could be a stern test when they travel to Rome this weekend, it should also be noted that Milan have famously struggled away at the Stadio Olimpico. Including a 2-1 loss in their last trip to Roma, AC have recorded just a single win away at Sunday’s hosts since 2011.
Still suffering from a pair of thigh problems, AC Milan will once again be without Ismael Bennacer and Mario Mandzukic this weekend.
Aside from those two, Stefano Pioli’s squad have a clean bill of health ahead of their trip to Rome.
Key Factors to Consider
- When Sunday’s opponents faced off in the reverse fixture back in October, they played out an action-packed 3-3 draw at the San Siro.
- Roma have won each of their last four straight contests on home soil.
- More impressive, I Giallorossi have scored over 2.5 goals in each of those four consecutive home victories.
- AC Milan have failed to win any of their last four straight matchups across all formats, including back-to-back Serie A defeats.
- Sunday’s guests have also recorded just a single win away at Roma since 2011.
While both sides might have managed to extend on their Europa League adventure on Thursday, there is no doubt that Roma should be smelling a golden chance to lay down another marker this weekend. With AC Milan in the midst of a four-match winless run across all formats, the fading title-chasers have also suffered back-to-back Serie A defeats for the first time this season. Failing to bounce back from that shock 2-0 loss against Spezia earlier in the month, Stefano Pioli’s side face a stern test at the Stadio Olimpico. With Roma winning each of their last four straight contests on home soil, it should also be noted that Sunday’s hosts have bagged themselves at least a trio of goals in each of those victories. With AC recording just a single win at the Stadio Olimpico since 2011, we’re backing a home victory this weekend.
Verdict: Roma win
Best Odds: 5/4