AS Roma vs AC Milan, Preview: Resurgent Milan travel to Zemanlandia

Claudio Villa

Roma have won five of their last six and Milan six of their last seven in all competitions, and come together in this unpredictable encounter

AS Roma and AC Milan have had unusual and surprising seasons so far. Roma have surprised by not being quite as bad as everyone had expected, while Milan have surprised by being a whole lot worse.

But, the rossoneri have recovered their form impressively, buying Max Allegri and his ever more workmanlike approach time to linger for longer. Roma have bounced back from a shaky run too, and they now sit a place above Milan and a place below Napoli and a European spot.

Should Milan win, they would leapfrog their Roman opponents and extend their run of straight league wins to five -- in no small part down to the emergence of Stephan El Shaarawy, the division's top goalscorer -- as one of Italy's most prized assets. Roma, meanwhile, have begun to look excellent in Zeman's 4-3-3.

Aside from goalkeeper Mauro Goicoechea (try pronouncing that) -- who is expected to be favoured in goal over Maarten Stekelenburg -- Erik Lamela and Pablo Osvaldo have impressed in netting eight goals each, while Francesco Totti shows no signs of slowing down in his 37th year. Il capitano has chipped in with six goals of his own, crafting out five more.

This trio is expected to spearhead Roma's attack as they look to overturn their recent poor home record against Milan, having not beaten them at the Olimpico in the last four attempts. The last time they did was almost five years ago, in a 2-1 win in 2008.

These sides both rank amongst the most free-scoring of all Serie A sides, with Roma having netted more times than anyone, and Milan just six goals in arrears. If I wasn't so cynical, I might even suggest this was going to be an exciting match. However, we've been here before. Expect a 0-0.

AS Roma Injuries and Suspensions

Marquinhos (injured). Stefano Guberti and Leandro Castán (suspended).

AC Milan Injuries and Suspensions

Alexandre Pato, Bakaye Traoré, Didac Vila, Djamel Mesbah, Nigel De Jong (injured). No suspension concerns.

Match Date / Time: Sunday, December 22 at 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy

TV: RAI Internazionale(U.S.), ESPN (U.K.), Premium Calcio, Sky Calcio 1 (Italy)

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