Roma host AC Milan at the Stadio Olimpico on Friday night. The hosts have one point from two matches so far whilst the visitors have six points from two matches. Both meetings last season finished in draws, whilst the Rossoneri are unbeaten in three trips to the capital. A big talking point is whether Romelu Lukaku will make his debut for Jose Mourinho’s side.
It’s not been a good start to the season for Jose Mourinho’s team. They were 2-2 at home to Salernitana in the first match thanks to an 82nd-minute equaliser. Roma had 60% of the ball, outshot their opponents 13-3, and had 1.76 more XG than the visitors. AS Roma’s last match saw a shock 2-1 loss at Hellas Verona. Mourinho’s side had 72% possession and 23 shots but couldn’t take their chances.
The Giallorossi finished sixth last season as they netted just 50 goals in 38 Serie A matches. Their 28 goals in 19 home matches was only the tenth-best record in the division. They lost five times in Rome last season with four of those coming against sides who finished above them in the table. Last season ended with a Europa League final defeat to Sevilla. It finished 1-1 after extra time but Mourinho’s side lost on penalties.
Roma Team News
Top striker Tammy Abraham remains out with a long-term injury. Andrea Belotti is set to lead the line after his brace in the first league match. Romelu Lukaku has arrived on a season-long loan from Chelsea and may only make the bench at best.
Defender Marash Kumbulla remains out injured. Diego Llorente will continue at left centre-back after the sale of Roger Ibanez to Al-Ahli. Houssem Aouar will hope to start in midfield after scoring as a sub in the last match. Renato Sanches is a doubt in midfield and striker Sardar Azmoun is ruled out.
Mourinho needs a result before the international break. A defeat and just one point from three matches would need plenty of scrutiny over his future.
A relatively defensive approach is expected with only 30 or 35% possession. They will play on the break using the hard-running of Belotti and the speed of Paulo Dybala. A draw would be an okay result to get back on track.
AC Milan Form
Milan have two wins from two fixtures to start this term. The opening match saw a 2-0 win at Bologna even though they were outshot 17-9 and only created 0.90 xG. Their second match saw a dominant 4-1 win over Torino. The Rossoneri put up 3.04 Expected Goals from 17 shots.
Stefano Pioli’s side finished fourth last season in a weak defence of their title. They were 20 points behind Napoli in the end with just the seventh-best defensive record. They were beaten six times in 19 away fixtures with a paltry 23 goals scored and a zero-goal difference. They’ve won their last two away league matches but it was just two wins in 10 before that.
AC Milan Team News
The only player missing from AC Milan is midfielder Ismael Bennacer. Ruben Loftus-Cheek will start in midfield after the sale of Sandro Tonali to Newcastle. Christian Pulisic has scored in both goals this season and he will line up on the right wing in preference to another new signing, Samuel Chukwueze.
Malick Thiaw will partner Fikayo Tomori again in central defence with Simon Kjaer on the bench. Yunus Musah is a new signing from Valencia and should feature as a substitute once again. Dutch midfielder, Tijjani Reijnders was acquired from AZ Alkmaar and will play in the engine room in preference to Musah.
AC Milan Motivation
Pioli’s side will play for a win in this one. A draw would also be a decent result and they would settle for one in the second half.
Milan have far more firepower and options on the bench this season and can turn games if trailing. They will throw men forward if they’re behind in the second half.
Roma have drawn 3 of their last 5 home matches (Serie A)
AS Roma are 5 home Serie A matches without a clean sheet (8 goals conceded)
The last two meetings between these sides have ended in draws (1-1 & 2-2)
AC Milan have lost just once in six away Serie A matches (WDDLWW)
Milan have seen Under 2.5 goals in their last 5 away matches
Milan are 3 matches unbeaten away at Roma (WDD).
This looks set to be a close and hard-fought match. Recent forms suggest that Milan will leave the capital with something. A draw looks the best bet in this match with a 1-1 scoreline or a low-scoring affair expected.
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at 1.60
Alternative Bet: AC Milan win/draw double chance at 1.50
Value Bet: Draw at 3.15