Milan-Roma Preview: Party at San Siro

What is it that Roma fans always say? “No Totti, No Party.” Well Totti missed their Genoa match on Monday with an injury, but is fit again just in time for this match. So if there will be Totti, apparently there will be party. And I hope it is a goalscoring party from anyone and everyone in the Rossonero. We need the 3 points, a clean match, and most importantly no more injuries!!

Mexes and Aquilani will be welcoming their former teammates to the San Siro, and I hope that they are both trying to figure out whether or not to celebrate against their old club when they both score. As hosts, we should not be discerning as to who scores, and in fact, we should invite every Milan player to get on the scoreboard, it’s the polite thing to do. Roma have a knack for grabbing goals late, so it will be important for Mian to score early and seal the game quickly, being focused to the end not to concede. We won this fixture in Rome in October, and it was a fateful and memorable night for all the wrong reasons. How fitting that Cassano is preparing to come back as we host the Romans, we should definitely win it for him.

Looking at the stats, our clubs are not that different. Yet we are top of the table with 60 points, and Roma come into this match in 6th, with 44 points. The difference is in our win-draw-loss record: Milan have 18 W, 6 D, and 4 L, whereas Roma have 13 W 5 D and 10 L. Granted, Milan are a team that has played together and won the Scudetto last year, whereas Roma are not even a full season into their new “project.” But it is also the quality of players and the ability to cope with massive injuries that helps. Roma at one point had only one starting defender available, I think, and have actually played De Rossi in the back to cover for injuries & suspensions. But maybe it’s true what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, because Milan have been battling things like that all season long.

What kind of Mickey Mouse project is this, anyway?

Roma come into this match having won two straight games after their painful derby loss to Lazio in which they played 10 men most of the match due to Stekelenberg being sent off under 10 minutes. That seems to have both galvanized and inspired them. Translation: they are coming to the San Siro to take 3 points from us. But 3 points are not a part of the party favors, so they can bring their Totti, they can come to our party, but they will be leaving empty handed.

On Monday’s match vs. Genoa, Luis Enrique lined up Stekelenburg; Heinze, Kjaer, Jose Angel, Taddei; De Rossi, Lamela, Greco, Gago; Osvaldo, and Borini. Despite the fact that Osvaldo scored the winning goal, I would guess that he will give up his starting spot for Totti, as Borini has been in amazing form. Totti brings his certain black magic to the pitch, still scoring after all these years. But the dark side is his temper, and I hope that he will not spoil the party with any of that behavior. I guess you could say we need to keep him quiet all the way around – from scoring to meltdowns.

Totti, the talisman Romanista, wants some rossi to go with that giallo.

Please forgive me, but I am going to refrain from predicting a starting lineup this time, as it seems my predictions fuel more injuries and omissions. As of this writing, I haven’t even heard the status of Ibra and Silva. But I can say that Nesta and Boateng are set to return. However, I might be tempted to wrap all four of them in bubble wrap, give them some tea and not unwrap them until Wednesday. But that is not realistic, and it is not Allegri’s style. Plus, Nesta & Boateng could use some match minutes to be ready for Barcelona anyway. Mexes should get to play his own club, and maybe we’ll see a Yepes sighting. Abate is still out, Antonini is suspended for this one, so there will likely be a Bonera sighting, and I hope that Mesbah is trusted again on the left.

I would expect van Bommel to play, as he is suspended for Wednesday and Ambrosini will need the rest. Aquilani could use the match minutes, but hard to know if he will be risked. Nocerino could use some more rest, and Muntari is not on the CL list, so maybe the bearded wonder will get a break. If Boateng starts, Urby should sub on at some point, or vice-versa. It would be nice to see Gattuso get more than 2 minutes, but I don’t see him starting over anyone else just yet.

Healthy bodies able to play forward please apply.

Up front is where it’s hard to know who to play. Does Allegri start Maxi Lopez and El Shaarawy? Pippo needs minutes, but wasn’t convincing when he finally got a few, one of those chicken vs. the egg kind of things. We’re rather strapped for forwards right now, but at the same time, Allegri knows he can count on the midfield and others for goals, too. It’s a matter of managing your players well to prevent injury at this point, and unfortunately, that is not one of Allegri’s strengths, even if he has been tested beyond reason in this department.

This is a match we can win. This is a match we should win. Even if it could prove difficult. It’s kind of a nice warmup for Barca, even if I don’t think Roma have come close to replicating Barca’s system, they do emulate it more than most other Serie A teams. So we conquer the pseudo-Barca Saturday to prepare to do the same on Wednesday to the “untouchables.” Or at least get the win to build confidence, however you look at it.

I hope that whomever Allegri drags out of the ICU or the crypts to fill 11 spots comes ready for a goalscoring party. Stekelenburg is a pretty decent keeper, so we may have to behave more like party crashers. Either way, Roma are wanting to claw their way into a European spot, but they are going to have to get their points elsewhere. Milan have a 4 point lead on Juventus, and we don’t need to let anyone else spoil our party.

Milan vs. Roma
Saturday, March 24th 18:00 CET (1pm EDT)
This match will be shown on RAI International and ESPN3 in the U.S.

This post inspired by the music of Fishbone
Milan-Roma Preview: Party at San Siro Milan-Roma Preview: Party at San Siro Reviewed by Elaine on 2:35 AM Rating: 5
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