Roma-Milan Preview: Not Dead Yet

Milan travel to the Olimpico on Sunday to face a Roma side suffering from many injuries, including a VAR-less emotional injury that hurts like a ball to the face. Roma will be exhausted physically from playing on Thursday in the Europa League, but also mentally. Not just from playing in the Europa League, conceding a late penalty that officials afterward admitted was not a penalty, but also from so many injuries. They’re wounded physically and emotionally, but they’re not dead yet.

Just like we used to see him all the time, only this time, it's unfortunately real

Roma have had a rough time lately. With five starters out with long-term injuries, they are scrambling for players. In fact, Sky Sport are reporting that Jack Rodwell, a free agent from England, is in Rome ready to sign for the club to give them another warm body. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, to add insult to injury, Borussia Mömchengladbach were given a stoppage time penalty on Thursday when the ball clearly hit Chris Smalling in the face. That penalty stole two points from them, and even the match officials admitted the error and apologized. But most impressively, the club’s official stance on having been robbed was very professional and sporting. We could all learn something here.

Fonseca has said he has never seen an injury crisis like this before, and maybe that impacted the team as they drew 0-0 to Sampdoria last week. For that match, the warm bodies he had available to line up were: Lopez: Spinazzola, Mancini, Smalling, Kolarov; our old pal Cristante, Veretout; Kluivert, Zaniolo, Florenzi; and our dear old friend Kalinic. Unfortunately for us, Kalinic and Cristante were injured in that match. Not sure if they just didn’t want to face Milan or what, but they joined the list of “not dead yet” injuries that also includes Diawara, Pellegrini, and Zappacosta. Mkhitaryan and Ünder are fighting for match fitness for Sunday, but it is unclear as of this writing whether or not they will make it. And as if that list of the missing isn’t long enough, Kluivert got himself sent off for a second yellow against Sampdoria, so will be suspended for this match.

He wanted more playing time, finally gets to a big club again, and now this. Karma?

Milan have mentality issues not helped by a coach with perhaps too many ideas, then changing that coach. In what was unquestionably their best performance of the season against Lecce, their budding mentality was clipped by a late equalizer from the newly promoted side. Whatever Pioli has been able to do with them in such a short time will be on display at the Olimpico on Sunday. Pioli will be missing Bonaventura again to a muscle injury. Caldara is not fully fit, but should be available for the bench.

The debates on social media and in the media this week are who Pioli will start up front and whether or not he will play Piatek and Leao together, especially after the tactician admitted that might be a possibility in the future. This is a much healthier discussion than the myriad ones surrounding Giampaolo’s reign of terror, so hopefully mentality is improving within the squad. Because despite the injuries and Europa League robbery, Roma are always tough for Milan to contend with, especially in their house.

Milan's emergency signing

While Milan fans may have been looking forward to relishing Kalinic’s every wayward shot, or congratulating Cristante for finally making it back to a big club after his Portuguese career detour, they have given us the opportunity to focus on our own team. And our own team will need all the help they can get if we want to steal three points from the Olimpico. And by steal, I don’t mean bad ref calls like Thursday. Plus, there’s VAR. It’s just that Roma, even decimated by injuries, have the advantage in this one. Certainly, they’re not dead yet.

This post inspired by the music of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf”

Serie A Week 9
Roma vs. Milan
Sunday, October 27 • 18:00 CET (1pm EDT*)
This match can be streamed LIVE on ESPN+ in the U.S.

* European Daylight Time ends, but U.S. Daylight Time is still ongoing

Roma-Milan Preview: Not Dead Yet Roma-Milan Preview: Not Dead Yet Reviewed by Elaine on 11:22 AM Rating: 5
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