Milan-Roma Preview: Back to Normal

Milan host Roma on Sunday night in a San Siro stadium with over 70,000 fans expected. After nearly two months away because of the ridiculous and unprecedented World Cup break, Milan fans can unite and sing "Pioli is on Fire" in unison to their beloved manager once again. Mourinho, meanwhile, will probably be on some sidewalk eating his dinner or in a bus somewhere, as he is, yet again, suspended for this match. And Milan are also without nine players to injury yet again. Everything is back to normal.

Back home, back to normal

For all of Mourinho's incessant whining and attention-seeking "psychological tactics," there is something that he is unwilling to really admit out loud: his team play better without him on the bench. They have actually won every match he has been suspended for. In fact, Roma would probably be much better off without him as a manager at all, considering he has scared off yet another player in Rick Karsdorp with yet another public catfight. With even FIFPRO calling out Mourinho and Roma, Karsdorp is not-so-quietly leaving the club and will not be available for our match.

Roma's first home match after the break started out with a sad but lovely tribute to former Roma player and most recently the manager of Bologna, Siniša Mihajlović. Tragically, this match will also begin on a sad note, with a minute of silence for the passing this week of Gianluca Vialli. Roma won 1-0 on Wednesday against Bologna, who conceded a penalty and were not given one of their own in a match where Roma should have been more impressive, but were not, despite Mourinho's absence in that one as well. 

Roma literally does their best when Mourinho emulates a homeless person

For that match, his deputy, Salvatore Foti lined up: Rui Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibañez; Celik, former wantaway Milan player Cristante, Tahirović, former Milan player El Shaarawy; Pellegrini; Dybala, and Zaniolo. While Mourinho serves his second of a two match ban earned on the last matchday of 2022 for insulting the referee (as usual,) Wijnaldum and Darboe will be missing to injury. However, Belotti is available again, and this will be Solbakken's first callup, a player who just transferred from our former Hauge's Bodø/Glimt. Solbakken scored two as Bodø infamously beat Mourinho's Roma 6-1 in the Europa Conference League last season. Roma clearly decided that if you can't beat 'em, sign 'em.

Pioli still has nine players out injured, just like on Wednesday against Salernitana when Milan won 2-1. Still missing will be: Ibrahimović, Maignan, Florenzi, Origi, Messias, Krunić, Ballo-Touré, Rebić, and Kjaer. While Origi could be back in time for our next match, the others are less likely. Maignan has no timetable for returning at all, as his calf muscles are not responding properly, which is not what Milan fans want to hear. As much as we are disappointed for ourselves because of what he brings to the team, it is also crushing to think of such an amazing person and player sidelined for so long.

Last season, we had Maignan against Roma's attack, this year we just want him healthy again

It is unlikely that players like Mirante or Florenzi will play against the team from whence they came, for different reasons, but the various ex-Milan players could easily face the Rossoneri. Milan are stretched in attack particularly, but demonstrated their fighting spirit by overcoming their away match fears on Wednesday. This one will be in our house, with our fans backing us, and our head to head record against Roma is comforting as well. However, Roma have the second best away record in the league, practically a full squad, and have the advantage of being without their whiny, deadweight coach. So while everything is back to normal, this match is anything but decided. These three points will be important for both teams, but especially for Milan's mentality. A win would definitely mean that things were back to normal.

This post inspired by the music of The Cure's "Never Enough"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 17
Milan vs. Roma
Sunday, January 8, 2023 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Milan-Roma Preview: Back to Normal Milan-Roma Preview: Back to Normal Reviewed by Elaine on 10:05 PM Rating: 5
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