Roma vs Milan
There could be an early Christmas treat in store for the fans that go to the Olympic Stadium on Saturday, where they are sure to see a thrilling Serie A encounter between second-placed Roma and sixth-placed Milan.
Despite periods of inconsistency, not to mention the occasional disaster (Bayern Munich and Manchester City at home springing immediately to mind), Roma have nevertheless managed to keep close tabs on champions and current league leaders. Juventus, who sit just one point ahead of them in top spot. Roma are already nine points clear of arch-rivals, Lazio, who sit in third, just above Sampdoria and Genoa on goal difference, and Ruud Garcia would love to go into the holiday break on the back of another three points, especially after he received a two-match ban for an alleged scuffle with a steward following the Lupi’s 1-0 win at Genoa last weekend. That win against a resurgent Genoa side was just the tonic that Garcia and his players needed after the soul-destroying home defeat to Manchester City four days earlier that condemned them to Thursday night Europa League fixtures in the new year. He will hope for more easily produced results than Roma’s last two league games, having had to wait for two late Miralem Pjanic gaols to secure a 4-2 win over Inter, while Adem Ljajic left it even later against Sassuolo, netting twice in the last twelve minutes to rescue a 2-2 draw.
Milan’s season under Filipo Inzaghi has been one of quieter consistency, punctuated with odd unexpected defeats. Their twelve league games since they lost at home to Juventus in September have produced four wins and no less than six draws, to go with the surprise home defeat to Palermo and the 1-0 loss at Genoa two weeks ago. However, hard-earned draws with Sampdoria and Inter, and two home wins against Udinese and Napoli give the Milan faithful cause to think that they have the players to mount a serious challenge for a top four spot. Keisuke Honda remains Inzaghi’s most effective forward, but most of Milan’s better moments come from a mobile midfield, with French playmaker, Jeremy Menez, contributing eight goals, including five in his last five games.