Milan host Roma at San Siro on Sunday in what could ultimately be a decisive encounter between the two sides in the battle for Europa League qualification.
As things stand, the Giallorossi sit in fifth place in the Serie A table with 11 games remaining, with Milan facing a nine-point deficit if they wish to leapfrog them in the standings.
Surpassing Napoli will likely be the easier task, and with their Coppa Italia triumph in mind, it could open up seventh place as being a qualification spot too. That said, with Parma and Verona hot on our heels, nothing is secured yet and so it’s imperative Milan continue to pick up points.
Having scored four goals in the win over Lecce earlier this week, it was arguably our best attacking performance of the season to date as our dynamic front quartet were highly impressive both in terms of their work on and off the ball.
Their high pressing and defensive work from the front set the tempo and tone for the rest of the side and put us in command, while Pioli’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system looks to have struck the right balance and has given the players a more comfortable role in the side which is leading to positive results.
With that in mind, it would come as no surprise if the Milan boss decides to stick with as close to the same XI as possible, but specifically the same attacking quartet as it worked so effectively last time out, although there could be one enforced change depending on Simon Kjaer’s recovery in the next 48 hours after he hobbled off in the first half at Lecce.
With Leo Duarte only just returning from his own injury blow coupled with Mateo Musacchio now being ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing ankle surgery, that ultimately leaves Matteo Gabbia as the most likely option to step in, and so time will tell who partners Alessio Romagnoli in the heart of the backline.
Given his experience and physicality, particularly with the challenge of having to mark Edin Dzeko in mind, it’s hoped that Kjaer does recover in time. If not, Gabbia will have a big opportunity to prove his worth.
As per MilanNews, the latest suggestion is that the Dane has recovered after training on Friday, while there was even more good news with Zlatan Ibrahimovic re-joining the group. That said, given the Swede hasn’t trained normally for some time now due to his calf injury, he’ll almost certainly be on the bench if considered fit enough.
That potential switch aside though, there is arguably no real need for Pioli to make any further changes to his starting XI given how impressive we were on Monday night for the most part, but the players will need to step it up and produce an even better performance on Sunday as Roma will no doubt prove to be much stiffer opposition.
Probable Milan XI vs Roma: (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Conti, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Kessié, Bennacer; Castillejo, Bonaventura, Calhanoglu; Rebic. (via Sky Sport Italia).
Probable Roma XI: (4-2-3-1): Mirante; Zappacosta, Mancini, Smalling, Spinazzola; Cristante, Veretout; Under, Pellegrini, Kluivert; Dzeko.