It’s all about getting crosses and set-plays into the box for the target men, as Marcello Cossali-Francis breaks down the Roma-Milan systems.
The Giallorossi win a lot of games by the odd goal and their scoring record is considerably weaker than the rest of the top four. They’re very solid defensively, the third best in the league, and are always very difficult to beat.
4-2-3-1 vs 4-3-3
They now play a 4-2-3-1, which allows the front four to attack as a unit, whilst Kevin Strootman and Lorenzo Pellegrini provide the protection to the back four. In defence, it turns into a 4-5-1, which means they pack out the midfield and make it extremely tough to play through them.
Roma will want to force Milan out wide and try to make them revert to crossing the ball into the box as their method of providing for Nikola Kalinic or Patrick Cutrone down the middle of the Milan attack.
Milan use the 4-3-3 set-up, with the midfield trio of Giacomo Bonaventura, Lucas Biglia and Franck Kessie squashing in when they are defending and relying on their wing-backs Davide Calabria and Ricardo Rodriguez to get forward. Kessie’s return after his one-match suspension will no doubt add that power and drive to the midfield, as he is the one who gets forward the most. Milan need to ensure they get Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu closer to the centre-forward, as he could find Kostas Manolas and Federico Fazio difficult to break down on his own.
Battle of the big men
Both Edin Dzeko and Kalinic are struggling for form this season. Dzeko has not hit the heights of past seasons for Roma, scoring just 11 league goals this season, whilst Kalinic has managed just four. Both players are crucial in their respective set-ups and will be required to hold the ball up to allow the other attackers to support them. Dzeko and Kalinic are both good in the air, but will require good delivery if they are to prosper and with the centre of midfield likely to be packed full, the wide players could be the key.
There is the intriguing possibility that neither will start, shelved in favour of young blood Patrik Schick and Patrick Cutrone.
Kolarov vs Rodriguez
Both sets of wing-backs are attack minded and will need to be on the money in terms of delivery. This game could quite easily be settled by a set-piece, given how many options both sides have from the dead-ball. Aleksandar Kolarov’s delivery and general crossing ability is second to none and he could be the player who can help to unlock the Milan defence.
As for Milan, Ricardo Rodriguez is what Kolarov is to Milan; dead-ball specialist and top-quality crosser of the ball. If he can get the ball in to Kalinic/Cutrone, then they have a good chance of being able to conquer the extremely difficult Roma defence.
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