AS Roma manager Rudi Garcia and his AC Milan counterpart Sinisa Mihajlovic head into Saturday’s clash at the Stadio Olimpico with their jobs on the line.
Roma will be eager to put their frustrating midweek draw with Chievo Verona behind them as they welcome AC Milan to the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday. Rudi Garcia rightfully assessed Wednesday’s draw as “two points thrown away” after his team surrendered a 2-0 lead to finish the match at 3-3.
That leaves Roma sitting in fifth, six points behind league leaders, Inter. It’s not an insurmountable gap by any means, but the result means Roma have now drawn three out of their last four Serie A matches.
The series of stalemates is all too familiar to Roma fans, who’ve grown accustomed to seeing their team start strong only to falter in the second half of the season.
If Roma are to maintain any hope of winning their first Scudetto since 2000-01, they need to get back on track quickly against Milan. Roma boasts the second best attack in the league and will be bolstered by the returns of captain Francesco Totti, who was injured, and Miralem Pjanic and Radja Naninggolan, who were suspended. They will be without Edin Dzeko, however, who is serving the second match of a two-game suspension.
The Giallorossi’s defense remains shaky, with fan protests and questions about Garcia’s future at the club undermining the team’s efforts to rise to the top in a Scudetto race that is the most open we’ve seen in a few years.
But Roma can take comfort in knowing that whatever their troubles, are going much worse for AC Milan: Mihajlovic’s side started 2016 off with a disappointing 1-0 loss at home to Bologna.
Milan were wasteful in the final third against Bologna, taking 17 shots, but only managing to put four on target. Despite dominating possession, the Rossoneri were unable to capitalize on the chances they created and fell behind on a late goal from Bologna’s Emanuele Giaccherini.
That kind of inefficiency at the Stadio Olimpico would be a disaster for a Milan side that could soon see its stated ambition to finish in one of the Champions League spots slide out of reach.
A loss at the Olimpico would put the Rossoneri eight points off a spot in the Europa League, and potentially spell the end for Mihajlovic’s reign as manager, with current reports in Italy stating that World Cup-winning manager Marcello Lippi is being lined up as his replacement.
Milan will have to make do without Diego Lopez, Jeremy Menez and Mario Balotelli, which means they are likely to pair M’baye Niang and Carlos Bacca in attack.