Two storied Serie A sides in the midst of disappointing seasons meet at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday. AS Roma is in 6th place on the table with a 3-4-1 record scoring 12 and conceding 10. They’ve actually played better away from home than on their own pitch this season–they’re 1-2-1 on their home field scoring and conceding 8. Away from home they’re 2-2-0 scoring 4 and conceding 2.
Although these teams are separated by only 3 points in the standing there has been a perception that Milan is in worse shape. Last year, they lost manager Gennaro Gattuso who took the very Italian move of resigning after failing to qualify for the Champions League and received no compensation for his departure. Marco Giampaolo took over at the start of the season on a one year contract. 7 games into the season with a record of 3-0-4 management had seen enough and sent Giampaolo packing. Milan hired the extremely experienced Stefano Pioli who has seemingly managed every team in Italy at some point since 2003. Milan earned a 2-2 home draw against 16th place Lecce in Pioli’s debut.
AS Roma has a ridiculous number of injuries at the moment and manager Paul Fonseca has been forced to field a patchwork lineup for most of the season. He’s getting some good news with the return of Diego Perotti who is back in action after five months out. The ‘glass half full’ version is that Roma enters this match on a 5 game unbeaten streak. The ‘glass half empty’ view is that they’re in the midst of a four game winless streak. Their last win in Serie A was a 1-0 victory over Roma on September 19. They followed that with a 1-1 draw against Wolfsberger AC in Europa League play followed by a 1-1 draw against Cagliari, a 0-0 draw against bottom of the table Sampdoria and a 1-1 draw back in the Europa against Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach. Their biggest problem of late has been a sputtering offense–understandable given the number of frontline injuries they’ve suffered.
AC Milan on 2-1 at Genoa on October 5 and before that had lost three straight in Serie A play. The thinking is that there most have been more backstory to Marco Giampaolo’s departure than just on-field performance. Milan has been disappointing so far this season but they finished in 5th place last year 22 back of top of the table Juventus. They’ve got a good chance of getting at least a point in this matchup. They’ve done well in their visits to Stadio Olimpico with a 1-3-2 record in their last six trips. Giving Roma’s injury situation and general poor play at home no problem at all taking a position on Milan with a hard fought draw being the likely outcome.