Roma vs Milan: Serie A Preview, Potential Lineups & Prediction

A mouth-watering Serie A blockbuster between Roma and Milan on Friday evening seems like a fitting way to kick things off in Gameweek 3. Let’s look at our match preview for this heavily anticipated encounter. 

Jose Mourinho’s absence from the touchline due to a ten-day ban took its toll in the opening two Serie A rounds. After eking out a dramatic 2-2 draw against Salernitana on the opening matchday, courtesy of Andrea Belotti’s brace, Giallorossi succumbed to a shock 2-1 loss at last season’s relegation fighters Hellas Verona this past weekend.

Despite being a man up for the final 15 minutes of a frantic encounter at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, Roma couldn’t break down Verona’s stubborn defensive block. Paulo Dybala’s withdrawal midway through the second half due to a thigh problem added insult to injury. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for Giallorossi

Mourinho’s return to the dugout should settle the nerves in the capital. The Special One may be unable to call upon Dybala, but Romelu Lukaku’s loan arrival from Chelsea should fill the void should the Argentine fail to make the matchday squad. While Roma appear to be a club in decline, their upcoming adversaries come into proceedings full of confidence.

Sandro Tonali’s mega-money move to Newcastle United was supposed to rule Milan out of the Scudetto race this season. Instead, Stefano Pioli’s men have reinvested those funds to assemble a formidable cast of players. If the first two Serie A rounds are anything to go by, Rossoneri could return the favor to Napoli after letting them take the throne last year.

Former Chelsea ace Christian Pulisic has quickly become one of the hottest topics in Italy. After launching a rocket missile to inspire Milan to a morale-boosting 2-0 win at Bologna on the opening weekend, the USMNT forward broke the deadlock in last week’s 4-1 rout of Torino at San Siro

Pulisic’s ex-Blues teammate Olivier Giroud deserves the credit for Milan’s inspirational league start. The 36-year-old striker opened the scoring against Bologna before poking home two penalties against Torino to stay in touch with Victor Osimhen in the early Golden Boot race in Serie A. 

Match Preview


Lukaku’s decision to turn down Inter and Milan to reunite with his former Manchester United manager Mourinho at the Stadio Olimpico could prove a season-defining moment for Roma. The Belgian’s scoring prowess, barring occasional lapses in concentration, should help Giallorossi address their long-term issues in the front third.

Roma netted Serie A’s only tenth-best 28 goals at home last season. Yet, bringing the back end of the 2022/23 campaign into the equation, they’ve struck home precisely twice in their previous three top-flight outings at the Stadio Olimpico (W2, D1). Another rampant attacking performance could be what the doctor ordered as they bid to arrest a three-game winless home league run against Milan (D1, L2).

Player to Watch: Romelu Lukaku

It must be him from the get-go. During two separate spells at Inter, Lukaku made a menace of himself against Milan. Gianluigi Donnarumma and Alessio Romagnoli still remember his stunning solo goal in the Derby della Madonnina in February 2021.


Milan opened their triumphant 2021/22 Serie A season with back-to-back victories, just as they’ve done this term. Fans of omens within the Rossoneri fanbase should avoid taking that for granted. Roma won’t shy away from the fight. You don’t have to look beyond last season, where Pioli’s men drew both league meetings with Giallorossi in the most dramatic circumstances. 

Stoppage-time equalizers settled both duels, with Alexis Saelemaekers leveling the score at the Stadio Olimpico in the 97th minute. Those stalemates form part of Milan’s eye-catching seven-match unbeaten streak against Roma in Serie A (W4, D3), a run stretching back to 2019. It’s also worth mentioning that Milan netted multiple times in six of those seven showdowns. 

Player to Watch: Olivier Giroud

Pulisic has grabbed the headlines, but Giroud has been on fire. The Frenchman has got on the scoreboard in his last five Serie A appearances en route to establishing his longest scoring run in Europe’s top-five league since 2015.

Team News

In addition to Dybala, Roma will have to find a way to harm Milan’s defense without long-term absentee Tammy Abraham. Marash Kumbulla and Renato Sanches are also on the sidelines, but there’s a slight chance that summer arrival Sardar Azmoun could be in contention for the matchday squad. 

On the other hand, Milan will venture south without Ismael Bennacer. But, given the way Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tijjani Reijnders have settled in Serie A, the Algerian’s absence should go unnoticed. He’s also the only missing player in the traveling squad.

Roma vs Milan Potential Lineups

Roma (3-5-2): Rui Patricio; Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, Diego Llorente; Rick Karsdorp, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Leandro Paredes, Houssem Aouar, Leonardo Spinazzola; Andrea Belotti, Stephan El Shaarawy.

Milan (4-3-3): Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Malick Thiaw, Tomori, Theo Hernandez; Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Rade Krunic, Tijjani Reijnders; Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud, Rafael Leao. 

Roma vs Milan Prediction 

Pioli’s new 4-3-3 formation has worked wonders against ‘less attractive’ opponents. But Roma will be the first ‘real’ test of Milan’s title credentials, and it won’t be a walk in the park.

Mourinho has taken to the underdog status. He’s become synonymous with upsetting the apple cart during his trophy-laden career. Still, Milan should wrap this up. 

Prediction: Milan Win

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