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

One of the most highly anticipated fixtures on the Serie A schedule pits Roma and Milan against each other on Saturday. A heavyweight contest at the Stadio Olimpico could have a decisive impact on a closely-contested top-four race, with nothing but goal difference separating two teams ahead of the kick-off. 

After a hat-trick of league wins without conceding, Roma slumped to a woeful 3-1 defeat at Atalanta last Monday, surrendering a coveted fourth place to Milan. Jose Mourinho’s side must shrug off the stress to consolidate their bid to reclaim the final Champions League qualification spot amid an ominously-growing injury crisis in Rome.

Headline performer Paulo Dybala was spotted hobbling off the Gewiss Stadium pitch at full-time with a painful grimace after taking a knock midway through the second half. It’s the last thing the Giallorossi need heading into the top-four run-in and a crunch Europa League semi-final tie against Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Leverkusen. 

Unlike their hosts, Milan will take the field at the ultimate high after reaching the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2007 and fighting their way back to the Serie A top four. Inspired by another vintage performance from star man Rafael Leao, Stefano Pioli’s men eased past Lecce 2-0 at home last time out, extending their unbeaten run in all competitions to six games (W3, D3).

But there’s no time for celebration as they remain embroiled in a five-way race for Champions League promotion. With Inter and Atalanta lagging two and four points behind, respectively, every game is a must-win for Milan until the end of the season if they’re to save some pride after their title defense suffered an epic failure. 

Match Preview


Mourinho has transformed Roma into a formidable defensive unit. Let’s face it – it was coming sooner rather than later. The Giallorossi have racked up a jaw-dropping seven clean sheets in eight home Serie A outings in 2023 (W7, L1), a feat unmatched in Europe’s top-five leagues in that stretch. They’ll need that defensive resilience to defy an underwhelming recent record against Milan.

After losing just four times in 16 Serie A meetings (W7, D5), Roma have been on the receiving end in four of their last six top-flight H2Hs (D2). Back-to-back home league losses, including a 2-1 defeat in this corresponding fixture in 2021/22, means they could lose three straight Serie A matches to Milan at the Olimpico for the first time since 1990.

Player to Watch: Lorenzo Pellegrini

With Dybala’s availability in doubt, Pellegrini could be Mourinho’s main man on Saturday. Since missing a penalty at Feyenoord, the Roma captain has scored in three consecutive appearances for the club in all competitions, including a consolation strike in Bergamo last Monday. 


Despite his side faring reasonably well in recent times, Pioli has yet to address the Rossoneri’s form woes on the road, with Milan suffering four defeats across their last seven league travels (W2, D1). To better understand the extent of the problem, they had lost as many times in their previous 54 away games in Serie A (W38, D12).

On a more positive note, the visitors’ underperforming defense seems to have found a recipe for success, with Milan registering a clean sheet in their last four top-flight outings (W2, D2) after managing as many shutouts in their previous 13 Serie A fixtures on the road. But after only winning once on their six most recent competitive trips (D3, L2), the reigning champions can’t take anything for granted.

Player to Watch: Rafael Leao

Following a troublesome start to the new calendar year, Leao appears to be hitting his stride at an opportune moment for Milan. Last week’s brace against Lecce took his league tally for the season to 12 goals, accounting for his most prolific campaign at the San Siro.

Team News

Besides Rick Karsdorp, who’s out for the rest of the season with a facial injury, Roma boss Mourinho faces several selection concerns. In addition to Dybala, the Portuguese tactician is still sweating on the fitness of Chris Smalling, Diego Llorente, and Georginio Wijnaldum.

On the other hand, Milan will be without household striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and second-string midfielder Tommaso Pobega. Luckily for Pioli, they’re the only absentees in the visiting squad. 

Roma vs Milan Potential Lineups

Roma (3-4-2-1): Rui Patricio; Roger Ibanez, Gianluca Mancini, Marash Kumbulla; Leonardo Spinazzola, Nemanja Matic, Bryan Cristante, Zeki Celik; Ola Solbakken, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Tammy Abraham. 

Milan (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Pierre Kalulu, Simon Kjaer, Fikayo Tomori, Theo Hernandez; Ismael Bennacer, Sandro Tonali; Rafael Leao, Brahim Diaz, Alexis Saelemaekers; Olivier Giroud.

Roma vs Milan Prediction

Despite Roma’s intimidating home record in 2023, the absence of Dybala could be a game-changer. With Leao rediscovering his scoring touch, Milan seem to be in pole position to take home an all-important three points.

Prediction: Milan Win

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