Thursday, February 19 th, 2015
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Roma vs Milan: two different ways to play a 4-3-3
Both the clubs aren't living a golden moment, but they need points to chase their dreams. Inzaghi and Garcia will deploy two specular teams on the pitch, as both play with a 4-3-3 scheme
by Federico Formica
Although Roma and Milan are separated by a massive gap in the Serie A table (11 points), there are many reasons to expect an interesting and intriguing game, as Rudi Garcia and Pippo Inzaghi are the only two coaches among the top teams to deploy their squads with a 4-3-3 scheme.

Milan will travel to Rome in an uncomfortable position; even after beating Napoli last Sunday, the side are still point starved and they cannot afford to drift apart from the Champions League zone. Lack of continuity has been frustrating Inzaghi's ambitions so far. Was the last convincing win to Napoli an irrefutable resurgence's sign? It remains to be seen. But not even Roma is on fire: the Giallorossi are suffering a dip in form and don't have the same athletic condition as they had in the first months of the season. The Champions League elimination was a hard blow. In the winning game to Genoa the team was solid and showed a strong character, but the clash with Milan will be a better test to see if if the squad absorbed the shock.

It must be recognised that both the sides try to play an offensive game and to take the initiative, though Inzaghi proved to be more cautious and defensive in the most risky games (he did it with Juventus and even in the Milanese derby) and there are no reason to suppose that he'll change that for the Olimpico game.

But Inzaghi is not as naive as it could seem, he has good reasons to be watchful: between Roma and Milan there's a technical gap that cannot be ignored, as Pippo Inzaghi's midfield lacks a regista able to distribute the ball (none is more comfortable with the ball as Riccardo Montolivo who has just returned from a long injury). Data confirm this technical difference as the Giallorossi have a better pass success rate (5% more) and are better in the possession game (62% vs 52,4%).

This means that the Rossoneri will mainly rely on their wingers, Honda and Bonaventura (or El Shaarawy), who will perform very interesting face-offs with Roma's full-backs Holebas and Maicon. Garcia will hardly deploy Ashely Cole (who has largely disappointed the expectations) against a fast and tricky player as Honda. But the worst threat for Roma's backline will be Jeremy Menez, as the Frenchman is currently on fire and will be anxious to show his best in front of his ex fans.

Garcia, who won't be on the bench due to a two-game ban, has to think about how to stop Milan's wingers, but Inzaghi also has similar problems as he desperately needs his regular full-backs Abate and De Sciglio. Gervinho (3.4 dribbles per game) is a good dribbler and Ljajic is in a great form and they could easily penetrate Milan's defence if their opponents will be Armero or - especially - Bonera, whose pace is not legendary, to put it mildly.

Will Francesco Totti be a starter in the last game before Christmas? There are good chances to see the Captain on the pitch at the Olimpico, and the most experienced fans might remember the fantastic lob he scored to the Rossoneri in 1996, when Totti was only 20 years old.

The last time that Milan got three points in Rome was in the 2011-2012 season, when the Rossoneri prevailed in a flurry of goals (2-3 the final result) and scored each one of the three goals by headers (2 goals by Ibrahimovic and another by Nesta). Roma was led by Luis Enrique and were destined to an unsuccessful season while Milan - that were the defending champions - lost the title against Conte's Juventus.

Roma-Milan is a very balanced clash, as in 79 games played in Rome, the Giallorossi have won 24 times, Milan stormed the Olimpico in 27 games and they drew 28 times.

Do you want to watch the game at the Olimpico stadium on next 20th December? EsaTour Sport Events is the best choice. The Italian-based agency offers the best accommodation and ticketing options available. Click here for more informations about the Roma-Milan event or write an email to [email protected].

Saturday, December 20 th, 2014
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