SCOTT PETERSON - Friday, December 21, 2012
AC Milan comes to the Eternal City Saturday night to take on Michael Bradley and AS Roma in the marquee matchup of gameday 18.
After starting and putting in 70-plus minutes of work in a losing effort last time out, Bradley will look to help the Giallorossi pick up points in a big match versus the Rossoneri of AC Milan.
Head coach Zdenek Zeman has yet to stray from his preferred 4-3-3 formation to deploy both Bradley and Danielle De Rossi at the same time this season meaning that the pair are in direct competition for the starting spot in the defensive midfield.
Despite the fact that Milan has averaged nearly three goals per game in their past five matches, the Czech skipper is unlikely to field a more defensive lineup and sacrifice any quality in attack.
Before falling to a last minute strike to Chievo in matchday 17, Roma had won four in a row and the streak helped vault them into fifth place and instill a belief in both squad and city that the Giallorossi could make some noise at the top of the standings this campaign.
Now in sixth, two points ahead of the guests, Roma will have to find a way to knock off such upper-echelon teams as Milan, if they are to truly contend for Europe this season.
Milan initially struggled this season, as the Rossoneri not only had to overcome injuries, but also the departure of stud striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, the Milan outfit has pieced together results of late, coming into the match on a five-game unbeaten streak.
Spearheading the Milanese attack is the top goal scorer in the Serie A, Stephan El Shaarawy. The Egyptian-born Italian has been scintillating thus far, finding the back of the net 14 times in 17 appearances.
Roma currently have 29 points, while their counterparts are currently sitting on 27.