It was with this fixture last season Milan sealed the Title with a 0-0 draw. No surprise really, Roma has always given Milan fits and a trip to the Olimpico should be treated with some degree of severity even if the opponent has a bit of an identity crisis at the moment.
In my eyes, Barcelona has ruined modern day football. You read that properly, RUINED. There was a day when a team could take the pitch and play it's own style of football be it compact, total football, wide 4-4-2, and etc. The list was endless, and while some teams still hold an identity, thankfully our Milan being one of them, the rest of the World has fallen into the Barca trap. You either play Barca football, or you play crap, and that is the end of the story. When or why this happened is beyond me, but sadly Roma has fallen into the trap, and hard, so hard in fact they hired a Barca youth Coach to steer the ship, and even bought a little Barca-reject in the form of Bojan Kirkic, to be their very own Messi. Stir in some Italians, a young-Argentine, and an American owner and what do you get?? Barcelona! Not quite...
I don't fault Roma, how could you, as I said it's Barcelona's fault. It also doesn't help that some American guy waltzed in and probably said, who is the best soccer team, Barcelona, let's be just like them. It wasn't long ago that Roma was playing some of Italy's prettiest football under the often missed Luciano Spalletti. Roma had a real identity (sure it was a bridesmaid identity) but they played homegrown players (albeit whiny head cases) while still putting stock in their youth team (Cerci and Guberti?) they had a good thing going. Now they start the rebuilding process to become Italy's very own Barcelona, I mean Roma, maybe Barca-Roma?
Personally, I don't think the Barca model works in Italy, but the jury is still out. They played well against Genoa midweek and still lost, and begs the question is it still good football if you lose? But the real debate boils down to Milan and if they can stand up and beat this Barca-Roma, and give them the same, if not stronger challenge then they gave the real Barca? Enrique will have his men playing with some pace and intensity, so Milan and Allegri will have to match it in the proper areas, and while Barca is still champion at pressing Roma has a way to go in that regard. Milan will do well to keep the ball, watch them chase, and get to goal when the tactical shape gets disjointed.
In order for this to work Allegri needs some pace in key places:
Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Silva, Taiwo; Nocerino, VanBommel, Aquilani, Robinho; Cassano, Zlatan
Robinho's inclusion is big here because of his ability to be a jack in the box in the attacking third and still find a way to pressure the ball. Aquilani and Cassano will be keen to impress their former employers, but it doesn't mean that Prince shouldn't be kept at the ready to galvanize the team if we get a lead or his intensity is needed.
At the end of the day, winning five straight is the real goal here. Identity crisis or not Roma will present a real challenge that shouldn't be taken lightly, let's just hope they don't try to emulate all the Barca tactics...