Gattuso on AS Roma:
“They played a great first half against Shakhtar in Champions League. The Ukrainians are among the best teams in Europe and Roma managed to dominate them in the first half. They are a very strong team, their wingers are very dangerous and they have so much quality in midfield. We need to give a good performance tomorrow, otherwise, it will be very difficult for us. We are going there to win.”
Kalinic is healthy again, who can we expect to start on top alongside Suso and Hakan?
“Cutrone or Kalinic? I’ve already decided who will start tomorrow”. On André Silva: “He played great against Sampdoria, he didn’t lose one ball. I like re-watching the matches. On Thursday for instance, when Kalinic came in, he started playing better, maybe he is a striker who feels more comfortable with someone playing close to him.”
Does the locker room have an eye on Europe?
“We don’t even talk about this, we only focus on the next match. The team prepares for every game this way, let’s see where it take us. We can’t afford to make mistakes at this point, not in any of the competitions we are currently playing. However, we have to focus on Roma now, and then we will see what happens.”
Lineup and Team Selection
GOALKEEPERS: A. Donnarumma, G. Donnarumma, Storari, Guarnone
DEFENDERS: Abate, Antonelli, Bonucci, Calabria, Conti, Gomez, Musacchio, Rodriguez, Romagnoli, Zapata, Vergara
MIDFIELDERS: Biglia, Bonaventura, Calhanoglu, Kessie, Locatelli, José Mauri, Juan Mauri, Montolivo
FORWARDS: Borini, Cutrone, Kalinic, Mastour, Oduamadi, André Silva, Suso
Gennaro Gattuso wasn’t giving anything away when asked who would be starting at forward on Sunday. By all rights, it should be Patrick Cutrone. The boy has been spectacular and if his legend is going to continue to grow, he will need to be up top in this crucial fixture. However, a healthy Nikola Kalinic could be an attractive option, should Gattuso feel experience will be warranted on the afternoon.
Another intriguing option could involve Fabio Borini. The man on loan from Sunderland has been in fine form lately, bagging a few goals in his very limited opportunities, including one in a rare European feature against Ludogorets this past week.
Coming back into the lineup after a one match suspension is fan favorite Franck Kessie. Against Sampdoria, he was certainly missed as Montolivo was transparent for most of the match. Kessie will need to be at his best if Milan is hoping to catch Roma off guard in transition.
I suspect the following will be the starting XI Gattuso puts out. I would love to see Cutrone get the nod but I just have a feeling Kalinic will be there. The rest of the squad should look familiar, with Davide Calabria moving ahead of Ignazio Abate.
Milan: Andrea Conti is still nursing that knee while Marco Storari will be missing in action yet again.
Roma: Maxime Gonalons & Rick Karsdorp
Form & Prediction
Anyone who has even casually following AC Milan since Christmas knows the kind of run Gennaro Gattuso’s Rossoneri are on at the moment. The attitude, the playstyle, the effort; it’s a completely different team than what we witnessed half a season ago. In this calendar year, Milan are undefeated, leaving a trail of destruction behind them across Italy, as well as Europe. Three months ago, if EUFA announced we would be playing Arsenal in Europa League, can you imagine the fan reaction? It would be pandemonium. Not today, however. Today, any challenge put in the way of Gattuso’s men is not only met head first, but welcomed eagerly.
Strange season for Roma in 2018. With losses against Juventus, Sampdoria, and Atalanta fresh in their minds, they will have to prove their recently improved form (ignoring a 2-1 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk) against a reinvigorated Milan. However, three victories in a row over lesser squads have seen Roma rocket back into third position.
Last Meeting: Roma 2-0 Milan
My Prediction: If we have any thoughts of Europe for next season, we need at least a draw here. Sure, there is plenty of football left to be played, but this match could be viewed as a thermometer test for Milan. How good is this streak we’re on? Roma might be the first real test over the last two months. Draw or win here, that growing fire that’s burning in Gattuso’s men turns into an autonomous furnace.
2-2 with goals from Giacomo Bonaventura and Suso.
Match Date, Time and Location
Sunday, February 18, 2:45 PM (ET), 7:45 p.m. (GMT)
Stadio Olimpico, Roma, Italy
Italy: Sky Sport 1, Sky Super Calcio and Sky Calcio 1
USA: BeIN Sports
Canada: Sportsnet World
Other countries can find their match listings at livesoccertv.com