Roma - Milan: Key Matchups At The Stadio Olimpico

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    Roma - Milan: Key Matchups At The Stadio Olimpico

    Post by RefreSh on Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:02 pm

    Two of Serie A's biggest clubs will meet at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday evening in a potentially decisive encounter. With just hours before the this great contest, Adam Scime looks at some of the key personal match-ups that will take place...

    Every great football match is made up of both team and individual battles, and of course the highly anticipated clash between the Giallorossi and the Rossoneri will be no different on Sunday evening.

    One intriguing aspect of this show-down could be the Serie A debut of David Beckham, who will no doubt gather plenty of the spotlight whether he is on the pitch or sitting on the substitutes bench.

    Both squads are full of experienced, explosive, talented, hard-working, and potentially match-winning players. Not to mention, two of the most highly rated coaches in Italian football in Luciano Spalletti and Carlo Ancelotti.

    Luciano Spalletti v Carlo Ancelotti

    An interesting match-up, especially with the recent reports that Carlo Ancelotti could eventually succeed Luciano Spalletti as the coach of Roma.

    Last season, Spalletti outwitted his counterpart both home and away. This term it could be a different story, but the former Udinese boss will be confident with the home advantage, as Milan have struggled away from the San Siro this term – with a record of 2 wins, 3 draws, and 3 losses.

    Daniele De Rossi v Kaka

    It seems like a perfect confrontation. Daniele De Rossi will be charged with winning the ball in the midfield, while Kaka’s job is to penetrate the defence. Can the Italian international keep him in check? Or will the Brazilian’s direct approach pay dividends?

    Jeremy Menez v Gianluca Zambrotta

    The youthful exuberance of Jeremy Menez will come up against the wily and experienced Gianluca Zambrotta. Both have had a fairly inconsistent season and their battles on the left side of the pitch could have a major impact on the game's outcome.

    Mirko Vucinic v Paolo Maldini

    Captain Maldini has played in many big matches in his career and against many skilled players. Vucinic, although skilled, will need to do something extra to beat the Milan veteran. Maldini will be keen to show he still has what it takes in his final season before retiring.

    Philippe Mexes v Ronaldinho

    It will be the job of Philippe Mexes to marshal his defense against the attacking threat of Ronaldinho. Both of these men are capable of dominant performances on their day, one for I Lupi’s defense, and the other for the Rossoneri attack. Who will have the better of the action on Sunday?

    Other Key Players

    The ‘spice boy’, David Beckham, will likely start from the bench. However, everyone’s eyes will be on the 33-year-old should he take to the field - if the English player can muster up one of his famous set-pieces or crosses then he could change the game for Ancelotti’s men.

    Plenty of the play-making action will fall on a pair of Italian internationals in Andrea Pirlo and Alberto Aquilani. The deep-lying Milan playmaker will want to keep the pace of the game at a tempo that suits Milan so they do not get over-run by Roma’s midfielders. Aquilani is shaking off an injury, but looks set to start and will attempt to be the link to the Giallorossi attackers.

    Meanwhile, the goalkeepers could also play key role: Alexander Doni for Roma and Christian Abbiati for Milan.

    Of course, the capital club will be missing talisman Francesco Totti, which is always a huge loss. The 2006 World Cup winner is the glue that keeps his side together. Thus, Roma will have to find a way to deal with Milan in a Totti-less manner.

    Who will come out on top on Sunday? Roma or Milan? Which players will make the difference? Who will fail to shine? S-Sport.tk wants to know what YOU think...

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