Big beasts to come up trumps
Serie A leaders AC Milan welcome Roma to the San Siro for Monday's clash, which promises to be an exciting spectacle. Stefano Pioli's side have a perfect record from their opening four matches, taking maximum points and conceding just once in that period. Two variations on a theme will be tested against each other on the pitch, but both teams have target men in their thirties ploughing lone furrows up top who are still coming up with the goods. Read our preview here:
As well as all of the obvious talent on show in attacking phases, much of I Rossoneri's blistering start has been owed to the defence's stoicism, and moreover, how goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has organised it. The 21 year-old custodian has already amassed an unbelievable 211 games in all competitions to date, and has more than proved his worth between the sticks since getting the nod half a decade ago. Two particular skills spring to mind: firstly, he times coming off his line superbly, and very much in the modern vein, he is a good passer of the ball with his feet. Secondly, he has a knack of saving penalties in big games, and few things will endear a stopper to their head coach and supporters quite like that. The aerial ability the red and black half of the city boast means they're lethal from set pieces and floated crosses into the box, and despite closing in on 40, Zlatan Ibrahimović has lost none of his predatory instincts.
Edin for goals
Nevertheless, the hosts' defensive record will come under severe pressure from I Giallorossi. The way in which the attacking duo of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pedro, both very seasoned pros themselves, can create space and angles to support Bosnian captain Edin Džeko means they're always in with a shout of goals. Paulo Fonseca has endured a mixed start to 2020/2021 in the league, but they are well-suited to operating on the counter. Like his opposite number, the former Manchester City striker is still at a level where he can perform more than a single function for his side, whether it be latching onto through balls, laying off a short pass for a teammate to strike from range, or having a snapshot himself with very little space in which to work with.
When two men collide
If it seems a little churlish to focus on just the strikers in this encounter, it shouldn't do. They're both still near the peak of their powers, and will severely punish any errors their markers will make. Equally, the threats in both XIs are such that their roles could theoretically be peripheral, but where there's an air war, they'll both be at the centre of it. That could even mean coming up against one another at set pieces, which will be an intriguing battle. betway have odds of 5.75 for the duo to score at least one goal each.