Goals from Edin Dzeko and Alessandro Florenzi boosted Roma to a 2-0 victory over AC Milan, who lost Hakan Calhanoglu to a red card, at San Siro.
Here, we identify five things we learned from the Serie A showdown.
New-look Milan just not gelling
The cracks have been showing for weeks. Despite spending over 200 million euros on new players in the summer, Milan’s board has witnessed worrying results including a 4-1 thrashing at Lazio and a 2-0 capitulation at Sampdoria. The Rossoneri even struggled to get past Croatians Rijeka in the Europa League this week and head coach Vincenzo Montella is running out of time to deliver an effective line-up from a stellar squad with tough tests to come.
Montella on shaky ground
Continuing on a theme, one man who could pay the price if Milan continue to disappoint is Montella. The club’s new Chinese owners were quick to back ‘L’Aeroplanino’ when taking over, despite rumours they would import a coach with a world-class profile; one of those is now available in the shape of Carlo Ancelotti. In pursuit of a winning formula Montella has tinkered with his starting XI extensively but seems unwilling to drop the 3-5-2 tactic which is not working.
Di Francesco bolsters reputation
There were some rebellious voices when Roma replaced their Inter Milan-bound boss Luciano Spalletti with Eusebio Di Francesco, a less glamorous individual who had helped Sassuolo win promotion and then punch above their weight in Serie A. But the former midfielder has protected Roma’s attacking style while adding more grit and pressing, which have allowed his team to prosper particularly in the second halves of games, as they did on Sunday.
Strootman set for another absence
One key to Roma’s bright start to season had been the excellent form of midfielder Kevin Strootman. The Dutch enforcer has impressed whenever he has played for the capital club but all too often he has been injured, missing huge swathes of the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns due to cruciate ligament problems. The Stadio Olimpico crowd held its breath when he left the pitch hurt in the first half and the Giallorossi faithful will hope any injury is not too serious.
Can Roma maintain the surge?
A glance at the league table casts Roma as under-performers given they are six points behind leaders Napoli following Sunday’s win, but crucially they have a game in hand after a match at Sampdoria was postponed last month. Their first appointment after the international break is with none other than Napoli, and it will be in that game against red-hot opposition where they will need to prove they are truly serious about capturing a first Scudetto since 2001.
Source: By PA Sport Staff