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Is Milan a Real Threat to Roma This Season?

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WIth the season less than a week away, we're going to take a quick look at some of Roma's fiercest rivals. First up, Milan. Can this legendary club take the first steps towards reclaiming its crown?

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The Serie A title race may not be as wide open as purists might like but at least there's some variety in Italy's monotony, with the title generally shuffling between three hands as opposed to La Liga, where Real Madrid or Barcelona have taken 25 of the last 30 titles. A small difference, admittedly, but despite Juve's four-straight titles, this year's Scudetto race should be hotly contested, as Roma, Inter and Milan all invested heavily in the transfer market to end The Old Lady's half-decade run of dominance.

With that in mind, we're going to take a quick look around the league, highlighting some of Roma's adversaries to see how credible a threat they pose to our assault at halting Juventus' strive for five, and in some instances, the Scudetto itself.

First up in our Know Your Enemy series, the club that kidnapped a few kids from the Giallorossi summer camp, AC Milan.

Milan

Last Season: 10th place, 52 pts, +6 goal differential

Manager: Siniša Mihajlović

Key Additions: Luiz Adriano, Carlos Bacca, Andrea Bertolacci, Alessio Romagnoli

Key Departures: Stephan El Sharaawy, Giampolo Pazzini, Adil Rami, Michael Essien

Synopsis

Well, take one look at that list above, though some Milan fans will quibble with how they spent, Adriano Galliani went full bore this summer, spending over €70 million on those four names alone. After dispatching club legend Filippo Inzaghi from the manager's seat, Milan brought in Serbian madman Siniša Mihajlović to man the sidelines.

In some ways, Milan's summer is reminiscent of Roma circa 2013. After a trip down memory lane failed to produce results, with Pippo playing the Zdenek Zeman role, the Rossoneri brought in a new head man with a fondness for free-flowing football and an actual understanding of defense.

Style of Play

Although Mihajlovic is a bit more flexible than Rudi Garcia, his bread and butter, like so many managers nowadays, is the 4-3-3. Led by Jeremy Menez's 16 goals, Milan was one of Italy's more potent attacks, finishing 7th in goals scored last season, one spot ahead of Roma. As those 16 goals were more than Menez scored in the four previous combined, Milan saw fit to bring Luiz Adriano and Bacca on board, who scored a combined 49 goals in all competitions for their respective clubs in 2014-2015.

This infusion of attacking talent should provide Milan with more scoring options, though it remains to be seen which of Bacca and Adriano will be the lead horse. Milan's downfall last season was its defense, particular its penchant for coughing up leads, and given how well Romagnoli played in Mihajlovic's defense last season, one can see why he was so keen on bringing in the young Lazio fan.

Mihajlovic's teams are known for their fervent attacking style, which uses a sound defense as a spring board for the counter attack.

Biggest Threat

The combination of Bacca, Luiz Adriano and Menez should give Milan more than enough firepower to scare any keeper in the league

Biggest Question Mark:

The defense. Phillippe Mexes is aging, Romagnoli is unproven and Ignazio Abate and Mattia De Sciglio are inconsistent at best. It's not hard to imagine a repeat of last season where upon the offense would flourish only to see the defense cough up a late lead.

Scudetto Threat Factor: 0/10

Sorry, Milan, you're just not there yet. Given another year or so of Mr. Bee's wild spending and Milan might reclaim their throne, and while they've picked up some intriguing pieces, they don't have the rigidity on defense to hold off stronger opponents.

Roma Threat Factor: 5/10

Consider this category the threat they pose to unseating Roma on the table, no matter where they ultimately fall. While Milan went big on Romagnoli and Bertolacci, they haven't shown anywhere near the consistency of more experienced players, while their offensive hopes rest on Bacca and Adriano successfully transitioning to a more nuanced league. Give me Edin Dzeko, Francesco Totti, Mohamed Salah and Miralem Pjanic any day of the week, while Romagnoli can't yet hold a candle to Leandro Castan.

Simply put, Milan isn't quite there yet