Atalanta vs Milan Preview and Expected Lineups – Serie A Round 7

Arguably the most exciting match-up in this weekend’s Serie A football schedule takes place at the Gewiss Stadium on Sunday evening, as Atalanta take on Milan. Both sides return to domestic action following their Champions League commitments in midweek.

Atalanta eked out a 1-0 home victory over Young Boys to take control of Group F, while Milan turned a 1-0 half-time lead into a 2-1 home loss to Atletico Madrid to stay bottom of Group B. Despite their underwhelming Champions League exploits, the Rossoneri can draw confidence from their impressive domestic form.

Atalanta vs Milan Head-to-Head

Milan pulled off a crucial 2-0 victory at the Gewiss Stadium in last season’s Serie A finale through a brace of Franck Kessie’s penalties to earn Champions League promotion. It’s been their second win in three league visits to Bergamo as they seek back-to-back top-flight success here for the first time since 2013.

However, the recent Serie A meetings between Atalanta and Milan have been nothing if not inconsistent, with none of their last six league H2Hs repeating the same outcome in consecutive clashes. 

Despite winning twice in their last four Serie A matches against the Rossoneri, their overall top-flight H2H stakes massively read negatively (W25, D43, L52). So it comes as a bit surprising that the odds are stacked against Milan here, especially considering Atalanta’s recent showings.

Atalanta Form Preview

Barring a somewhat unexpected 2-1 home loss to Fiorentina in early September, Atalanta are unbeaten in their remaining five Serie A matches this season (W3, D2). However, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men have been a shadow of their former selves in the early exchanges this season, with each of their three league triumphs coming by a single-goal margin.

After finishing the last three seasons as the most prolific Serie A side, La Dea have netted an average of just 1.33 goals per game this term. Unlike last year when they were scoring for fun, the hosts have found the net in both halves only once in their six league outings this season. 

Particularly sloppy from set-pieces, Atalanta are one of just four sides yet to score from such plays this term, penalties excluded. It will be a daunting prospect for them to break that duck here, as they meet a team that has yet to concede from set-piece situations this Serie A campaign.

Still, and kind of victory will do here, as Atalanta hope to improve an indifferent Serie A form at home this season (W1, D1, L1) and give the city that’s been cruelly hit by the pandemic a reason to celebrate.

Player to watch: Ruslan Malinovskyi 

Malinovskyi has scored once and assisted once in Serie A this season, taking his goal contribution in the competition this calendar year to 19 (eight goals and 11 assists). The Ukrainian dynamo has been a shining light in Bergamo in 2021 and is the most prolific midfielder in Italy’s top-flight in this period.

So he should be Atalanta’s main threat here as he looks to score his first Serie A goal against Milan.

Milan Form Preview

Despite losing both Champions League matches this season, Milan have been nothing short of outstanding in Serie A so far. Except for a 1-1 away draw with Juventus a fortnight ago, they have won their remaining five league fixtures in 2021/22, netting 2+ goals in the last four. 

Another victory here would see the Rossoneri take their points tally to 19 and equal the club’s best-ever seven-game Serie A start in the three-points-per-win era. Having avoided defeat in their last six league fixtures on the road (W5, D1), Milan will believe they can upset the odds here.

Milan’s Serie A action away from home sparks into life after half-time, with three of their four league goals scored on the road this term arriving in the second half of play. Indeed, no strangers to putting in a late show, Stefano Pioli’s men have netted beyond the 75th minute in two of their three Serie A trips this term.

Worryingly, though, after a run of four Serie A away games without conceding, the Rossoneri have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last two league travels. 

Player to watch: Brahim Diaz

Diaz came on as a late substitute against Spezia last time out and went on to score an 86th-minute winner, registering his third Serie A goal this season. Another strike here would see the Real Madrid loanee equal his whole goals tally from last season.

What’s more, Diaz faces a golden opportunity to score in three consecutive top-flight matches for the first time in his Europe’s top-five league career.

Atalanta vs Milan Predicted Line-ups

Atalanta (3-4-1-2): Juan Musso; Rafael Toloi, Merih Demiral, Berat Djimsiti; Davide Zappacosta, Mario Pasalic, Teun Koopmeiners, Joakim Maehle; Matteo Pessina; Josip Ilicic, Duvan Zapata.

Milan (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Fikayo Tomori, Alessio Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Sandro Tonali, Franck Kessie; Alexis Saelemaekers, Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao; Ante Rebic.