One of the most heavily anticipated fixtures in the Serie A calendar falls on Saturday as Atalanta and Milan go head-to-head in Bergamo. Let’s look at our match preview for this mouth-watering contest.
Ex-Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata proved La Dea wrong for giving up his services in the summer on Monday. His match-winning double inspired Torino to an emphatic 3-0 home win against Gian Piero Gasperini’s troubled side, casting further doubt on the veteran manager’s future at the Gewiss Stadium.
Stranded in mid-table, albeit only four points adrift of fourth-placed Roma, Atalanta must play a catch-up and can’t afford another slip-up here. But it’s easier said than done as they come into proceedings having lost three of their last four league outings, except for a last-gasp 1-1 draw at bottom-half Udinese a month ago.
Unlike their hosts, Milan ought to take the field in a buoyant mood after Luka Jovic’s heroics inspired them to a 3-1 home win against Frosinone last weekend. After 189 days of waiting, the heavily criticized striker finally returned to the scoresheet in Serie A and chipped in with an assist to propel Rossoneri to a much-needed three points.
Under-fire manager Stefano Pioli hasn’t weathered the storm yet, even though his lads commence this round four points clear of fourth-placed Roma. After a dismal 3-1 home defeat to Borussia Dortmund put them on the brink of an early Champions League elimination, Milan can ill-afford to lose more ground on pacesetters Inter in Serie A.
Atalanta looked unplayable at home only a month ago, racking up three wins in their first four Serie A home games (D1). However, Gasperini’s men have turned their home ground into a feeble fortress, suffering back-to-back 2-1 defeats at the hands of Napoli and Inter. Their struggles in high-profile fixtures don’t bode well for their bid to defy an underwhelming home run against Milan.
Except for a historic 5-0 victory in December 2019, Atalanta have gone winless in six of their last seven top-flight encounters against Rossoneri in Bergamo (D3, L3). It hardly makes for good reading, while Gasperini’s recent bust-up with the club hierarchy only adds to home fans’ fears. To turn those fortunes around, La Dea would have to post their first home win against a top-half opponent this term.
With table-topping Inter six points ahead, Milan remain firmly embroiled in the Scudetto race despite only winning twice in their last five league games (D2, L1). Pioli’s men have made a poor habit of wasting comfortable leads on the road lately, dropping a 2-0 halftime cushion to draw 2-2 against Lecce and Napoli on their two most recent Serie A travels.
However, despite a brace of stomach-wrenching results on the road, Milan still boast the fourth-best away record in Italy’s top flight this season, having only lost once on their seven travels (W4, D2). Truth be told, that defeat came at the San Siro as Rossoneri slumped to a humiliating 5-1 loss to Inter in September, meaning they’ve yet to lose outside their home venue.
Berat Djimsiti’s withdrawal in Monday’s heartbreak in Turin added insult to injury, with the Albanian center-back joining El Bilal Toure, Jose Palomino, Rafael Toloi, Davide Zappacosta, and Gianluca Scamacca on the sidelines. An ever-growing injury contingent has left Atalanta coach Gasperini short of reliable options in multiple departments.
On the other hand, Milan will take this trip without Mallick Thiaw, Mattia Caldara, Pierre Kalulu, Simon Kjaer, Marco Sportiello, Marco Pellegrino, and Noah Okafor. While there’s an outside chance for standout performer Rafael Leao to make the bench, Olivier Giroud is back after serving a two-game ban.
Atalanta vs Milan Potential Lineups
Atalanta (3-4-1-2): Juan Musso; Giorgio Scalvini, Marten de Roon, Sead Kolasinac; Hans Hateboer, Ederson, Teun Koopmeiners, Matteo Ruggeri; Mario Pasalic; Ademola Lookman, Luis Muriel.
Milan (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Fikayo Tomori, Theo Hernandez, Alessandro Florenzi; Tijjani Reijnders, Yunus Musah; Samuel Chukwueze, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic; Olivier Giroud.
Atalanta vs Milan Prediction
With both sides missing numerous first-team stars, one would be forgiven for assuming a low-scoring contest could be on the cards. However, the recent meetings between Atalanta and Milan have produced plenty of action, and we expect that trend to continue.
A potential loss could prove the end of the road for Gasperini, and we back Rossoneri to put the final nail in his coffin as La Dea manager.
Prediction: Milan Win
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