Serie A Matchday 38: Atalanta – Milan Match Preview

Atalanta and Milan are set to trade tackles at the Gewiss Stadium in the ultimate round of the 2020-21 Serie A season. In a massive top-four encounter, the Rossoneri can ill-afford to put their foot wrong, with their Champions League hopes on the line.

Milan squandered a prime opportunity to secure a long-awaited place in the Champions League group stage last time out, being held to a dismal goalless draw to bottom-half-of-the-table Cagliari. Stefano Pioli’s men head into proceedings in firm control of their fate, albeit they need to pick up all three points to ensure a top-four finish.

Ahead of the final kick-off, the Lombard heavyweights hold a slender one-point lead on fifth-placed Juventus. The Bianconeri head to Renato Dall’Ara to meet mid-table Bologna and are odds-on favorites to beat Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side.

And while Milan’s top-four hopes are hanging by a thread, Atalanta have already joined newly-crowned champions Inter Milan in next season’s Champions League group stage.

Atalanta vs Milan Head-To-Head

Cristian Romero, Josip Ilicic, and Duvan Zapata propelled Atalanta to a landslide 3-0 victory in the reverse fixture at the San Siro. It was the second time in their last three Serie A meetings that Milan failed to get on the scoresheet following a 5-0 thumping in Bergamo back in 2019-20.

If they outscore Milan here, it will be the first time in 13 years that Atalanta have won back-to-back home Serie A games against this opposition. Notably, though, La Dea have suffered just one defeat in their last 11 Serie A matches against the San Siro outfit (W4, D6), going down 3-1 at this venue in February 2019. 

Indeed, the Rossoneri have encountered all sorts of problems in Bergamo of late, having won just once in their last five top-flight visits to Atalanta (D2, L2). Since pulling off a 1-0 victory in January 2013, the seven-time European Cup winners have failed to keep a clean sheet in their subsequent seven Serie A trips to the Gewiss Stadium.

Atalanta Recent Form

Even though they go into this showdown on the back of a 2-1 loss to Juventus in the Coppa Italia Final, Atalanta are unbeaten in their last 11 Serie A matches (W9, D2). 

Last year’s Champions League quarter-finalists have won each of their last seven top-flight games at home and could now claim eight triumphs in a row for the first time in the club history.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s men have scored an average of 2.75 goals across their last three Serie A outings, finding the net in both halves on each occasion. 

The hosts have been too hot to handle in the second half throughout the entire 2020-21 campaign, having bagged a league-high 32 second-half goals at home so far.

Only record-extending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich (99) have notched up more goals than Atalanta (90) across Europe’s top-five divisions this season.

Milan Recent Form

Before playing out a scoreless draw with Cagliari last time out, Milan had won three consecutive Serie A matches by an aggregate score of 12-0.

The Rossoneri have registered a shutout in each of their last five league outings, last enjoying a longer such streak in March 2006.

Pioli’s men have been nothing short of outstanding away from home this season, racking up an intimidating 15 victories in 18 Serie A trips thus far (D1, L2). If they overcome Atalanta here, Milan will set a new all-time record in Serie A for a number of away triumphs in a single season.

The visitors have scored 2+ goals in a league-high 16 road trips this season, which accounts for 89% of their away Serie A games so far.

However, they also face the risk of becoming the first team since Juventus in 1935-36 to finish the season outside the top-four after being Campione d’Inverno (“Winter Champions”).

Atalanta vs Milan Players to Watch

Attacking midfielder Ruslan Malinovskiyi has been in a stellar form of late, becoming the first midfielder in Serie A to be involved in a goal in ten league matches on the trot. The Ukrainian has found the net before the half-hour mark in two of his last three top-flight appearances.

Croatian forward Ante Rebic has got on the scoresheet in three of Milan’s last four away Serie A games, including a sublime second-half hat-trick against Torino in their most recent league trip. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic ruled out with injury, the former Eintracht Frankfurt man will have to be at his best if Milan are to qualify for the Champions League.

Atalanta vs Milan Predicted Lineups

ATALANTA (3-4-3): Pierluigi Gollini; Cristian Romero, Rafael Toloi, Berat Djimsiti; Hans Hateboer, Marten de Roon, Remo Freuler, Robin Gosens; Ruslan Malinovskiy, Josip Ilicic, Luis Muriel

MILAN (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Theo Hernandez, Simon Kjaer, Fikayo Tomori, Davide Calabria; Ismael Bennacer, Franck Kessie; Hakan Calhanoglu, Alexis Saelemaekers, Rafael Leao; Ante Rebic