MX23RW : Wednesday, March 3 10:43:10| >> :120:8817:8817:
Jan 23, 2021 at 5pm UK at San Siro
AC MilanAC Milan
0-3
AtalantaAtalanta BC

Hernandez (38'), Kessie (51')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Romero (26'), Ilicic (53' pen.), Zapata (77')
Gosens (84')

Preview: AC Milan vs. Atalanta BC - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between AC Milan and Atalanta BC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

League leaders AC Milan await the visit of near neighbours Atalanta BC on Saturday, with the opportunity arising for the Rossoneri to declare themselves 'winter champions' at Serie A's halfway stage.

This tantalising Lombardy derby pits Stefano Pioli's record-breaking outfit against an away side whose sparkling form has tailed off in the past week - with just two points and one goal from a pair of league fixtures.


Match preview

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic pictured on January 9, 2021© Reuters

One man dominated the headlines following Milan's most recent Serie A success on Monday - returning talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

'Ibra' is now just two goals away from reaching 500 goals in club football after the Swedish superstar's brace secured a 2-0 win in Cagliari. It was just the latest in a long line of game-winning interventions since his return to Italy last year and keeps the Rossoneri three points ahead of city rivals Inter Milan at the top of the table.

In their last six league outings, Stefano Pioli's team have racked up five wins and just one defeat, to Juventus - who they now lead by a significant ten-point margin.

Particularly telling - in terms of fortitude and depth of talent - has been that Milan have been heavily burdened by illness and injury during that spell, with star performers almost seamlessly replaced in Pioli's well-oiled winning machine.

Milan's accumulated total of 13 victories so far now leaves them requiring a win over Atalanta to equal their highest tally in the first half of a 20-team Serie A season - a record which was set back in 1950-51.

Apparently on the cusp of agreeing a deal for Chelsea centre-back Fikayo Tomori to bolster their shallow defensive options, the 18-time national champions are laser-focused on bringing Juve's dominance to end this term, but face one of their toughest assignments so far at San Siro this week.

Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini pictured in December 2020© Reuters

After a prolific stretch since mid-December, when Atalanta were averaging around three goals per game, Gian Piero Gasperini's side have hit a glitch in their past two outings, against Serie A strugglers Genoa and Udinese.

Nonetheless, level on points with Juventus and just one behind both Roma and Napoli, it is undoubted that La Dea are re-established as a team to fear.

Without a single defeat in 12 matches in all competitions, they make the short trip to Milan expecting to derail their more illustrious local rivals - even more so with recent precedent in their favour.

Milan have only managed to beat Atalanta once in their last 10 top-flight meetings and the Bergamo-based outfit remain undefeated in their last six away league games versus the Rossoneri.

However, profligacy such as shown in their two run-outs during the past week must be filtered out if they are to spoil the hosts' planned confirmation as Italy's 'Campioni d'Inverno' on Saturday - the return of Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata to the first XI would be a good place for Gasperini to start.

AC Milan Serie A form: WWWLWW
AC Milan form (all competitions): WWLWDW

Atalanta BC Serie A form: DWWWDD
Atalanta BC form (all competitions): WWWWDD


Team News

Hakan Calhanoglu celebrates scoring for Milan on September 24, 2020© Reuters

Playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu is among those who are set to be absent for Milan on Saturday evening, having tested positive for COVID-19, though Rade Krunic and Ante Rebic both return from quarantine to contend for a place in the squad and marauding left-back Theo Hernandez's previous positive test has since been declared a 'false positive'.

Stefano Pioli's other absentees are suspended pair Alexis Saelemaekers and Alessio Romagnoli, plus Ismael Bennacer (thigh injury), so Pierre Kalulu and Sandro Tonali will continue to deputise.

New signings Mario Mandzukic and Soualiho Meite are set for spots on the Rossoneri bench, as Iberian trio Samu Castillejo, Brahim Diaz and Rafael Leao are most likely to start in support of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The visitors have an almost fully fit squad to choose from, with only midfielder Mario Pasalic missing through injury. Therefore, Josip Ilicic, Matteo Pessina and Duvan Zapata are expected to return to the attack after being rested in midweek.

Despite scoring yet again on Wednesday, Luis Muriel will return to the bench - from where he often makes a serious second-half impact.

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Kalulu, Hernandez; Kessie, Tonali; Castillejo, Diaz, Leao; Ibrahimovic

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Gollini; Toloi, Romero, Djimsiti; Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pessina, Ilicic; Zapata


SM words green background

We say: AC Milan 2-2 Atalanta BC

Both of these enterprising sides generally score for fun and should serve up a delight for neutrals and fans alike, as Atalanta are willing to go toe-to-toe with their bigger and bolder Lombardy neighbours.

A plethora of attacking talent at both coaches' disposal must surely create a fitting spectacle to draw the first half of the season to a belated close.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


ID:431327:cQx:QQ:

How you voted: AC Milan vs Atalanta

AC Milan
71.8%
Draw
18.8%
Atalanta BC
9.4%
308
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Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori pictured in September 2020
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AC Milan 'want to complete Tomori deal by weekend'
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rhs 2.0
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter Milan24175260243656
2AC Milan24164447291852
3Juventus24147348202849
4Atalanta BCAtalanta24137455312446
5Roma24135648371144
6Lazio2413473832643
7Napoli23141849252443
8SassuoloSassuolo239863734335
9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona249873127435
10Sampdoria2493123336-330
11Bologna2477103237-528
12Udinese2477102633-728
13Genoa2468102636-1026
14Fiorentina2467112536-1125
15SpeziaSpezia2567123246-1425
16BeneventoBenevento2467112544-1925
17Torino2331193341-820
18CagliariCagliari2446142641-1518
19Parma2429131947-2815
20Crotone2433182357-3412

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