MX23RW : Wednesday, September 19 07:34:25
May 30, 2015 at 7.45pm UK at ​Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia
AtalantaAtalanta BC
1-3
AC Milan
Baselli (21')
Masiello (57'), Cigarini (60'), D'Alessandro (89')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Pazzini (36' pen.), Bonaventura (38', 80')

Preview: Atalanta BC vs. AC Milan

Sports Mole previews this weekend's Serie A meeting between Atalanta BC and AC Milan at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.

AC Milan will aim to see out their Serie A campaign with back-to-back victories when they travel to take on Atalanta BC this weekend.

It has been a season to forget for the capital city side, but a point against their lowly opponents will be enough to make sure of a top-half finish at the very least.



Atalanta BC

Alejandro Gomez of Atalanta celebrates after scoring his team's equalizing goal during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and Empoli FC at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on April 26, 2015© Getty Images

Despite winning just four of their 21 league games since the turn of the year, Atalanta head into the final matchday of the Serie A season safe from the drop.

That, largely speaking, is down to the abject points return of the three sides below them. Cagliari Calcio, Cesena and a cash-strapped Parma side - unfortunate to be docked points - will each be playing away from the top tier of Italian football next season.

Furthermore, with Udinese four points ahead, La Dea will finish in 17th place regardless of the outcome of Saturday evening's clash. A poor run of form cost long-term manager Stefano Colantuono his job earlier this campaign, leaving Edoardo Reja in charge for the past few months.

Results have hardly improved, but Atalanta have just about done enough to stay afloat. What Reja has done well since coming in is make his side hard to beat, having secured five draws in their last seven outings.

Only one other side - Empoli - has drawn more games than the Nerazzurri this term, but a failure to hold on to leads may very well have proved costly had those in the bottom three recorded a slightly better points return.

Twenty-nine points have been thrown away from winning positions in total, while Atalanta have also conceded a goal in each of their last 10 games. They have done enough to stay up this time around, but vast improvements will be needed if they are to do likewise in 12 months' time.

Recent form: DDDDWLD



AC Milan

Head coach of Milan Filippo Inzaghi gestures during the Serie A match between AC Milan and AC Chievo Verona at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on October 4, 2014© Getty Images

How the mighty have fallen. While the giants of the game have been so accustomed to fighting for silverware both domestically and in Europe at this stage of the season, Milan are now simply battling to secure a top-place finish this time out.

In fact, it was on this very day 12 months ago that the Rossoneri beat Juventus at Old Trafford to triumph in the Champions League.

The long-term target will be to bring those famous nights back to San Siro, but right now Filippo Inzaghi - or Carlo Ancelotti should he make an unlikely switch back to his former club - must make do with limited funds.

It has been 18 years since Milan last finished outside of the top half, which is unlikely to happen for at least another year thanks to their superior goal difference over the sides directly below them.

The fact that city rivals Inter Milan are going through an equally abject spell at this moment will provide just the smallest of comforts for supporters of this famous club, but just two wins from their last eight does not make good reading. The rebuilding job ahead of next season must begin as soon as the full-time whistle sounds on Saturday.

Recent form: LLLWLW



Team News

German Gustavo Denis of Atalanta BC celebrates his goal during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on March 16, 2014© Getty Images

Milan will be without Cristian Zaccardo, who was dismissed against Torino last time out, which could pave the way for Philippe Mexes to come back into the fold.

Question marks remain over the fitness of Adil Rami and Stephan El Shaarawy, though, with the latter proving key for his side last time out by bagging a brace.

Meanwhile, Atalanta are expected to be without defender Boukary Drame once again for their final outing, but they are boosted by the return from suspension of German Denis.

The explosive forward was handed a five-match ban last month for charging into Empoli's changing room and punching defender Lorenzo Tonelli.

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Sportiello, Masiello, Benalouane, Del Grosso, Zappacosta, Grassi, Baselli, Moralez, Cigarini, Gomez, Denis

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Abbiati, Paletta, Alex, Mexes, Bocchetti, De Jong, Poli, Van Ginkel, Honda, Pazzini, El Shaarawy



Head To Head

Atalanta have tasted victory in the last two meetings between these sides, but the last time they won three in succession was way back in 1941.

Just one of the last 17 encounters has finished as a draw, meanwhile - a 1-1 tie in October 2009 - although the Nerazzurri's habit of recording draws this season means that record could be put to the test this weekend.

Denis's 33rd-minute goal won the contest for Atalanta in the reverse battle earlier this year, as Milan sank to their fourth home defeat of the campaign.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Atalanta BC 1-2 AC Milan

This has hardly been a vintage year for either side but, buoyed by that comfortable win over Torino last time out, Inzaghi's charges will end their season on a relative high note.


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Who will win Saturday's Serie A meeting between Atalanta BC and AC Milan?

Atalanta BC
Draw
AC Milan
Atalanta BC
20.5%
Draw
18.8%
AC Milan
60.7%
Felipe Anderson of SS Lazio celebrates after scoring the third team's goal during the TIM Cup match between SS Lazio and AS Varese at Stadio Olimpico on December 2, 2014
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Preview: Atalanta BC vs. Lazio
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Juventus440094512
2SPALSPAL43014139
3Napoli43016609
4SassuoloSassuolo42119727
5Sampdoria32018176
6Fiorentina32017256
7Genoa32016606
8Lazio420234-16
9Roma41217705
10Udinese41214405
11Torino41214405
12CagliariCagliari412145-15
13Parma411245-14
14Atalanta BCAtalanta41127614
15AC Milan31115504
16Empoli41123304
17Inter Milan41125414
18Bologna401305-51
19FrosinoneFrosinone4013010-101
20AC Chievo VeronaChievo4022511-6-1

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