MX23RW : Wednesday, October 27 01:01:30| >> :120:59042:59042:
Oct 3, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia
AtalantaAtalanta BC
2-3
AC MilanAC Milan
Zapata (86' pen.), Pasalic (90+4')
de Roon (40')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Calabria (1'), Tonali (43'), Leao (78')
Diaz (42'), Tomori (52'), Messias (85'), Leao (88'), Pioli (90+4')

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

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

Having experienced differing European fortunes in midweek, Atalanta BC host local rivals AC Milan at the Gewiss Stadium on Sunday.

The pair meet in a second successive Lombardy derby in Serie A, following La Dea's breathless draw with champions Inter last weekend, while Milan come into the game sitting second in the league after five wins from six so far.


Match preview

AC Milan's Rafael Leao celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on September 28, 2021© Reuters

In sharp contrast to their magnificent domestic form in the early throes of the 2021-22 season, Milan followed up a dramatic 3-2 loss to Liverpool in the opening match of their Champions League campaign with another defeat on Tuesday - this time at the hands of Spanish champions Atletico Madrid.

While that reverse still leaves the Rossoneri in search of their first victory in Europe's elite competition since beating Celtic back in 2013, they return to Serie A duty with a fine series of results behind them; substantiating their claims as genuine Scudetto contenders this term.

In fact, Milan have already tallied 16 points, which means if they should now win in Bergamo, they will equal their best beginning to a top-flight season since the turn of the century - the 19 points accrued during their first seven matches of 2003-04.

Their unbeaten start to the league will perhaps come under its greatest threat so far - though Stefano Pioli's men were previously held to a draw by a transitional Juventus side - as they make the short trip from the second city to the Gewiss Stadium on Sunday.

Six of their last 12 league clashes with the Bergamaschi have ended in a draw, demonstrating the closing gap between the two clubs in recent years, but Milan came out on top in their most recent encounter in May.

They have also been humbled by 3-0 and 5-0 scorelines by this weekend's opponents during the past two years, though, so are acutely aware of the damage that can be caused by an Atalanta in full flow.

Atalanta's Rafael Toloi celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on September 25, 2021© Reuters

Events over the past fortnight suggest Atalanta are starting to gear up towards their awesome best ahead of Milan's visit, as they are now unbeaten in five games across all competitions and have won three of their last four.

La Dea's latest triumph came at the expense of Champions League Group F rivals Young Boys on Wednesday night, as they edged out the Swiss champions by virtue of Matteo Pessina's 68th-minute strike - helping them onto four European points so far.

That vital first win of their third consecutive campaign in the competition came hot on the heels of an action-packed draw at San Siro last Saturday, as they shared the spoils with defending champions Inter and should perhaps have sealed all three points.

An end-to-end encounter - in which both the hosts' Lautaro Martinez and Atalanta sharpshooter Ruslan Malinovskyi thundered home stunning goals - ultimately finished 2-2, after a late Roberto Piccoli 'winner' for the Bergamaschi was ruled out by the VAR.

That result leaves Gian Piero Gasperini and company sitting seventh in Serie A ahead of the weekend's action - just one point shy of the top four, but five behind Milan and some seven short of flawless league leaders Napoli.

Not only will he want to close those gaps, but since 'Gasp' joined Atalanta in the 2016-17 season he has managed to oversee just one win against the Rossoneri from his five home league matches against them, so will surely want to put that record right starting on Sunday.

Atalanta BC Serie A form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D

Atalanta BC form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

AC Milan Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

AC Milan form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L



Team News

AC Milan's Franck Kessie in action against Lazio on September 12, 2021© Reuters

The Milan infirmary has had to fit revolving doors of late, as the recent returns of Olivier Giroud and Davide Calabria are outnumbered by visits from veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Achilles), Rade Krunic (calf), Tiemoue Bakayoko (ankle) and Alessandro Florenzi. The latter will now be out until November after undergoing surgery to resolve an ongoing issue with his left knee.

However, Stefano Pioli should have surprise summer signing Junior Messias ready to make his debut if required, as the former Crotone forward returned to training this week and could feature against Atalanta.

Though he now faces a suspension in Europe for his first-half red card versus Atletico, midfield mainstay Franck Kessie - a former Atalanta player, who has scored three Serie A goals against the Nerazzurri since leaving - will start.

Even though both Giroud and last weekend's goalscorer (on his full debut) Daniel Maldini are available, in-form Alexis Saelemaekers, Brahim Diaz, and Rafael Leao should form the youthful support act for hard-running frontman Ante Rebic.

The home side, meanwhile, will again be placing much of their attacking hopes on the irrepressible Ruslan Malinovskyi, who has been directly involved in 19 Serie A goals this calendar year (eight goals, 11 assists); at least three more than any other midfielder in the league.

The Ukrainian has generally played in an advanced role behind Duvan Zapata this term, but the Colombian striker's compatriot Luis Muriel made his return from injury in midweek and could contend for a start, having plundered 51 league goals since the start of the 2019-20 season.

Both Hans Hateboer and Rafael Toloi are set to be sidelined for Atalanta, so Berat Djimsiti should continue in the back three. In addition, the considerable wide threat of Robin Gosens will be missing due to a thigh strain picked up in midweek, so Davide Zappacosta and Joakim Maehle are poised to start as La Dea's wing-backs.

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Musso; Palomino, Demiral, Djimsiti; Zappacosta, Freuler, De Roon, Maehle; Pessina; Malinovskyi, Zapata

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Calabria, Tomori, Kjaer, Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao; Rebic


SM words green background

We say: Atalanta BC 2-1 AC Milan

Having stuttered in Europe and been far from convincing in beating Spezia last weekend, Milan's unbeaten start could come to an end in Bergamo.

Atalanta have proved their mettle among the top clubs yet again, with an impressive display against the Rossoneri's rivals Inter indicating they are stirring into life - and despite injuries on the flanks, up front they boast several potent options.



Top 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


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How you voted: Atalanta vs AC Milan

Atalanta BC
41.6%
Draw
21.7%
AC Milan
36.6%
161
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AC Milan's Franck Kessie celebrates scoring their second goal on January 9, 2021
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Man United, Liverpool, PSG 'involved in Kessie battle'
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rhs 2.0
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1AC Milan109102391428
2Napoli98101931625
3Inter Milan953124121218
4Roma9513169716
5Atalanta BCAtalanta94321511415
6Juventus94321311215
7Fiorentina95041312115
8Lazio94231917214
9Bologna93331519-412
10Empoli94051418-412
11Hellas VeronaHellas Verona93242118311
12Torino103251211111
13SassuoloSassuolo93241212011
14Udinese92431113-210
15Sampdoria92341317-49
16VeneziaVenezia10226817-98
17SpeziaSpezia102261223-118
18Genoa101451522-77
19Salernitana102171022-127
20CagliariCagliari91351120-96

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