MX23RW : Tuesday, April 20 11:15:32| >> :600:172994:172994:
Mar 3, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia
AtalantaAtalanta BC
5-1
CrotoneCrotone
Gosens (12'), Luis Palomino (48'), Muriel (50'), Ilicic (58'), Miranchuk (85')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Simy (23')
Magallan (7'), Riviere (25')

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

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

Free-flowing Atalanta BC host rock-bottom Crotone on Wednesday evening, with the gulf in class between the sides translating into a 34-point gap in the Serie A standings.

Ahead of major clashes with Inter and Real Madrid in the next fortnight, Gian Piero Gasperini's side must first take care of business against the relegation-haunted Calabrian minnows at the Gewiss Stadium.


Match preview

Atalanta defender Robin Gosens pictured in action in December 2019© Reuters

Largely controlling proceedings against a much-changed Sampdoria side at the sun-filled Marassi on Sunday afternoon, Atalanta got back to winning ways after a frustrating defeat in Europe.

It was wing-back Robin Gosens's eighth goal of a spectacular season, matching his shirt number - which more befits how the recently-capped German international plays - that sealed the deal in the second half, as suspended head coach Gian Piero Gasperini watched on with satisfaction from the directors' box.

If they were still reeling from Ferland Mendy's heartbreaking late winner for Champions League opponents Real Madrid last Wednesday, then Atalanta quickly re-focused their energies on the race for a top-four place in Serie A and were deserving 2-0 winners over a weakened Samp selection clearly distracted by the upcoming Derby della Lanterna.

Following three straight Serie A wins, including a fine 4-2 victory over fellow top-four contenders Napoli last time they played at home in the league - when all six goals came in an incredible second half - it is clear that La Dea are intent on continuing to dine at the continent's top table next term.

Since the turn of the year, the Bergamaschi have already reached the final of the Coppa Italia, where they will meet Juventus, and maintained their reputation as one of Calcio's most entertaining teams.

Goals can come from any number of sources, thanks to Gasperini's ultra-attacking approach and, with comfortably the second-best attacking record in Serie A on 55 goals (only leaders Inter can boast more, with 60), Atalanta have had 15 different scorers in the top flight this season - more than any other side.

Crotone manager Giovanni Stroppa pictured in January 2021© Reuters

Increasingly without hope of Serie A salvation, on Sunday, Crotone lost a sixth successive top-flight match for the first time in their brief history at the elite level.

Not long after, news emerged that the Calabrian club had sacked promotion-winning coach Giovanni Stroppa, with the Rossoblu eight points from safety and showing no signs of stemming a record-breaking tide of conceded goals.

Anchored to the bottom of the standings after 24 games, a 2-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Cagliari - who also parted company with their manager just days before - proved to be Stroppa's last in charge.

Though the club's statement referred to the end of "a beautiful and intense journey" under the former Foggia boss, they have necessarily moved on quickly, with the distinctive presence of ex-Perugia coach Serse Cosmi now set to take over his still-warm seat in the dugout.

Cosmi will have his work cut out though, as defensive frailties have been a consistent trait of Crotone's all season long - their concession of 57 goals from 24 games so far represents the worst 'goals against' rate at this stage of any previous Serie A season.

Furthermore, Gli Squali's only victories of a dismal campaign have come against fellow promoted sides Spezia and Benevento, plus 19th-placed Parma. Expecting a miracle to occur in Bergamo, in the form of a fourth win of the season, would surely be too much to ask, so upcoming fixtures versus Torino and Bologna may offer Cosmi and company a better place to start.

Atalanta BC Serie A form: WLDWWW
Atalanta BC form (all competitions): DWWWLW

Crotone Serie A form: LLLLLL


Team News

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini during the match on January 23, 2021© Reuters

Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata is not expected to recover from the thigh strain that forced him off against Real Madrid last week, so Luis Muriel - substituted on the hour mark at the weekend - will deputise again if his compatriot cannot return in time.

Gian Piero Gasperini will also be without wing-back Hans Hateboer, who is still out of action due to a fractured foot, though Berat Djimsiti should slot straight back into the XI after serving a one-match suspension versus Sampdoria. Therefore, Jose Luis Palomino is likely to drop out of central defence and either Joakim Maehle or Bosko Sutalo should feature on the right flank.

Influential forward Josip Ilicic could be given an opportunity from the start, as Gasperini rests one or two recent regulars, with Aleksey Miranchuk and Ruslan Malinovskyi both contending to play behind lone striker Muriel. Midfielder Matteo Pessina could also return in a deeper role, in place of the suspended Marten de Roon.

Crotone returned to a three-man defence for Giovanni Stroppa's final game in charge, but it remains to be seen whether the incoming Serse Cosmi will continue down that track or make sweeping changes.

The visitors are still likely to be without Koffi Djidji and key midfielder Ahmad Benali through injury, though Sebastiano Luperto and Giuseppe Cuomo returned to action on Sunday and should again be available. Veteran engine room operative Luca Cigarini continues to struggle with a knee injury, so may miss out on a return to his former club.

Most probably, Cosmi will continue with Junior Messias and Adam Ounas in support of Samuel Di Carmine up front, with experienced striker Simy staying in reserve for now.

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Gollini; Toloi, Romero, Djimsiti; Maehle, Freuler, Pessina, Gosens; Malinovskyi, Miranchuk; Muriel

Crotone possible starting lineup:
Cordaz; Magallan, Golemic, Luperto; Pereira, Henrique, Zanellato, Reca; Ounas, Messias; Di Carmine


SM words green background

We say: Atalanta BC 4-1 Crotone

Even if Gian Piero Gasperini does decide to rotate - quite prudently, with both Inter and Real Madrid to take on in the coming fortnight - nearly any combination of his ever-deepening pool of talent would have enough guile to pull apart Crotone's ropey rearguard.

With their current stay in the top flight set to be a brief one, given their current status and an uninspiring managerial appointment this week, the visitors will find themselves overwhelmed on the flanks by Atalanta's dynamic wing-backs and could be set for a punishing 90 minutes.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals 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.Over 2.5:data


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter Milan31236270284275
2AC Milan31206559362366
3Atalanta BCAtalanta31197572383464
4Juventus31188561283362
5Napoli31193966353160
6Lazio30184851411058
7Roma3116695547854
8SassuoloSassuolo31121095249346
9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona31118123938141
10Sampdoria31116144246-439
11Bologna31107144347-437
12Udinese3199133441-736
13Genoa31711133346-1332
14SpeziaSpezia3188154159-1832
15Fiorentina3179153952-1330
16BeneventoBenevento3179153360-2730
17Torino30612124553-830
18CagliariCagliari3167183554-1925
19Parma31311173263-3120
20Crotone3143243879-4115

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