MX23RW : Thursday, June 24 13:31:41| >> :600:274287:274287:
Dec 20, 2020 at 5pm UK at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia
AtalantaAtalanta BC
Zapata (59'), Gosens (70'), Muriel (72'), Ilicic (85')
Malinovskiy (37'), Romero (39')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Dzeko (3')
Pellegrini (36'), Mirante (57'), Mancini (64')

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

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

Atalanta BC welcome fourth-placed Roma to Bergamo on Sunday evening after an excellent away draw against Juventus in midweek.

The Giallorossi visit the Gewiss Stadium on the back of a routine 3-1 home win against hapless Torino and now lead La Dea by six points in the Serie A standings.

Match preview

Atalanta BC head coach Gian Piero Gasperini pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Following a period of inconsistency and intrigue - as their integral playmaking captain Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez has been dropped due to a spectacular fall-out with coach Gian Piero Gasperini - Atalanta have stumbled to a total of 18 points and are in eighth place, albeit with a game in hand on Roma.

Since their encounter with Udinese was postponed due to flash flooding, Atalanta have perhaps felt the benefits of a rare few days off - or at least spent on the training field rather than jetting back and forth across Europe and the Italian peninsula.

In three subsequent games for the Bergamaschi, they have beaten Ajax in Amsterdam to progress in the Champions League, then taken four league points from league fixtures with Fiorentina and Juventus.

The heated argument which has raged between Gomez and Gasperini - chief architects of the club's improbable renaissance - has resulted in reports that the Nerazzurri captain could even be sold in the January transfer window, causing significant internal strife at an outfit previously considered a supremely united camp.

Even in the potential absence of Papu - who was still thrown on as a substitute against Juve - finding the way to goal should not prove a major issue for Atalanta this weekend. There are 12 players who have scored this season for La Dea, demonstrating their collective strength and commitment to attack from all angles - particularly out wide.

However, main striker Duvan Zapata is still stuck on two league goals - way below par for a player of his calibre - and their top scorer remains Gomez.

After a point secured against the champions by virtue of a powerful Remo Freuler strike and Cristiano Ronaldo's uncharacteristic penalty miss, Atalanta should prepare for Roma's visit with increased confidence, particularly in the knowledge that they are unbeaten in 10 of their last 11 Serie A matches against the Giallorossi.

As part of that impressive sequence, Atalanta won their last home game against Roma too - they have not won two consecutive home matches against their Roman rivals since September 1964 and so will aim to finally do so this weekend.

Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca pictured on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Paulo Fonseca's Roma team have continued to impress at home and in Europe and sit level with Juventus in the Serie A table following Thursday's straightforward dismissal of 10-man Torino.

The Giallorossi boast the second-best attack of the season so far - together with AC Milan on 27 goals - though they have been far from watertight defensively, conceding 17 to date.

Key creative force Henrikh Mkhitaryan - who has seven goals and five assists so far - scored again at the Olimpico, with clinical penalty specialist Jordan Veretout also notching yet another goal from the spot. Former Borussia Dortmund virtuoso Mkhhitaryan claims it is "too early" to say whether his side could be Scudetto contenders, but that could well be the aim for the potential dark horse in the race.

Roma striker Edin Dzeko has been directly involved in six strikes - with five goals and one assist - in his last seven Serie A matches against Atalanta, including three goals in his two most recent visits to Bergamo.

Clearly, with such a potent strike force, Roma will set out to beat La Dea at their own intensely attacking game.

Therefore, the stage is set for an enthralling Sunday evening spectacle, which will be much anticipated by fans and neutrals alike.

Atalanta BC Serie A form: WDDLWD
Atalanta BC form (all competitions): WLDWWD

Roma Serie A form: WWLDWW
Roma form (all competitions): LWDLWW

Team News

Atalanta BC's Josip Ilicic celebrates scoring against Liverpool in the Champions League on November 25, 2020© Reuters

Gian Piero Gasperini will certainly be without Mattia Caldara, teenage full-back Matteo Ruggeri and Mario Pasalic, who has undergone hernia surgery and will not return until late next month.

Josip Ilicic may again miss out due to illness, while major question marks remain over the selection of influential skipper Papu Gomez behind Duvan Zapata. If he continues his penance ahead of a mooted January move to AC Milan, then Ruslan Malinovskyi and Matteo Pessina would start in support of the out-of-form Colombian striker.

Roma boss Paulo Fonseca's defensive injury list is finally receding - though Davide Santon remains unavailable. Therefore, the former Shakhtar Donetsk coach will have to choose between options such as Marash Kumbulla, ex-Atalanta man Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibanez - on loan from the Nerazzurri - to start along with Chris Smalling in the Roma back three.

Antonio Mirante is expected to replace under-performing Pau Lopez in the Giallorossi goal.

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

Roma possible starting lineup:
Mirante; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Veretout, Pellegrini, Spinazzola; Pedro, Mkhitaryan; Dzeko

SM words green background

We say: Atalanta BC 1-2 Roma

Two well-matched and consistently entertaining sides meet on Sunday, but only one is likely to make any sort of sustained challenge for Scudetto glory.

With their greater experience - including Pedro, Dzeko and Mkhitaryan - plus exciting options on the bench, Roma can take advantage of any lingering disharmony in the Atalanta camp by notching at least another couple of crucial goals in Lombardy.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 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 1.5:data

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