MX23RW : Monday, June 21 20:16:41| >> :600:2513157:2513157:
Dec 23, 2020 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara
BolognaBologna
2-2
AtalantaAtalanta BC
Tomiyasu (73'), Paz (82')
Mihajlovic (77'), Palacio (84'), da Costa (86')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Muriel (22' pen., 23')
Gosens (18'), Djimsiti (60')

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

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

Atalanta BC conclude perhaps the most unforgettable year in the Bergamo club's long history at Bologna's Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on Wednesday.

The 14th-placed hosts welcome Gian Piero Gasperini's side having picked up just two points from their four most recent Serie A outings.


Match preview

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

Now seventh in the league, Atalanta closed to within three points of Roma in the final Champions League qualifying spot by virtue of an inspired comeback against the capital club on Sunday.

Overcoming an early deficit - and being indebted to goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini for a couple of important first-half saves - Atalanta fought back heroically at the Gewiss Stadium.

With last season's talisman Josip Ilicic returning from illness to step off the bench and inspire a remarkable haul of four goals in the final half-hour, Gasperini's side shocked the Giallorossi. Two assists and a wonderful solo goal underlined just what the Nerazzurri have been missing in the Slovenian star's recent absence, which came after a long spell out of action over the summer.

The creative input of Ilicic will be all the more essential for the remainder of the campaign, due to apparently irreparable strained relations between coach Gasperini and his captain Papu Gomez, who was not even included on the bench at the weekend.

The Argentinian playmaker's seven years in Bergamo have been integral to the side's progression up the football pyramid, but Gasperini has said that Atalanta "must evolve" and their influential skipper could soon be heading for nearby Milan.

In a spell in which La Dea have drawn at Juventus, beaten Liverpool at Anfield, defeated Ajax in Amsterdam and now turned over Roma, they are beginning to approach the level produced earlier in 2020 - a pandemic-scarred year in which the club have experienced the most extraordinary highs and lows.

Bologna manager Sinisa Mihajlovic pictured in July 2020© Reuters

Faltering Bologna decided to return home from an enforced training retreat ahead of their visit to Torino on Sunday.

Originally planned to run until December 23, the squad was placed into the camp after a horrendous 5-1 home defeat to Roma, in which all five goals were conceded before half time.

After a midweek comeback from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Spezia, coach Sinisa Mihajlovic announced that the club and players had decided to interrupt the punitive measures. However, a brief time at home with their families before the trip to Turin did not seem to offer much of a boost to a Bologna team that were held 1-1 by the Serie A strugglers.

Having failed to register a win since back-to-back victories over Sampdoria and Crotone at the end of November, Mihajlovic's side are certainly desperate to end the year on a high note.

When these two clubs last faced each other in July, Atalanta came out on top thanks to a second-half goal from former Sampdoria striker Luis Muriel, who scored again at the weekend.

With both Muriel and compatriot Duvan Zapata now seemingly fit and firing, the visitors will prove an even more challenging proposition for Bologna to overcome on Wednesday.

Bologna Serie A form: WWLLDD
Bologna form (all competitions): LWLLDD

Atalanta BC Serie A form: DDLWDW
Atalanta BC form (all competitions): LDWWDW


Team News

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

Following their weekend win, Gian Piero Gasperini declared himself pleased with the contributions of Ruslan Malinovskyi and Aleksey Miranchuk - the latter of whom was still isolating due to COVID-19 infection until early last week - so will pick at least one of the Eastern European duo in the continuing absence of captain Papu Gomez.

Atalanta are unable to call upon the services of injured Croatian midfielder Mario Pasalic or long-term absentee Mattia Caldara, but Josip Ilicic proved himself fit again on Sunday and - after scoring against Roma - Colombia's Luis Muriel could replace countryman Duvan Zapata up front.

Bologna boss Sinisa Mihajlovic is expected to continue with much of the lineup that drew away against Torino, given the many absences currently blighting his squad.

Full-backs Aaron Hickey (quarantine) and Ibrahima Mbaye - suffering with a thigh injury - are out of action, while Andreas Skov Olsen and Paraguay international striker Federico Santander also miss out.

There are also doubts over the availability of star winger Riccardo Orsolini, who was not involved in Turin due to a thigh strain, while goalkeepers Lukasz Skorupski and recent debutant Federico Ravaglia have been on the treatment table, so Brazilian stopper Angelo Da Costa - whose howler cost the Rossoblu the opening goal last week - will continue between the posts.

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Da Costa; De Silvestri, Danilo, Medel, Tomiyasu; Schouten, Svanberg; Vignato, Soriano, Barrow; Palacio

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


SM words green background

We say: Bologna 1-2 Atalanta BC

All the signs are that Atalanta - even without their excommunicated captain Papu Gomez - are getting back on track after a rollercoaster autumn term.

Goals should not be a problem for the visitors then, while drifting Bologna have lost form and focus of late and are too reliant on rejuvenated Azzurri midfielder Roberto Soriano for goals.


Top betting 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
1 38287389355491
2 38247774413379
3 38239690474378
4 38239677383978
5 38245986414577
6 38215126155668
7 381881268581062
8 381711106456862
9 38157165254-252
10 381112154648-245
11 381012164758-1142
12 381011175165-1441
13 38913164759-1240
14 381010184258-1640
15 38912175272-2039
16 38910194359-1637
17 38716155069-1937
18 38712194075-3533
19 3865274592-4723
20 38311243983-4420

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