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

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

Leaders Inter Milan look to overcome one of the biggest remaining obstacles in their pursuit of the Scudetto, as they welcome near neighbours Atalanta BC to San Siro on Monday evening.

With many observers lining up to crown the Nerazzurri as potential title winners, the free-scoring Bergamaschi pose a serious threat to the hosts' nine-match unbeaten run, as the two top-scoring clubs in Calcio meet.


Match preview

Alexis Sanchez in action for Inter Milan on August 1, 2020© Reuters

Seven wins from their last eight league games - while conceding just two goals and racking up 19 themselves - have resulted in a six-point lead at the top of the table for in-form Inter ahead of a mouthwatering Monday night clash with Atalanta. They prepare for the game having won each of their last nine home fixtures in the top flight - the last time they put together a longer such streak was back in 2011, when they ultimately reached 13.

So, with a deep squad, no major injury concerns to manage and a lack of European commitments, the path could well be paved for coach Antonio Conte to be the first man to lead the club to the championship since revered club legend Jose Mourinho.

The champions-elect enjoyed another satisfactory outing last Thursday, as back-up striker Alexis Sanchez notched a first-ever brace in Inter colours, to seal a 2-1 victory away to Parma. Both goals were set up by fellow Manchester United alumni Romelu Lukaku - with his seventh and eighth assists of the season - who seamlessly combined with his new strike partner while regular foil Lautaro Martinez was offered a rare rest.

Inter's star strikers are seemingly taking it in turns to punish opponents of late - it was top scorer Lukaku who took centre-stage versus Genoa last week, with a goal after just 32 seconds, while Martinez had led the way in their previous success against old foes Milan. Now the injury-plagued Sanchez looks fit and firing on all cylinders too and could prove a valuable contributor during the run-in.

That fearsome forward line will be intent on improving Inter's record versus their local rivals in this week's Lombardy derby, though, with the Nerazzurri having won only one of their last six matches against Atalanta in Serie A. Nonetheless, Inter remain unbeaten in their six most recent encounters with La Dea on home soil.

Atalanta's Luis Muriel celebrates scoring their third goal against SPAL on August 25, 2019© Reuters

Following a thumping 5-1 success against whipping boys Crotone last week, the 49 points picked up by Atalanta after 25 games this season represent a record for the Bergamo side at this point of a top-flight campaign - surpassing even their recent high standards since Gian Piero Gasperini took charge.

Ahead of two major engagements in the next fortnight, first with Inter and then Real Madrid in the Champions League, La Dea comfortably took care of business against the relegation-haunted Calabrian minnows. Sixteen-goal top scorer Luis Muriel struck again and four others - including prolific wing-back Robin Gosens, with a ninth goal of the season - added a goal apiece.

Notorious for their unerring penalty-box prowess, Gasperini's men have now scored at least three goals on 12 separate occasions this term - a record equalled only by continental megaclubs Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich throughout the top five European leagues.

Not only that, but an ability to find match-winning contributions from all quarters has seen a remarkable 13 squad members registering both a minimum of one goal and an assist so far.

Furthermore, their defensive record has markedly improved over the past month too, as Atalanta have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three away games in Serie A.

So, following four straight wins, it is clear that the Bergamaschi will return to the hallowed grounds of Stadio Giuseppe Meazza - where they have fond memories of beating Milan by a three-goal margin earlier this year - in fearless form and determined to have a say in the destiny of the Scudetto.

Inter Milan Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Inter Milan form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

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

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


Team News

Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte pictured on February 14, 2021© Reuters

Once again, Inter head coach Antonio Conte has the luxury of a fully-fit squad to choose from, so should keep a settled side.

Unfortunately for Alexis Sanchez - the match-winner versus Parma - it is expected that Lautaro Martinez will return in attack, partnering the irrepressible Romelu Lukaku.

Only Arturo Vidal, who is eyeing Christian Eriksen's new-found place in midfield, and Ashley Young - an outside contender to replace dynamic wing-back Ivan Perisic - can realistically harbour hopes of forcing their way into the first XI.

Atalanta have few injury issues regarding key personnel too, though first-choice wing-back Hans Hateboer will remain out of action for some time yet, so Joakim Maehle continues to cover his absence.

Sparingly-used squad players Sam Lammers, Bosko Sutalo and Viktor Kovalenko are doubtful for Monday, but none would be expected to start in any case.

Speculation persists around whether Pierluigi Gollini will return in goal, after Marco Sportiello started the last two games, while Matteo Pessina, Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata all expect to come into the side, having been benched against Crotone. Midfield mainstay Marten de Roon returns from suspension too, so Mario Pasalic and Ruslan Malinovskyi could therefore be among the men to miss out.

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Eriksen, Perisic; Martinez, Lukaku

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


SM words green background

We say: Inter Milan 1-1 Atalanta BC

Few teams on the continent could stop this relentless Inter team at the moment - how they must wish they could have produced such performances in the Champions League - but their opponents on Monday are every bit as capable of finding the back of the net.

Atalanta have tightened up at the back recently, while still scoring at a prodigious rate, so they can again leave San Siro with a satisfactory result. Meanwhile, a share of the spoils for the home side should suffice to keep momentum flowing in the race to the Serie A finish line.


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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Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring against AC Milan in Serie A on February 21, 2021
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Todays Game Header Right
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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