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Preview: Roma vs. Atalanta BC

Sports Mole looks ahead to this weekend's Serie A match between Roma and Atalanta BC.

Roma will be hoping to strengthen their grip on a top-three finish when they welcome struggling Atalanta BC to the Stadio Olimpico this weekend.

They have struggled at home in recent months, but anything other than a victory against the visitors will put Rudi Garcia and his players under intense pressure.



Roma

AS Roma French coach Rudi Garcia gestures during their Italian Serie A football match against Sampdoria in Rome's Olympic stadium on February 16, 2014© Getty Images

The season has not worked out how Roma fans would have hoped after last year's impressive campaign in Serie A, where they finished second in the table and claimed a club record points tally.

They are currently third in the table this time around and are well on course to seal qualification for the Champions League once again, but a loss of form between January and March has derailed any hopes of a title challenge.

Garcia's side have only won three of their previous 13 league games and it has seen them overtaken by city rivals Lazio, who have put together a stunning eight-game winning run in that time.

Although they have lost just one game in Serie A since the turn of the year, they have drawn far too many fixtures and it is their inability to see teams off which has cost them time and time again.

The Giallorossi had headed into last weekend's match away to Torino with two wins under their belt, but once again they failed to kill their opponents off after taking the lead and they were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw.

It is not all doom and gloom for the club, as a win on Sunday could be enough to lift them back above Lazio if Stefano Pioli's side fail to beat Juventus in Turin during the previous evening.

Recent form in Serie A: DDLWWD
Recent form (all competitions): DLLWWD



Atalanta BC

Head coach of SS Lazio Edy Reja looks on during the Serie A match between AC Chievo Verona and SS Lazio at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on February 2, 2014© Getty Images

Roma may have suffered a dip in form over recent months, but it is nothing compared to how Atalanta have fallen down the table and the club from Bergamo are in very real danger of being relegated.

They have slipped to 17th in the table and before last weekend's clash against Sassuolo, they had gone eight games in Serie A without picking up a win.

The Nerazzurri finally ended that dreadful run by claiming a 2-1 victory that has lifted them seven points above the bottom three.

It was Edoardo Reja's first win as manager of the club since he took over from Stefano Colantuono at the start of March, and it has helped them to relieve some of the growing pressure that they were coming under.

Having picked up just six wins all season they are still nowhere near having enough points to be sure of safety, but many of their final games are against teams around them in the table and their match against Roma will be their last visit to one of the country's biggest clubs.

They don't have the worst defensive record in the league, but with only 26 goals scored there are just two teams who have found the net less often and it is certainly an area that Reja will be looking to improve in the summer if they survive.

Recent form: LDDDLW



Team News

AS Roma's midfielder Daniele De Rossi vies with Cagliari's midfielder Daniele Conti and Cagliari's Colombian forward Victor Ibarbo during the Italian Serie A football match on November 25, 2013© Getty Images

Roma will be without the suspended Daniele De Rossi, which means that Alessandro Florenzi should move back into the midfield.

Vasilis Torosidis is also ruled out with a ban, so Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is the most likely candidate to deputise.

Gervinho is still missing through injury, but captain Francesco Totti could return to the starting lineup after recovering from a tendon problem.

Meanwhile, Giuseppe Biava is suspended for Atalanta following his sending-off last weekend, while Mauricio Pinilla and Luca Cigarini are also banned.

Andrea Masiello is expected to come into the defence, with Gianpaolo Bellini returning to the midfield.

Roma possible starting lineup:
De Sanctis, Torosidis, Yanga-Mbiwa, Astori, Holebas, Pjanic, Florenzi, Nainggolan, Iturbe, Ljajic, Totti

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Sportiello, Masiello, Benalouane, Stendardo, Drame, Zappacosta, Baselli, Carmona, Gomez, Moralez, Denis



Head To Head

Roma fought back from conceding an early goal to claim a 2-1 victory over Atalanta when the teams met back in November.

It was Roma's 11th win in their last 14 meetings against the Nerazzurri and this has proven to be fixture that they have dominated over the years.

When these teams meet there are usually fireworks and there have been five red cards shown in their previous seven clashes.


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We say: Roma 2-0 Atalanta BC

Roma may still be struggling to find their very best form, but they should have more than enough quality to beat Atalanta this weekend. The visitors have won just one of their previous nine league games and although that came last weekend, we don't feel it will be enough to inspire a surprise result at the Stadio Olimpico as Garcia's side ease to victory.


Who will win Sunday's Serie A match between Roma and Atalanta?

Roma
Draw
Atalanta
Roma
83.0%
Draw
14.9%
Atalanta
2.1%
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Juan Iturbe of AS Roma celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the TIM Cup match between AS Roma and Empoli FC at Olimpico Stadium on January 20, 2015
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