MX23RW : Thursday, April 15 02:56:55| >> :120:33793:33793:
Feb 28, 2021 at 11.30am UK at Stadio Luigi Ferraris
AtalantaAtalanta BC

Ekdal (63')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Malinovskyi (40'), Gosens (70')
Freuler (10'), Toloi (47'), de Roon (81')

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

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

In the aftermath of a frustrating Champions League glamour tie in midweek, Atalanta BC visit Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Saturday, where a gloriously inconsistent Sampdoria side await.

The fifth-placed Orobici are seeking to secure European football again next season, while Claudio Ranieri's Samp sit comfortably in mid-table, despite their loss to Lazio last week.

Match preview

Real Madrid's Ferland Mendy celebrates scoring against Atalanta BC in the Champions League on February 24, 2021© Reuters

Still reeling from Ferland Mendy's heartbreaking late winner for Champions League last-16 opponents Real Madrid on Wednesday, Atalanta must now re-focus their energies on the race for a top-four place in Serie A.

In "the most important game" of much-admired coach Gian Piero Gasperini's long career, Atalanta went down to 10 men early on against the Spanish champions in controversial circumstances, before first-choice striker Duvan Zapata then limped off injured. Ultimately, a 1-0 deficit may not be irretrievable in the second leg against a fading Real outfit, but the feeling of injustice at Remo Freuler's sending-off could linger on.

Though they face unpredictable opponents on Sunday, Gasperini will expect his men - who are now level on points with Lazio and just behind Roma and Juventus in the table - to bounce back immediately.

Following a fine 4-2 win over fellow top-four contenders Napoli last time out 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. With the second-best attacking record in Serie A on 53 goals (only leaders Inter can boast more, with 57), Atalanta have had 15 different scorers in the top flight this season, more than any other side.

One of that number, red-hot striker Luis Muriel, has the best goals-per-minute ratio in Serie A this term, remarkably averaging a goal every 53 minutes played even though he often starts on the bench. Formerly featuring for the Nerazzurri's next opponents in a two-year spell from 2015, the Colombian has forced his way into the starting lineup of late and would enjoy nothing more than scoring the winner versus Samp on Sunday.

Sampdoria manager Claudio Ranieri pictured on January 30, 2021© Reuters

Though enjoying the stability of tenth place in the Serie A standings and with a four-point buffer over old foes Genoa, after a previous run of three wins in four matches, Sampdoria have since won only one of their last four games.

After a narrow defeat to Lazio last time out, head coach Claudio Ranieri acknowledged that the Blucerchiati were a little lacklustre, as Luis Alberto scored the only goal of the game after 24 minutes at Stadio Olimpico.

Veteran attacking threats Fabio Quagliarella and Antonio Candreva were blunted by a makeshift home defence, though Danish starlet Mikkel Damsgaard again made a positive cameo off the bench, as Samp fell to a second defeat in four.

Nonetheless, the Ligurian side have won three of their last four Serie A games on home turf ahead of high-flying Atalanta's visit and have managed to turn over Inter at the Marassi earlier this term.

Not only that, but in the first meeting with their Lombardian counterparts last October, Samp pulled off a surprising 3–1 win at the Gewiss Stadium, with Quagliarella making the scoresheet and even missing a penalty. A repeat result this time around could provide the perfect preparation for their much-anticipated Derby della Lanterna clash with vastly improved city rivals Genoa next week.

Notoriously unpredictable this season, it would be risky to rule out Ranieri's men on Sunday, as the well-travelled tactician also has the edge on Atalanta's Gasperini in the coaching head-to-head. Strikingly, Gasp has lost six of his nine Serie A meetings with Ranieri and has only ever overseen his side's success twice against the fondly-regarded Premier League winner.

Sampdoria Serie A form: WWLDWL

Atalanta BC Serie A form: DWLDWW
Atalanta BC form (all competitions): DDWWWL

Team News

Duvan Zapata in action for Atalanta on October 4, 2020© Reuters

Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata is expected to recover from the thigh strain that forced him off against Real Madrid in midweek, so is in contention to start, but Luis Muriel will deputise if any lingering doubts about his compatriot's fitness remain.

Gian Piero Gasperini will be without both Berat Djimsiti, who serves a suspension, and wing-back Hans Hateboer - still out of action due to a fractured foot. Therefore, Jose Luis Palomino is likely to come into central defence and either Joakim Maehle or Bosko Sutalo should feature on the right flank.

Midfielder Mario Pasalic and influential forward Josip Ilicic are expected to be given an opportunity from the start, as Gasperini rests one or two regulars.

Fortunately for the home side, only the suspended Adrien Silva is definitely unavailable this weekend, though back-up striker Ernesto Torregrossa has a minor calf problem.

In Silva's absence, Morten Thorsby and Albin Ekdal are set to be reunited in the Sampdoria engine room, while Antonio Candreva should retain his place on the right of midfield, with Jakub Jankto facing increasing competition from the impressive Mikkel Damsgaard on the left.

Keita Balde is favourite to lead the line, with Fabio Quagliarella again likely to partner him, though Gaston Ramirez could instead feature if Claudio Ranieri opts for a more cautious 4-4-1-1 setup against free-scoring opponents.

Sampdoria possible starting lineup:
Audero; Bereszynski, Yoshida, Colley, Augello; Candreva, Ekdal, Thorsby, Jankto; Keita, Quagliarella

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Gollini; Toloi, Romero, Palomino; Maehle, Pasalic, Freuler, Gosens; Pessina; Ilicic, Muriel

SM words green background

We say: Sampdoria 1-3 Atalanta BC

The vengeful visitors can reverse the result they surprisingly suffered in the previous meeting between these two clubs, using their sense of grievance about Champions League refereeing standards as fuel for their fire.

Though Sampdoria are capable of springing an upset every now and then, they could be over-powered by Atalanta's blistering attack if the boys from Bergamo click straight back into gear.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at 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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General view of West Ham United's London Stadium taken September 2018
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