Match Preview: Milan-Atalanta 23-01-21

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

So far, the first half of the Serie A has been almost perfect for Milan, with 13 victories, 4 draws and one loss; but to maintain the first place on the table, and to keep dreaming, the Diavolo now have to face Atalanta, a team that has caused many troubles in the recent past.

Milan have only won one of the last 10 Serie A games against Atalanta (6 losses and 3 draws). Indeed, the last victory over the Bergamaschi happened in January 2014, when Kakà scored a double and Cristante scored his first Serie A goal, for a great 3-0 win. In the next home matches the rossoneri recorded 4 draws and 2 losses.

Milan is only one win away to equal the club’s record of more victories in the first half of the Serie A, 14, set in 1950/51, when the team won the Scudetto.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is only two goals away from reaching the milestone of 500 career goals. He scored 156 goals with PSG and so far 80 with Milan.

Stefano Pioli won 6 of the 14 games against Gasperini as coach (4 losses and 4 draws) and, with one more success, the Atalanta coach will be the one he has beaten the most in his career.

After some difficult weeks, in which the team lost many players, Pioli can now count on an almost full squad. Despite the absence of Romagnoli and Saelemaekers (both suspended), Gabbia (he will be back in a couple of weeks), Bennacer (probably ready for the next game vs Bologna) and Calhanoglu (Coronavirus), the newcomers Mandzukic and Tomori will be part of the match starting from the bench. Added to this, Rebic and Krunic finally tested negative and they will be on the bench as well, while Hernandez tested “false positive” and he will start on the left. The team that defeated Cagliari is therefore confirmed, with Hauge substituted by Leao, that comes back from the suspension. Latest news tell Pioli is thinking to start with Meite in Calhanoglu’s spot, but probably Diaz will be the chosen one.

On the other side, Gasperini cannot count on Piccini and the former rossonero Mario Pasalic, who are not called up for the game together with El Papu Gomez; the Argentinian is probably gonna leave the Dea after arguing with Gasperini, with Seville as likely destination. Ilicic, who took part to six goals in the last five games against Milan (3 goals and 3 assists) will support Zapata, with Muriel, the best 12th man in the whole Serie A, ready to take over.

Milan lineup (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma; Calabria, Kalulu, Kjaer, Hernandez; Tonali, Kessié; Castillejo, Brahim Diaz, Leao; Ibrahimovic. Coach: Pioli

Atalanta lineup (3-5-2): Gollini; Toloi, Romero, Djimsiti; Hateboer, de Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pessina; Ilicic, D. Zapata. Coach: Gasperini

Referee: Mariani