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Jan 23, 2021 at 5pm UK
AC MilanAC Milan
0-3
AtalantaAtalanta BC

Hernandez (38'), Kessie (51')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Romero (26'), Ilicic (53' pen.), Zapata (77')
Gosens (84')
/esi/1339/6_G_1_125140/index.html?art_id=431327&game_id=125140&sport_id=1&ESI

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

:Headline: Preview: AC Milan vs. Atalanta BC - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between AC Milan and Atalanta BC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

League leaders AC Milan await the visit of near neighbours Atalanta BC on Saturday, with the opportunity arising for the Rossoneri to declare themselves 'winter champions' at Serie A's halfway stage.

This tantalising Lombardy derby pits Stefano Pioli's record-breaking outfit against an away side whose sparkling form has tailed off in the past week - with just two points and one goal from a pair of league fixtures.


Match preview

One man dominated the headlines following Milan's most recent Serie A success on Monday - returning talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

'Ibra' is now just two goals away from reaching 500 goals in club football after the Swedish superstar's brace secured a 2-0 win in Cagliari. It was just the latest in a long line of game-winning interventions since his return to Italy last year and keeps the Rossoneri three points ahead of city rivals Inter Milan at the top of the table.

In their last six league outings, Stefano Pioli's team have racked up five wins and just one defeat, to Juventus - who they now lead by a significant ten-point margin.

Particularly telling - in terms of fortitude and depth of talent - has been that Milan have been heavily burdened by illness and injury during that spell, with star performers almost seamlessly replaced in Pioli's well-oiled winning machine.

Milan's accumulated total of 13 victories so far now leaves them requiring a win over Atalanta to equal their highest tally in the first half of a 20-team Serie A season - a record which was set back in 1950-51.

Apparently on the cusp of agreeing a deal for Chelsea centre-back Fikayo Tomori to bolster their shallow defensive options, the 18-time national champions are laser-focused on bringing Juve's dominance to end this term, but face one of their toughest assignments so far at San Siro this week.

After a prolific stretch since mid-December, when Atalanta were averaging around three goals per game, Gian Piero Gasperini's side have hit a glitch in their past two outings, against Serie A strugglers Genoa and Udinese.

Nonetheless, level on points with Juventus and just one behind both Roma and Napoli, it is undoubted that La Dea are re-established as a team to fear.

Without a single defeat in 12 matches in all competitions, they make the short trip to Milan expecting to derail their more illustrious local rivals - even more so with recent precedent in their favour.

Milan have only managed to beat Atalanta once in their last 10 top-flight meetings and the Bergamo-based outfit remain undefeated in their last six away league games versus the Rossoneri.

However, profligacy such as shown in their two run-outs during the past week must be filtered out if they are to spoil the hosts' planned confirmation as Italy's 'Campioni d'Inverno' on Saturday - the return of Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata to the first XI would be a good place for Gasperini to start.

AC Milan Serie A form: WWWLWW
AC Milan form (all competitions): WWLWDW

Atalanta BC Serie A form: DWWWDD
Atalanta BC form (all competitions): WWWWDD


Team News

Playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu is among those who are set to be absent for Milan on Saturday evening, having tested positive for COVID-19, though Rade Krunic and Ante Rebic both return from quarantine to contend for a place in the squad and marauding left-back Theo Hernandez's previous positive test has since been declared a 'false positive'.

Stefano Pioli's other absentees are suspended pair Alexis Saelemaekers and Alessio Romagnoli, plus Ismael Bennacer (thigh injury), so Pierre Kalulu and Sandro Tonali will continue to deputise.

New signings Mario Mandzukic and Soualiho Meite are set for spots on the Rossoneri bench, as Iberian trio Samu Castillejo, Brahim Diaz and Rafael Leao are most likely to start in support of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The visitors have an almost fully fit squad to choose from, with only midfielder Mario Pasalic missing through injury. Therefore, Josip Ilicic, Matteo Pessina and Duvan Zapata are expected to return to the attack after being rested in midweek.

Despite scoring yet again on Wednesday, Luis Muriel will return to the bench - from where he often makes a serious second-half impact.

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Kalulu, Hernandez; Kessie, Tonali; Castillejo, Diaz, Leao; Ibrahimovic

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


We say: AC Milan 2-2 Atalanta BC

Both of these enterprising sides generally score for fun and should serve up a delight for neutrals and fans alike, as Atalanta are willing to go toe-to-toe with their bigger and bolder Lombardy neighbours.

A plethora of attacking talent at both coaches' disposal must surely create a fitting spectacle to draw the first half of the season to a belated close.


Top betting 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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Serie A Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter Milan23165257243353
2AC Milan23154445281749
3Juventus23137345202546
4Roma23135547351244
5Atalanta BCAtalanta23127453312243
6Lazio2413473832643
7Napoli22131847252240
8SassuoloSassuolo239863734335
9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona249873127435
10Sampdoria2393113334-130
11Bologna2477103237-528
12Genoa236892633-726
13Fiorentina2367102535-1025
14SpeziaSpezia2467113243-1125
15BeneventoBenevento2367102542-1725
16Udinese2367102533-825
17Torino2331193341-820
18CagliariCagliari2336142441-1715
19Parma2429131947-2815
20Crotone2333172355-3212
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Ligue 1 Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Lille26177246163058
2Paris Saint-GermainPSG27183661174457
3Lyon26167354243055
4MonacoMonaco27174656371955
5Metz2711883326741
6Lens2711793837140
7Montpellier HSCMontpellier27116104346-339
8Marseille2510873329438
9Rennes2610883330338
10Angers27115113241-938
11Bordeaux2796122833-533
12Nice2795133339-632
13Reims27710103234-231
14Brest2794143949-1031
15Saint-EtienneSt Etienne27710102738-1131
16StrasbourgStrasbourg2685133440-629
17Nimes2774162652-2625
18NantesNantes27412112742-1524
19Lorient2766153251-1924
20Dijon2729161844-2615
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