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Apr 3, 2021 at 2pm UK
AtalantaAtalanta BC
Muriel (19', 43'), Zapata (61')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Pereyra (45'), Stryger Larsen (71')
Pereyra (58'), Samir (90')

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

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

Atalanta BC hope to pick up where they left off in Serie A, as they host mid-table Udinese at the Gewiss Stadium on Saturday.

While La Dea went into the international break on a run of five wins from their last six league games to stay in the race for a top four place, their visitors this week had gone unbeaten in five before finally losing to Lazio.

Match preview

Atalanta's tactical maestro Gian Piero Gasperini will expect his men to return from their various international engagements across the continent and seamlessly continue their march towards an unprecedented third top-four finish this weekend.

Currently level on points with reigning champions Juventus - who still have a game in hand - they face a potential banana skin against a streaky Udinese outfit.

Their deflating exit from Europe aside, so far 2021 has largely proved a positive experience for the Orobici. Since the start of February, only leaders Inter have picked up more points than Atalanta's 19 in Serie A, following the Bergamo side's 2-0 success at Verona before the break.

Furthermore, Gasperini's free-spirited charges have also scored the joint-most goals this season (65, level with Inter) and will certainly be seeking to improve that tally versus one of their favourite opponents of recent times.

Atalanta have won five of their last six matches against this week's visitors - scoring 18 goals in the process, at an average of three per game.

Top goalscorer Luis Muriel - still very much in contention for the Capoconniere crown this term - has scored seven goals against his former club in Serie A, including his only hat-trick in the Italian top flight, in a crushing 7-1 victory early last season.

Few would bet against the Colombian penalty-box poacher racking up one or two more this time out, as he chases both individual and collective glory in the coming months.

While Udinese were a little unfortunate to be held scoreless against Lazio last time they took the field in the league - in a frustrating 1-0 defeat to the capital club - they can look forward to the final stretch of league action with ambitions of a top-half finish, rather than worrying about a potential relegation dogfight.

The Bianconeri may have one of the weakest offensive records in the league - only lowly pair Parma (26) and Benevento (28) have scored less than their 30 goals to date - but have been able to grind out a series of results thanks to some impressive organisation and application.

In their five most recent games, Luca Gotti's men have conceded a mere two goals and in their last eleven matches they have been beaten only twice.

As has regularly been the case in recent years, the jewel in their crown has been in-demand skipper Rodrigo de Paul, who has completed the most dribbles (92) in Serie A this season.

Once again, the Argentinian playmaker will be integral to the Zebrette's hopes of picking up something from a challenging contest this weekend and extending their current unbeaten run on the road to a total of four.

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

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

Udinese Serie A form:
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

Long-term injury victim Hans Hateboer should be the only major cog missing from Atalanta's well-oiled machine upon their return to action, with goalscoring wing-back Robin Gosens and January signing Joakim Maehle likely to start on the flanks in his continued absence.

Following his Italy debut in midweek, Rafael Toloi should helm the back three, ahead of goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini - favourite to start over recent number one Marco Sportiello.

Colombian forwards Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel had the opportunity to train in Bergamo during the international period, as the South American qualifiers were postponed, so should be in prime condition to resume their respective roles as starting striker and second-half supersub.

Visitors Udinese are again set to be without Mato Jajalo, Ignacio Pussetto and Gerard Deulofeu, who all remain injured.

Despite their lack of potency in the final third, coach Luca Gotti is likely to persist with an attacking partnership featuring Roberto Pereyra playing just off veteran target man Fernando Llorente.

Offensive options on the bench include former Italy striker Stefano Okaka and Ilija Nestorovski, who was ejected from the North Macedonia camp after a controversial goal celebration against Liechtenstein and did not feature in his nation's historic defeat of Germany.

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

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Musso; Becao, Nuytinck, Bonifazi; Molina, De Paul, Arslan, Walace, Larsen; Pereyra; Llorente

We say: Atalanta BC 2-0 Udinese

The hosts' free-scoring ways are unlikely to be halted by a mere fortnight's hiatus, as they can get straight back into the groove with a win against Udinese.

As the visitors have little left to play for, it will be the Champions League-chasing Bergamaschi who are most hungry for the three points, with all of their attacking weapons available and in fine form.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data

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