Milan will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing Coppa Italia loss to Juventus, as the Rossoneri will face Atalanta away from home on Sunday evening.
Gattuso’s men suffered a heavy defeat to Juventus, losing 4-0 in the Coppa Italia final. However, they will now have to set their sights on the league, as well as Europa League qualification. The San Siro side currently sit 6th in the league and will be looking to finish the season that way as well. With that said, it won’t be easy, as Atalanta and Fiorentina await.
In fact, Atalanta are unbeaten in their last five meetings with AC Milan in Serie A (2W 3D). However, the Bergamaschi have never gone six consecutive league games against the Rossoneri without a defeat.
Furthermore, Milan have found the net in each of their last nine away games against Atalanta in Serie A, losing only two of last eight league meetings against them on the road (4W 2D).
Gattuso will be looking to add some much-needed experience to the team, bringing back Biglia, Abate and most likely Kalinic. In defence, Bonucci and Romagnoli will pair up as usual, while Abate and Rodriguez should start on the flanks.
In the centre of the pitch, Biglia is set to replace youngster Locatelli, joining Kessie and Bonaventura in the midfield. The Argentinian will be very important for the Rossoneri in the upcoming two games.
Up front, Suso and Calhanoglu will start on the flanks, as usual, providing Milan with some much-needed creativity. Nikola Kalinic will most likely replace Cutrone as the number 9, despite his own-goal against Juventus.
Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): G. Donnarumma; Abate, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura; Suso, Kalinic, Calhanoglu.
Atalanta are currently enjoying a good run in the Serie A, being unbeaten in their last six Serie A games (3W 3D). In fact, the last time they played seven league matches without losing was back in May 2017.
The hosts will have to do without key players Spinazzola, Petagna and Cornelius as they’re all excluded from the squad. Gian Piero Gasperini is expected to field a 3-4-1-2 formation tomorrow, with Papu Gomez and Barrow up front.
Likely Atalanta XI (3-4-1-2): Berisha; Toloi, Caldara, Masiello; Castagne, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Cristante; Barrow, Gomez.
LAST TIME OUT
As mentioned above, Milan lost the Coppa Italia final against Juventus. However, the Rossoneri won their last league game, beating Hellas Verona by four goals to one at home. Surprisingly, Abate scored his first goal in over two years in that game.
Atalanta, on the other hand, managed to get a draw away to Lazio, which certainly is a sign of strength. Barrow gave the away side the lead after just two minutes, although Lazio equalised 22 minutes later.
For Milan, it will be Hakan Calhangolu, as so many times before this season. Under Gattuso, he’s really hit form, adding some much-needed creativity to the side. His presence takes some weight off of Suso’s shoulders, as he’s capable of stepping up once the Spaniard doesn’t. In his last two games, he’s been decisive for the Rossoneri, scoring the opening goals.
For the home side, Milan will have to put an extra eye on Papu Gomez, who’s always a danger man. His speed on the ball could prove lethal for the hosts, while his awareness could lead to several chances for his team-mates. The Argentinian winger has scored nine goals and contributed to 13 so far this season.
Given Milan’s history with Atalanta, it certainly won’t be easy. With that said, I believe the Rossoneri will get away with a draw. Hopefully, we can see a reaction to the horrible second-half display against Juventus. In terms of Milan qualifying for the Europa League, a draw should be considered a good result.
Calhanoglu will be decisive for Milan, once again, although it might not be enough to claim all three points.
Atalanta vs. AC Milan: 1-1