After making their campaign European debut in Luxembourg, Milan will face Atalanta in the fifth round of Serie A to try and bounce back from a disappointing result away to Cagliari last week.
The team has so far collected 4 points in Serie A this season from one loss, one draw and one last-gasp win at home against Roma. Gennaro Gattuso’s men will look to add another win against a currently under-performing Atalanta side led b Gian Piero Gasperini.
It is widely expected that coach Gattuso will insist on the same lineup fielded against both Cagliari and Roma, with one question mark in the defence.
Gianluigi Donnarumma will start in goal after being rested in the Europa League. Davide Calabria, Ricardo Rodriguez and Alessio Romagnoli are almost certain to play from the first minute, given that anything surprising does not happen before the match.
Milan’s new signing Mattia Caldara, who played the full 90 minutes against Dudelange, has not been called up to the game. Musacchio will, therefore, start once again alongside Romagnoli.
The midfield will consist of the usual trio, which was widely rested in Luxembourg, that is Franck Kessie, Lucas Biglia and Giacomo Bonaventura.
In the attack, there are also few doubts, with Gonzalo Higuain operating between the two creators of this Milan side – Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu.
Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura; Suso, Higuain, Calhanoglu.
Atalanta have not been at their best at the beginning of the season. Before Serie A even started, the Bergamo-based club was eliminated in the Europa League playoffs against Copenhagen. Meanwhile, in Serie A, Atalanta have lost their last two matches against Cagliari and SPAL and have collected four points from four matches with a win against Frosinone on matchday 1, as well as a draw at the Stadio Olimpico against Roma.
Gian Piero Gasperini is set to field his best team, with summer signings Duvan Zapata and Mario Pasalic also included in the lineup. For the Croatian it will be a special match, considering he played at the club in the 2016/17 season on loan from Chelsea.
Likely Atalanta XI (3-4-1-2): Gollini; Toloi, Palomino, Masiello; Castagne, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pasalic; Gomez, D. Zapata.
LAST TIME OUT
As previously mentioned, Milan’s last match was away in the Europa League against F91 Dudelange. Milan rested almost the entire team, but managed to return from Luxembourg with three points thanks to a goal scored by Gonzalo Higuain.
In Serie A, Milan only managed to get one point away against Cagliari, with Higuain once again scoring the equalizer in the second half of the game.
Meanwhile, Atalanta’s last match brought an unexpected result, with the Orobici losing at home against SPAL 0-2.
Atalanta are a very compact team in both phases of the game and will likely cause problems to this Milan team. Gennaro Gattuso will need Hakan Calhanoglu to step up on the pitch and help Gonzalo Higuain to find more scoring opportunities, with his exquisite passing, than in previous matches, when the Argentinian took advantage of the minimum offered to him.
On Atalanta’s side, the main point of reference and danger is as always Papu Gomez. The tiny Argentinian is very quick and usually moves all over the pitch causing great confusion for the opponent’s defence. Milan’s defenders will have to be very attentive and keep an eye on a player, who has often in the past decided matches on his own for his club.
Milan have not been exactly convincing in their last two matches and Atalanta are a tougher opposition than both Cagliari and Dudelange. But Milan are a very capable team at the San Siro and the home stadium and crowd elevate the players’ performances and gets the most out of them, which was seen against Roma. I expect a tough match and a narrow victory for the Rossoneri.
Milan vs. Atalanta: 2-1