15th of February 2019 Author: Johnny Karp
Two European contenders clash at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia in Bergamo on Saturday as fifth-placed Atalanta are looking to leapfrog visitors AC Milan into fourth place. The reverse fixture, played in September, was a spectacular one and it ended 2-2 at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in Milan. Gonzalo Higuain and Giacomo Bonaventura scored in that match to put AC Milan ahead, but Atalanta fought back each time with goals from Alejandro Gomez and Emiliano Rigoni. That was the second consecutive draw between these two teams and the fifth in the last seven direct matches.
Atalanta are hoping to make history this season and qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history. They have made it into the Europa League in the last two editions but last season they got knocked out in the last 32 and this season they didn't even make the group stage. That might have helped their Serie A campaign, though, they are currently in fifth place and fourth-placed AC Milan are just one point ahead. Moreover, Atalanta have not lost a match since December, enjoying a streak of eight matches undefeated in all competitions. They have won six of those matches, including the last three. Head coach Gian Piero Gasperini doesn't have any injury concerns ahead of this important match.
AC Milan are hoping to return to the Champions League next season after a five-year wait. This season they did play in the Europa League, but they didn't really treat the competition with enough respect and failed to get past the group stage. Their focus is on the Serie A and they do seem capable of clinching that fourth place, especially after January signings Lucas Paqueta and Krzysztof Piatek have produced an instant impact. The Rossoneri are unbeaten in their last five matches in all competitions, including last weekend's comfortable 3-0 home victory over Cagliari.
Atalanta: Berisha - Toloi, Mancini, Palomino - Hateboer, Freuler, Roon, Castagne - Gomez, Ilicic - Zapata
AC Milan: Donnarumma - Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez - Paqueta, Bakayoko, Kessie - Suso, Piatek, Calhanoglu
My prediction: 1-1 draw, Atalanta have excelled mostly in away matches this season and AC Milan seem fairly strong at the moment.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Atalanta win - 2.00
Draw - 3.40
AC Milan win - 3.90
1st of March 2019
As the odds above showing as well Milan have been quite an underdog in this one but they've probably played one of their better games of the season and despite the home side territorial and even playing advantage manage to won that 3-1 which is an impressive result at one of the toughest stadiums to visit in Italy.
Milan look to be in a great position now not only to compete for a top 4 place now but even attacking the 3rd placed Inter spot.
I'm afraid it would be really tough for Atalanta to compete for any higher than 5th place at the end of the season.
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