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Milan logo
Serie A | Gameweek 26
Feb 25, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
Atalanta logo

AC Milan
1 - 1

Leao (3')
Pioli (40'), Leao (45+3')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Koopmeiners (42' pen.)
de Roon (44'), Holm (45+3'), Lookman (56'), Ederson (90+4')

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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between AC Milan and Atalanta BC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

After suffering back-to-back defeats, AC Milan face a tough test of their fading title credentials on Sunday evening, when in-form Atalanta BC arrive at San Siro.

Milan may lead their Lombardy rivals by seven points in the Serie A standings, but the visitors have just won five league games on the spin to start narrowing the gap.

Match preview

AC Milan's Rafael Leao celebrates scoring their first goal on November 7, 2023© Reuters

Despite going down 3-2 on the night, Milan finished the job of progressing past the Europa League playoffs on Thursday evening, having taken a three-goal lead to Rennes after cruising to victory in the first leg of their knockout tie.

As at San Siro, Rafael Leao was on the scoresheet in France, where Benjamin Bourigeaud's hat-trick consigned the Rossoneri to a second straight defeat; nonetheless, a 5-3 aggregate victory saw them progress to the last 16 of UEFA's second-tier competition, where Czech side Slavia Prague will await.

While Milan have already posted at least 52 points at this stage of a Serie A campaign for the third time in four seasons - as many as in the previous 16 - their faint Scudetto hopes took perhaps a fatal blow last weekend, when Stefano Pioli's much-changed team suffered a setback in nearby Monza.

Now enjoying his best form since moving to the club last summer, Luka Jovic blotted his record by being sent off for violent conduct in a helter-skelter 4-2 defeat, which saw the home side score twice in the closing stages to beat their regional rivals for the very first time.

Though still within two points of second-placed Juventus, the Rossoneri's oldest foes Inter Milan are a further nine points clear at the top, and having been eliminated from the Coppa Italia by Sunday's opponents, the Europa League is surely their last chance of claiming a trophy this season.

Not only are Milan aiming to keep their visitors at bay this weekend, maintaining or even improving their seven-point buffer in the process, but they will also wish to avoid losing both Serie A matches to Atalanta for the first time in 16 years.

Atalanta's Teun Koopmeiners celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on January 10, 2024© Reuters

Atalanta have won only three of their last nine league meetings with Milan, but the Bergamo side were 3-2 winners in December's reverse - when Ademola Lookman struck twice - while Teun Koopmeiners bagged a decisive brace in the clubs' recent Coppa Italia encounter, booking La Dea's place in the cup semi-finals.

That should provide a psychological edge for Gian Piero Gasperini's men, who secured a sixth successive victory last week, beating opponents battling for Serie A survival.

Having swept Sassuolo aside, with Koopmeiners among the scorers in a 3-0 win, Atalanta now face a crucial run of fixtures in the weeks ahead: after tackling Milan, they must meet Inter next Wednesday, while fellow top-four contenders Bologna will then visit at the start of March.

Over the past five matchdays, the Nerazzurri lead the way in terms of points (15), goals scored (17), plus goals conceded (two), and despite Lookman's prolonged absence they have still scored as many times as in the previous 11 league games.

Locked in a tussle to claim Serie A's fourth Champions League spot - albeit Italy could yet earn a fifth, should they join Milan and others in progressing to the latter stages of this term's European competitions - Atalanta are enjoying a real purple patch, but tougher tests lie ahead.

Friday's draw pitted Gasperini's side - who did not need to participate in the playoffs by virtue of topping their group - against Sporting CP in the Europa League's last 16, and the first leg of that tie will follow three major domestic tests.

AC Milan Serie A form:

AC Milan form (all competitions):

Atalanta BC Serie A form:

Atalanta BC form (all competitions):

Team News

AC Milan's Davide Calabria in action with Bologna's Riccardo Calafiori  on February 2, 2024© Reuters

After making six changes for last week's loss to Monza, Stefano Pioli should name a full-strength XI to take on Atalanta, despite the exertions of a midweek trip to Brittany.

Milan's head coach has been boosted by the returns of Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori and captain Davide Calabria to full training, and while the latter could even start on Sunday, the others have been absent for far longer and may just make the bench.

As Luka Jovic must serve a suspension for his costly dismissal last time out in the league, Olivier Giroud's place up front is entirely uncontested. The French forward has 12 Serie A strikes to his name this season and is just one short of matching his best total in Italy's top flight.

Meanwhile, Milan-owned Charles De Ketelaere has made a scintillating start to 2024, and the Belgian will aim to grow his tallies of six goals and six assists since arriving at Atalanta on loan.

Another of La Dea's attacking threats, Teun Koopmeiners, has scored seven of his nine goals away from home this term and could now reach double figures for the second consecutive campaign. Already this season, the Dutch midfielder has been directly involved in three from two games against Milan.

The visitors may also have Ademola Lookman back in their fearsome front line, following his journey to the Africa Nations Cup final with Nigeria, though he is still struggling with an ankle problem and could join injured defender Jose Luis Palomino on the sidelines.

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Calabria, Gabbia, Kjaer, Hernandez; Bennacer, Reijnders; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Carnesecchi; Scalvini, Djimsiti, Kolasinac; Holm, De Roon, Ederson, Ruggeri; Koopmeiners, Miranchuk; De Ketelaere

SM words green background

We say: AC Milan 2-2 Atalanta BC

Atalanta (10) and Milan (12) are the only two Serie A sides to have scored at least 10 goals via substitutes this season, so late inspiration could well come from the bench in a close-fought contest. The points may be split at the final whistle, which would maintain the Rossoneri's grip on third spot.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Tables header RHS
CInter Milan37296287206793
2AC Milan38229776492775
5Atalanta BCAtalanta362061067392866
13Hellas VeronaHellas Verona37910183649-1337

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