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Match Preview: Milan v Atalanta

Serie A Week 37 – Sunday 15 May 2022 – San Siro | Preview by Tlalane PhahlaFollow her on Twitter


Milan are on the cusp of glory and need four points from their remaining two games to wrap up the title. The Serie A leaders will meet Atalanta on Sunday, very much in control of their own destiny, despite being seen as overachievers with a squad inferior to their main title rivals. The Rossoneri have hit the 80 point mark for the first time since 2011 and while they still have to work hard to ensure they’ve got the title in the bag, one thing is clear: the scudetto will remain in Milan, ending Juventus’ 9-year dominance.

Milan

Following their come back against Verona last weekend, the scudetto looks to be within touching distance for Milan while their closet rivals Inter take on relegation threatened Cagliari later this evening.  Should the Nerazzuri fail to win tonight, Milan could win the league with a game to spare. Rossoneri manager Stefano Pioli, speaking in a press conference ahead of this game, said playing in a full stadium (their last home game of the season) will help get them fired up and will give them more energy:

“In the past few days, the team have been calm and attentive. I’m certain that the players currently feel like I do right now: they’re focused and motivated, and we’ll board the bus to San Siro with positive energy. I hope it isn’t Zlatan’s last game at San Siro; he’s a champion in every respect, and I have immense respect for him. He has the intelligence and maturity to decide what is best going forward.”

Expected XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Hernandez; Tonali, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Kessie, Leao; Giroud

Match Facts

  • AC Milan have faced the fewest shots in Serie A in 2022 (154), while in this calendar year, only Liverpool (8) have conceded fewer goals than the Rossoneri (9) in the big five European leagues.
  • AC Milan’s Olivier Giroud (nine goals) could become the oldest player with at least 10 goals in his first Serie A season (35y, 227d the day of the game), overtaking Cristiano Ronaldo (33y, 299d).
  • AC Milan vs Atalanta is the most-played fixture after match day 36 in last 10 Serie A seasons (seven times), AC Milan have won three, Atalanta have won once and there’s been three draws.

 

Atalanta

Atalanta are outside European places for the moment and while Champions League football is impossible, they can still reach the Europa League, if they can beat Milan tonight. Roma’s 1-1 draw against Venezia on Saturday evening has left the door open, not only for the visitors but for Fiorentina as well. The Rossoneri have won the last two games against Atalanta, scoring five, but those games were away from home. Atalanta are undefeated in their last seven visits to San Siro against Milan, something Stefano Pioli touched on ahead of the game:

“I don’t think it’s about ending a cycle tomorrow (Sunday): it’s just a vital match that precedes another one. We mustn’t change our mentality of approaching games with our ideas and principles. I think they’ll do different things tomorrow. We don’t know who will play and how they will line up on the pitch. We are, however, aware of how they approach things tactically and the quality they possess.”

Expected XI (3-4-1-2): Musso; Djimsiti, Demiral, Palomino; Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Zappacosta; Koopmeiners; Muriel, Zapata

Match Facts

  • Atalanta have won 12 away Serie A games this term; their most ever in a single top-flight season, while only AC Milan have more this season (13). However, Atalanta have lost each of their last three away league games when facing a side starting the match day in the top half of the table (against Fiorentina, Roma and Sassuolo).
  • Atalanta have had 20 different scorers in Serie A this season, more than any other side; in Serie A history, only Fiorentina in 2014-15 have had more different players with at least one goal in a single season (21).
  • Atalanta’s Mario Pasalic has found the net in each of his last four appearances in the top-flight – no other Atalanta player, excluding strikers, has ever done better in the three points for a win era in Serie A (since 1994-95).

Injuries

Milan do not have serious injury concerns with Simon Kjaer the only one known to be out of the game with a knee injury. The visitors will be without two players still nursing long-term injuries; Bryan Cabezas and Giuseppe Pezzella.

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Serie A obsessive, lover of 90's Italian defenders, bourbon and wide open highways.