Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso will have to lift his players quickly after a 4-0 defeat to Juventus in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday evening, as they make the short trip to Bergamo to face Atalanta on Sunday evening. While the scoreline did not reflect a solid first half performance from the Rossoneri, the tears of disappointment from many of his players as the opposition lifted the trophy will have to be soon forgotten.
The Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia lies just 42 miles away from San Siro, but Milan must not underestimate their Lombardy neighbours. Last season saw the first time ever in which the highest finishing team from the region was not either of the Milan giants as La Dea secured an incredible fourth-placed finish.
Despite having sold several of their key young players last summer following that success, they carried forward the same hard-working and fearless approach in 2017/18. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men currently sit just one point behind the Rossoneri in seventh place as they hope to reach the Europa League once again, but can they pull off the win on Sunday and reach that goal?
Unbeaten in their last six matches, Atalanta have also only lost once in their last six match-ups with Milan, winning the reverse fixture 2-0 back in December at San Siro. Gattuso must be careful here as their their opponents will look to exploit any remaining malaise from the cup final defeat. The home side have recovered the ball more than any other team in Serie A this term, racking up a total of 2527 up until May 1st.
That said, with so much at stake and another match against Europa League rivals Fiorentina still to play, Milan won’t go down without a fight. Due to the two teams being so evenly matched, Karamba are offering a relatively modest 20/23 on an Atalanta win, however the same site is offering a far more lucrative 6/1 on Atalanta to win after coming from behind.
Even though Atalanta look more likely to secure a win, Milan look likely to breach their opponent’s defence at least once, especially given the significance of the encounter. The Rossoneri have scored in each of their last nine domestic away games versus La Dea, and it seems unwise to bet against them doing so again.
888sport offer odds of 2.33 for the away team to score in the first half, a bet to consider given Milan’s previous scoring record at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia. In a style that mirrors the gutsy attitude of their Coach, Milan have a tendency to play aggressively from the outset and tend to find the net early.
Indeed, statistics reveal that Gattuso’s men have scored ten goals in the first 15 minutes of play this term, more than any other side in Serie A. Therefore, it’s certainly worth your while looking at 888Sport for their offer of 3.15 on either side to score in the opening quarter of an hour in this match. The same site also offers 3.85 on a win for the home team and both teams to score, another bet worth making considering the form guide on this occasion.
Atalanta winger Josip Ilicic has been involved in 18 of Atalanta’s 56 league goals this term, scoring 11 and providing seven assists. This equals the Slovenian’s best-ever Serie A tally since arriving on the peninsula with Palermo in 2010. With two matches still to play, Ilicic looks likely to eclipse that milestone, and seems to enjoy scoring versus Sunday’s opponent.
The 30-year-old has scored three times versus the Rossoneri, including having netted in the reverse fixture back in December. Unibet have Ilicic at 13/2 to score first or last and 21/10 to score anytime in the match, a bet that is certainly well worth your time.
The curse of the ex may also come into play here as former Atalanta man Giacomo Bonaventura scored his first ever brace versus his old team in May 2015 and has a tally of seven this term. It’s worth a look at Bet365, who have the Italian international at 12/1 to score either in the first or second half, and 4/1 to find the net anytime.
Atalanta (3-4-3): Berisha; Toloi, Caldara, Masiello; Castagne, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Ilicic, Barrow, Gomez.
Milan (4-3-3): G. Donnarumma; Abate, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Locatelli, Bonaventura; Suso, Cutrone, Calhanoglu.