Unbeaten Atalanta will have their mettle tested in their clash with the Rossoneri.
Atalanta v AC Milan
Saturday, 16th February, 19:30
Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia
Atalanta go into this game on an eight game unbeaten run in all competitions. Within those eight games, the home side have came up against Juve twice and picked up a draw and a win against the Old Lady. As well as drew against Roma at home. Gian Piero Gasperini, Atalanta head coach, has masterminded an impressive run of games which has brought his side within touching distance of the two Milan clubs who hold a duopoly over 3rd and 4th spot. Although they can’t reach Internazionale with a win here, if they win they can leapfrog a floundering Milan side who have dropped several vital points in the league recently due to drawing two games in their last five matches.
Although Atalanta’s home form has been impressive, at home they seem to experience a dip in quality. In the last five home matches the Bergamo club have drew twice and won three scoring eleven goals which is an average of 2.20 goals per game. However away from home, Atalanta have won four in five matches and scored fifteen goals which is an average of 3.00 goals per game. Atalanta’s shortcomings are highlighted at home when you look at the amount of goals they concede. On average Atalanta have conceded 1.00 goals per game, with all five goals over the period being spread over two games. Atalanta have picked up three clean sheets in five away matches. At home, the home side have conceded six over three matches where they have conceded, as they picked up only two clean sheets in the period of five matches.
A key to Atalanta’s success in the league so far has been their ability to not let up their dominance in a match. The Bergamo side have been able to score in 74% of their first halves this season and score in 87% of second halves this season. On average, Atalanta score 1.30 goals in the first halves of games and 2.22 goals in the second half showing they rarely let their opponents back into a match.
In their last ten away matches in all competitions, Milan have won only twice. Picking up six draws and two losses in this period. Milan have remained buoyant in the top four of the league due to their efforts at the San Siro this season. If the league was only devised of away games, Milan would be sitting in mid table. Likewise if it was based around results picked up at home, Milan would be in third with only Juve and Napoli above them.
An issue for Milan away from home has been the side’s lack of goals, Milan have averaged 1.18 goals per away game this season in the league. Although they have limited their opposition to scoring only 0.82 goals per game, they have shown themselves to be unable to kill off matches, this has led to the side to draw so matches. Only 36% of Milan’s away games have ended with the Rossoneri picking up a clean sheet, and over half of their matches have ended with both teams scoring (55%).
Although Atalanta are virtually injury free going into this match, Gasperini should still tread with caution going into this match. Four of their players face suspensions if they pick up another yellow card. The four players walking a suspension tightrope are Hateboer, Gomez, Marten de Roon and Josip Illicic.
The away side are still without Jack Bonaventura who has been sidelined with a long term knee injury. They are also without defensive duo Cristian Zapata and Mattia Caldara who have been ruled out of recent matches with thigh and calf injuries respectively. Due to the lack of defensive reinforcements due to injury, Alessio Romagnoli must be careful. The Milan centre back is currently on four yellow cards, picking up another would mean he’d be suspended for their match with relegation side Chievo.
Atalanta have shown over their previous eight matches that they have been able to deal with the toughest teams that the league can throw at them. As a result of this, Atalanta are favourites to win this match, with the bookies giving them odds of evens to win the match. Milan are 11/4 to get the win on Saturday.
I feel that this will be a tight game, given that Milan have been able to reduced their home oppositions to under a goal in their away matches. The best way to add value to a home win would be to go for an Atalanta win and over 1.5 goals to be scored in the game. Bookies give you 7/5 for this bet.
The both teams to score market is a viable market to utilise in this game as more than half of Milan’s away games have ended this way, and Atalanta have only failed to score in 27% of their matches. For both teams to score in the match you can get odds of 6/10.
Another market to consider in this match is the half time/full time markets. AC Milan have averaged only 0.57 goals in the first halves of their matches, this would allow Atalanta to get a foothold in the match early on, and their stats of winning 87% of second halves would give credence to a bet like this, with Atalanta winning each half. For Atalanta to win the first half and second half you can get odds of 11/5.
Atalanta to win both halves (11/5)
Atalanta to win over 1.5 goals (7/5)
Both teams to score (6/10)