Fresh out of holding the league leaders Inter Milan to a 0-0 draw, Atalanta travel on Saturday to face Lazio at 20:45 GMT.
Can Atalanta Retain their Top-Four Berth?
Atalanta are fourth on the Serie A table, which is a consolation, given they were expected to kick on and challenge for the Scudetto this season.
Their hold on the fourth spot is tenuous given they are a draw away from falling off the Champions League places. This puts more importance on the match against Lazio on Saturday for Gasperini’s side.
Can Lazio Regain Consistency to Challenge for the Top Four?
Maurizio Sarri’s men have stepped up their form in recent weeks, collecting 10 points out of the available 15, from the last five Serie A outings.
However, Lazio are still 7 points off fourth-placed Atalanta, who they face on Saturday, which presents the perfect opportunity to start chipping away at this gap with a victory.
Lazio’s challenge for a top-four berth has been a victim of their inconsistency. They are 7 points behind Atalanta in fourth and languishing 8th on the table.
In their last 5 rounds of Serie A outings, Sarri’s men have collected 10 points and dropped 5. They have won 3 matches while drawing and losing one each.
This run has been impressive, and Lazio need to keep it going against Atalanta to stand a chance of competing for a Champions League berth next season.
Atalanta have collected 8 points from their last 5 rounds of Serie A fixtures. This means that they have dropped 7 points, and thus they have lost ground to the top of the table, as Inter Milan have stretched their gap to 8 points.
Inconsistency has been Gasperini’s men’s challenge this season thus underlining their inability to challenge for the Scudetto.
However, Atalanta will settle for a top-four place this season, which means that they are still in the running. However, Juventus are just a point behind, albeit having played a match more, which means a loss against Lazio could see them move out of the top 4.
Maurizio Sarri will be without winger Pedro who is nursing a hamstring injury.
Other players missing from the Atalanta clash include midfielder Mattia Zaccagni (ankle), center-back Francesco Acerbi (hamstring), and Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro (coronavirus).
Midfielder Andre Anderson, center-backs Toma Basic, and Stefan Radu, will also be out of consideration on Saturday.
Robin Gosens (hamstring), Duvan Zapata (muscle injury), and Joakim Maehle (foot injury) will be missing from Gasperini’s squad to face Lazio on Saturday.
Rafael Toloi, Rusian Malinovskyi, and Josip Ilicic will also be doubts for the clash away at Lazio.
Possible Starting Lineups
Pepe Reina; M. Lazzari, L. Felipe, Patric, A. Marusic; S. Milinkovic-Savic, Lucas, L. Alberto; F. Anderson, V. Muriqi, M. Zaccagni
Musso; B. Djimsiti, M. Demiral, J. Palomino, G. Pezzella; T. Koopmeiners, M. de Roon, R. Freuler; M. Pessina, L. Moriel, M. Pasalic
Players to Watch
The creative midfielder has been crucial for Maurizio Sarri’s side this season; he has contributed 7 goals and 8 assists in 27 appearances this term.
Milinkovic-Savic’s aggressive style of playing is crucial for Sarri’s pressing and attacking approach. His forward runs and creativity have been crucial for releasing Lazio’s attacking players and creating dangerous situations during matches.
The attacking midfielder will be important for Lazio when they host high-flying Atalanta on Saturday.
The Croatian professional has been integral for Atalanta this season. His aggressive and offensive style of play is crucial for the football style that Gian Piero Gasperini’s side play in Serie A.
Pasalic has contributed 9 goals and 6 assists in 26 appearances for Atalanta, only second to Zapata in terms of influence for Atalanta. These statistics highlight his importance and impact on the team.
Pasalic will be crucial for Atalanta as they prepare for an awkward-looking against a good Lazio side that can be competitive any given day.
Lazio will start the game on the front foot, implementing Maurizio Sarri’s high-octane and front-foot football. Atalanta will also implement their pressing and high-energy style that has been so successful this season.
Moments to quality will be essential to deciding this match. Given the penchant for attacking football from both these teams, it will be an entertaining match for the neutrals.
Atalanta, on current form, have the confidence and quality to overcome Lazio in a close game away from home and come away with 3 points.
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