Serie A: Roma pit wits against table toppers AC Milan, Atalanta and Lazio square off
After a busy round of midweek fixtures, there’s plenty to get our teeth into this weekend. We will preview two Serie A clashes, Atalanta v Lazio and Roma v AC Milan, and follow that up with the latest match odds.
Atalanta swat aside Sampdoria ahead of a busy week
Atalanta are in good shape going into a crucial run of fixtures. Although they threw away a two-goal lead against Manchester United in the Champions League last week, they turned in a good midweek display against Sampdoria, as they ran out 3-1 winners. Atalanta dominated the possession stats, stringing together nearly 600 passes.
Although there was an element of luck with their equalizer, Atalanta took the game away from Sampdoria with Duvan Zapata and Josip Ilicic both getting on the scoresheet. At the time of writing, Atalanta are sitting at fifth in the table. They are just a point behind fourth-placed Roma, meaning a top-four finish should be attainable once again.
Atalanta injuries continue to pile up
In the past few weeks, Atalanta’s injury problems have mounted. Merih Demiral and Rafael Toloi sat out the win over Sampdoria, and Gian Piero Gasperini is down to the bare bones of his squad. Robin Gosens, Matteo Pessina, and Hans Hateboer remain out, and no date has been earmarked for their return.
Lazio are on the right track after nicking win against Fiorentina
Lazio have set themselves lofty targets this season, and they grabbed a priceless three points against Fiorentina. Pedro popped up for just his second goal of the Serie A campaign, and while it has taken time to adjust to Maurizio Sarri’s methods, Lazio are trending in the right direction.
Ciro Immobile on the cusp of breaking Lazio record
Although he fired a blank against Fiorentina, Ciro Immobile will be hoping to ripple the net against Atalanta on Saturday. Immobile needs just one goal to overhaul Silvio Piola’s record tally of 158 goals for Lazio. Immobile has already rattled home eight goals in Serie A this season, and he can be unplayable at times.
Jose Mourinho helps Roma get over Bodo Glimt embarrassment
Last week, Jose Mourinho suffered one of the most humiliating defeats of his coaching career, as Roma crashed to a 6-1 defeat in the Europa League away to Bodo Glimt. Mourinho’s men were all at sea, and the Portuguese tactician paid the price for jettisoning four first-team regulars from the squad.
However, Roma have been much more impressive from a domestic perspective. Earlier this week, they came from behind to beat Cagliari 2-1. Ghanaian youngster Afena Gyan made his debut as he came off the bench to replace Matias Vina. He gave an excellent account of himself. But Mourinho was absent as he served a touchline ban after he was sent off against Napoli.
Meanwhile, AC Milan remain undefeated after 10 games. A 1-0 win over Torino thanks to a first-half strike from Olivier Giroud sent them to the top of the table. There appears to be a real togetherness to the Milan squad, and Giroud’s goals have transformed them into serious title contenders.
Roma v AC Milan: A tale of past encounters
There’s never usually a dull moment when Roma and Milan meet. The Rossoneri will relish a trip to the Italian capital, as, on their last visit, they came out 2-1 winners. On that day, Franck Kessie’s strike was cancelled out by Jordan Veretout before Ante Renic had the last laugh just before the hour mark.
It will be fascinating to see how Mourinho sets his side up, and they will have to be defensively resolute to keep out Milan, who have plenty of attacking weapons. And there was some good news for Milan earlier this week after Danish defender Simon Kjaer announced he has agreed to a contract extension that will keep him at the San Siro until 2024.
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