Atalanta vs SPAL
Gewiss Stadium, Bergamo
Monday, 20-01-2020 @10:45pm
Ref: Federico La Penna
Atalanta are climbing up the table after putting all their focus on Serie A during this period, but SPAL are rock bottom.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s men are determined to finish in the top four for the second year running, but the squad remains too thinly-spread. It means they crashed out of the Coppa Italia midweek to 10-man Fiorentina, having reached the Final last season, and are surging now that there are no Champions League commitments for the moment.
Their run of two consecutive 5-0 victories took them into an impressive 1-1 draw at San Siro against then-leaders Inter, although they could’ve won had Samir Handanovic not saved a late Luis Muriel penalty.
Hans Hateboer is suspended for this match, but Duvan Zapata should again be in the starting XI, as he tries to shake off the rust from three months on the treatment table. Papu Gomez and Josip Ilicic complete the trident attack, with Timothy Castagne stepping in for Hateboer.
SPAL, on the other hand, are propping up the table after one win and three draws in their last 12 Serie A games. The 2-1 victory away to Torino is looking more and more like a fluke occurrence, although in fairness they had held out for 82 minutes against Fiorentina until German Pezzella nodded in a corner.
Andrea Petagna returns to face his former club, having been rested for the midweek Coppa Italia 3-0 defeat to Milan, with Federico Di Francesco in support. Arkadiusz Reca is also a former Atalanta player, while Bryan Dabo boosts their midfield after his transfer from Fiorentina, but Nenad Tomovic, Mohamed Fares and Marco D’Alessandro are injured.
This is Atalanta’s best-ever start to a Serie A season with 35 points at the midway stage, on a par with the 2016-17 campaign, when they finished fourth.