Italian Serie A - Match Prediction: Fiorentina VS Atalanta

Match Time:4/12/2021 02:45 Monday  (GMT+8)

Italian Serie A --  Fiorentina   VS   Atalanta

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As the race for a top four place intensifies, Atalanta BC come into their latest assignment - away to mid-table Fiorentina on Sunday evening - on a run of six wins from their last seven league games.


Despite their strong form, La Dea are still just two points clear of fifth-placed Napoli in the standings, so will be seeking victory in Florence, with their hosts having recently picked up just five points from a possible 15.


Match preview

With their Colombian contingent once again to the fore, in-form Atalanta converted dominance into a deceptively close 3-2 home win over Udinese last time out, as Gian Piero Gasperini's side took another step closer to securing a third consecutive Champions League qualification.


Irrepressible top scorer Luis Muriel bagged a brace for the home side before Duvan Zapata's decisive goal, but the visitors gave the Nerazzurri an uncomfortable finish after reducing their deficit to a single goal in the 71st minute.


Putting their anti-climactic departure from Europe aside, the past few months have proved particularly productive for Atalanta, as since the start of February only leaders Inter have picked up more points than their 22 in Serie A.


Furthermore, Gasperini's free-scoring unit have also scored the most goals in Italy this season (level on 68 with Inter) and in 2021 only Manchester City have netted more than Atalanta throughout the top five European leagues. Undoubtedly, they will be expecting to improve that tally still further when they face a flaky Fiorentina side on Sunday.


Having won their last two league matches against the Tuscan outfit - only in 1942 have they won three successive games against them in the top flight - Atalanta will be keen to capitalise, ahead of back-to-back matches with Juventus and Roma.


After a 3-0 win in the reverse fixture, the Orobici could win both league games against Fiorentina for the first time since 1993, and as former Viola striker Muriel (currently on 18) would set a personal goals record for a single Serie A campaign if he adds at least one more upon his return to the Franchi, he will need no more motivation.


After they lost 3-0 to Milan in their last home fixture before the international break, Fiorentina returned to action with a 1-1 draw at Genoa last weekend, keeping them eight points clear of the relegation zone in 14th place.


Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic recorded his 13th goal of a breakthrough campaign to equalise the home side's opening strike, but returning coach Beppe Iachini's comeback offered little else in terms of entertainment. As veteran forward Franck Ribery was sent off for wildly hacking at an opponent though, the Viola were ultimately relieved to take a rare away point.


Their form in Florence has been responsible for keeping them afloat thus far, as five of their seven wins this season have come amid the familiar surrounds of Stadio Artemio Franchi.


However, ahead of high-flying Atalanta's visit, only basement club Crotone have picked up fewer points in total than Fiorentina's five against sides currently in the top half of the table.


Formerly in charge from December 2019 until last November, when he was dismissed with the club stumbling towards the trapdoor, Iachini has been entrusted with the job of steering the Viola to safety following Cesare Prandelli's unexpected departure. Still to face six of the top seven in their final nine games, it may be no straightforward task for the cap-clad coach.


Fiorentina Serie A form: LLDWLD


Atalanta BC Serie A form: WWLWWW

Atalanta BC form (all competitions): WLWLW


Team News

Atalanta have most of their key men fit and firing for the run-in, but midfielder Matteo Pessina tested positive for COVID-19 during the week - the eighth Italy international to have contracted the virus while on duty with the Azzurri.


Top scorer Luis Muriel is also struggling with a back problem but should still be included from the start, though wing-back Hans Hateboer remains out of action as he continues to rehabilitate after foot surgery.


Gian Piero Gasperini will most likely include either Mario Pasalic or Ruslan Malinovskyi in place of the self-isolating Pessina, while Joakim Maehle is set to come back in on the right flank. If Muriel proves unable to join compatriot Duvan Zapata in attack, then Josip Ilicic would be handed a start.


Fiorentina's Franck Ribery and Erick Pulgar are both suspended this week, though defender Kevin Malcuit is now likely to be available after missing out last time due to a muscle injury. January signing Aleksandr Kokorin and Brazilian defender Igor are both out with thigh strains.


Midfielder Sofyan Amrabat recovered from a back injury to make the bench in Genoa, so should now take a place in the central three to cover for Pulgar.


Up front, Christian Kouame - who has made 18 substitute appearances so far this season, more than any other Fiorentina player - is in contention to start alongside Dusan Vlahovic, given Ribery's absence, though former Nice forward Valentin Eysseric is another option for boss Beppe Iachini.


Fiorentina possible starting lineup:

Dragowski; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Martinez Quarta; Caceres, Castrovilli, Amrabat, Bonaventura, Biraghi; Eysseric, Vlahovic


Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:

Gollini; Toloi, Romero, Djimsiti; Maehle, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pasalic; Muriel, Zapata


Fiorentina VS Atalanta BC

Fiorentina 1-2 Atalanta BC

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