Atalanta will look to bounce back from the defeat they suffered to Serie A leaders Inter Milan last time out and inch into the top four when they host Spezia on Friday at 7.45pm (UK time).
A 1-0 reversal at the hands of Inter on Monday night was compounded by their top-four rivals, Juventus, Roma and Napoli all winning at the weekend. With just the single point currently separating Gian Piero Gasperini’s side from fourth, three points on Friday evening is non-negotiable for the hosts.
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Where to watch Atalanta vs Spezia on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Atalanta 3-0 Spezia
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Atalanta vs Spezia build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Gasperini has had the juggling act of European and domestic football to contend with since the turn of the year, but he has conducted his business with merit, recently reaching the Coppa Italia final, where they meet Juve in May, as well as keeping the scoreline to just 1-0 in their Champions League defeat to Real Madrid despite having 10 men (they play the second leg of their last-16 clash next week), and, remaining within touching distance of the top four in Serie A.
For Spezia the goalposts are aligned almost poles apart from Atalanta’s, with Vincenzo Italiano very much looking over his shoulder at those languishing in the bottom three, as just six points currently separates his side from 18th-placed Torino, though Il Toro, crucially, have two games in hand, meaning the visitors need to start putting points on the board, or risk getting dragged into a relegation slugfest as Spring beckons.
- Atalanta (vs Inter): Sportiello; Toloi, Romero, Djimsiti; Maehle, Freuler, De Roon, Gosens; Malinovskiy, Pessina, Zapata.
- Spezia (vs Benevento): Zoet; Ferrer, Ismajli, Terzi, Bastoni; Estevez, Ricci, Sena; Verde, Gyasi, Nzola.
Hans Hateboer and Bosko Sutalo remain the only major absentees for Gasperini, while Spezia will be without Rafael, Federico Mattiello, Riccardo Saponara and Ivan Provedel.
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Players to watch:
- Atalanta: Having missed the Sampdoria game and returned only for a cameo against Crotone, Duvan Zapata announced his full recovery in the defeat to Inter, starting up front against one of Europe’s most stubborn and watertight defences. Antonio Conte’s rearguard came up trumps on the night, keeping a clean sheet against an Atalanta side who know nothing more than to score goals by the bucketful. Zapata will be eager to get back to his goal-getting ways, having notched just two goals in his last nine Serie A games, an almost unheard of streak by the clinical Colombian’s standards. Should he breach the visitor’s net this Friday, then he will become only the second player to have scored against each of the 20 teams currently in Serie A, after Ciro Immobile.
- Spezia: Emmanuel Gyasi is one of only two players currently competing in their first ever Serie A campaign to have registered both four or more goals and four or more assists, alongside Achraf Hakimi of Inter Milan. The 27-year-old has been indispensable to Italiano this season and is currently the club’s chief creator, with a squad-high four assists, and the second-most prolific player, behind M’Bala Nzola, the latter of whom has notched an impressive nine goals. So, if Spezia are to walk away from Bergamo with something tangible to write home about then Gyasi’s talismanic exploits in the final third will be crucial to that end.
Serie A 2020/21 recent form:
- Atalanta: LWWWW
- Spezia: DLDLW
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