Roma vs Atalanta Prediction, Preview, Lineups & Betting Tips
The Giallorossi have dropped the momentum gained earlier this season and they have a chance to restore part of the lost confidence when the “Stadio Olimpico” in Italian capital is set to stage the Serie A clash between Roma and Atalanta on Saturday night, 6 December 2018. “La Dea” head to Rome after an extremely successful Coppa Italia midweek commitment and Gian Piero Gasperini’s side will be keen to achieve another positive result before an upcoming two-week break in Italian football.
Roma, on the other hand, hopes to accomplish first back-to-back wins over Atalanta since 2014. Their previous fixture was in the opening Serie A round (20 August 2017) when Eusebio Di Francesco has marked his Roma debut with a narrow victory in Bergamo – Aleksandar Kolarov scored the only goal (free kick) at the “Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia”.
Serie A: Roma vs Atalanta 06.01.2018
Roma won just once in the last five games in both domestic competitions which cost them not only an increasement in the gap to the Serie A leaders Napoli, but a Coppa Italia elimination as well. Eusebio Di Francesco’s men have been eliminated in the quarter-finals after a surprising (or not so?) 1-2 home loss to Torino. It has been followed by another disappointing result and a 0-1 defeat by the other Turin rival Juventus, on the road, right before Christmas. That poor run continued last weekend when they were held to a draw with Sassuolo at home. The 1-1 draw meant that the Giallorossi had won two of their last six Serie A games only and are now nine points behind Napoli, although they have one game more in hand – a postponed match vs Sampdoria.
Atalanta’s away form has been an issue for The Nerazzurri, as four of the six Serie A defeats they have suffered so far have been on the road. Nevertheless, Atalanta shows improvement in the past few weeks and Gian Piero Gasperini can feel pleased with some of the latest results, including a 2-1 win over Napoli at the inhospitable “Stadio San Paolo” on Tuesday. Thus Atalanta proceeds to the Coppa Italia 1/2 finals where they are set for a two-legged matchup with “The Old Lady”. Moreover, their away form has been boosted with 7 points won out of 9 possible in December, after two wins over Genoa and Milan (both 2-1), as well as a draw vs Torino.
Their improvement is even more obvious if we include a massive 5-1 success at the “Goodison Park” against Everton in the Europa League, where Atalanta also have an upcoming knockout tie against a tricky opposition in Borussia Dortmund’s face.
Bear in mind that all these five away matches without losing have been preceded by four 1-1 draws and four losses in 8 visits early this season.
Team News and Missing Players
Besides a frustration of not winning again, Roma’s boss had to swallow a forced substitution of his key defender Kostas Manolas who left the pitch and has been replaced by Juan Jesus on half-time. Thankfully latest reports suggest that the right knee trauma of Manolas was not something serious and Greek centre-back should be in contention ahead game week 20.
At the end of last weekend’s encounter with Sassuolo, captain Daniele De Rossi experienced a calf-related discomfort but as much as we know his gladiator spirit, De Rossi will easily overcome everything that’s not serious.
In case that Di Francesco doesn’t want to rush his injured players, even if they’re minor ones, he may start with a centre-back duo Juan Jesus/Fede Fazio and with Kevin Strootman in midfield. Another potential rotation is within the attacking trio where Patrik Schick may lose his starting position and Stephan El Shaarawy should start on the wing at his expense. Diego Perotti and Edin Dzeko, despite his goal drought, both seem to be with no adequate alternatives right now.
In the meantime Rick Karsdorp (cruciate ligament rupture) and Gregoire Defrel (knee) are both recovering from injuries.
Matchday Update: Eusebio Di Francesco announced midfielder Radja Nainggolan won’t be in the Roma squad for Atalanta, after drinking, smoking and posting photos of his unprofessional behaviour on the New Year’s Eve. Perhaps that’s the reason why odds on Roma are increasing but we still believe they have enough quality to scoop the whole set of points. Kevin Strootman should start in the midfield trio with Lorenzo Pellegrini and Daniele De Rossi.
Like we have mentioned Atalanta had a busy midweek journey to Naples and their effort has achieved the desired result. Now Gian Piero Gasperini is expected to make a few changes in the starting lineup as the experienced Italian coach will probably refresh both flanks where Timothy Castagne and Robin Gosens have both operated against Napoli. Hans Hateboer and the Italian international Leonardo Spinazzola are both set to start in Rome, on the right and left wing-backs, respectively.
Central defender Andrea Masiello is also likely to return in the formation as he can replace Jose Palomino, while Bryan Cristante, who started as an attacking midfielder in Naples, can be pulled back as a central midfield partner of either Remo Freuler or Marten de Roon. Atalanta’s top scorer Josip Ilicic is set to start behind the central forward duo, where captain Alejandro Gomez looks certain while Andrea Petagna should replace Andrea Cornelius.
Roma vs Atalanta Prediction and Betting Tips
Roma boast the best defensive record in the Serie A, conceding just 12 times, which shows how difficult it has been for others to score against them. However, the Giallorossi must polish up their attacking line as they remain the top-seven side with least goals scored – 29 in 18 games, even Udinese have scored 32 goals in that term.
Atalanta have failed to score just once in 13 away games this season – in the 0-2 defeat from Inter Milan. That was on 19 November and it remains the last away loss of Atalanta who have won four and drawn once in five visits ever since.
Atalanta have won just one of the last 12 visits to Roma (2-0 in November 2015) and have not lost the last three times there, but Roma holds a very positive home balance over Atalanta in the 21st century – 9 wins and the three aforementioned slips. We think Roma can return on the winning path and they have the quality to outplay Atalanta on Saturday evening. Our betting prediction is backing the home side – Roma to win with the Asian Handicap -0.5 for a higher value.
Possible Lineups of AS Roma and Atalanta
Venue: “Stadio Olimpico”, Roma.
Referee: Marco Guida.
AS Roma: Alisson – Alessandro Florenzi, Federico Fazio, Kostas Manolas, Aleksandar Kolarov – Lorenzo Pellegrini, Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman – Stephan El Shaarawy, Edin Dzeko, Diego Perotti. (4-3-3)
Atalanta BC: Etrit Berisha – Rafael Toloi, Mattia Caldara, Andrea Masiello – Hans Hateboer, Bryan Cristante, Remo Freuler, Leonardo Spinazzola – Josip Ilicic – Andrea Petagna, Alejandro “Papu” Gomez. (3-4-1-2)