Having enjoyed a late surge up the Serie A table through January and February, Milan's under-performance during the month of March has brought Milanisti crashing back down to earth. Roma are on course to triumph in the battle for third place, whilst the Rossoneri will simply have to focus on safeguarding their top-six status for the time being. A poor run of results has seen Milan's Champions League hopes left in tatters, yet there is still plenty to play for in the final months of the season.
Speculation over the future of Sinisa Mihajlovic will not help the situation, but hopefully some encouraging displays over the international break (including Gianluigi Donnarumma's debut with the Italian u-21s) can lift the mood amongst the players. With a match against champions-elect Juventus looming on the horizon, Milan need to make this match count. The Rossoneri are undoubtedly favourites for this clash, with Atalanta registering just one win in their last fifteen matches. The onus is on Il Diavolo to go out and get a result.
Whilst Giacomo Bonaventura should have recovered from the illness he sustained over the international break, Milan will be without both Alex and Juraj Kucka for their visit to the Atleti Azzurri d'Italia. Both are recovering well from their respective injuries, but are not yet match fit. Cristian Zapata will most likely stand in for Alex, whereas Andrea Bertolacci will once again deputise for Kucka. The Italian's performances have been less than inspiring throughout the season, and if he performs poorly again here, he may not get much more of a chance to impress before the summer rolls around.
The strike partnership of Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano look set to start once again after impressing against Lazio, and there remains some hope of the two forming a good understanding after a difficult season for the latter. Keisuke Honda will miss the fixture as well, having returned from the international break too fatigued to return to the Milan team immediately. It has been suggested that Mihajlovic will test out Mattia De Sciglio in his position on the right, although perhaps Jeremy Menez would be a safer option for the manager to go with.
Milan should not lose to Atalanta, quite simply. Despite Milan's difficulties in overcoming weaker sides, it remains highly unlikely that the Bergamaschi can pull off an upset here. Champions League football may not be the prize this season, but Milan still have everything to play for at this point. With Atalanta still very much mired in a relegation battle, winning is the minimum expectation here.
Atalanta: 4-2-3-1 - Marco Sportiello; Andrea Masiello, Guglielmo Stendardo, Gabriel Paletta, Boukary Drame; Luca Cigarini, Marten De Roon; Jasmin Kurtic, Alejandro Gomez, Alessandro Diamanti; Mauricio Pinilla.
Milan: 4-4-2 - Gianlugi Donnarumma; Ignazio Abate, Cristian Zapata, Alessio Romagnoli, Luca Antonelli; Mattia De Sciglio, Riccardo Montolivo, Andrea Bertolacci, Giacomo Bonaventura; Luiz Adriano, Carlos Bacca.
How To Watch
Where: Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia, Bergamo.
When: 3.00pm local, 10.00am EST, 3rd April 2016.
TV: Sky Calcio 2 (Italy), BT Sport Extra 2 (UK)
Online: SKY Go Italia (Italy), BT Sport (UK), beIN Sports Connect (USA)
International listings can be viewed here.
Atlanta are at home, but Milan should be too good for them. Luiz Adriano will be keen to prove a point - bet on him to rediscover his best form.
Atalanta 1-3 Milan.