OUR man in Italy, Marco Di Cosmo (@scioltz) returns with key thoughts on the Saturday Serie A action.
Milan v Atalanta | Saturday 17:00 | BT Sport Europe
I expect a lot from this match between Milan and Atalanta, with the latter pushing to fight back for a place among the Serie A top five. Both teams come here on the back of a loss with Milan have surrendering to Roma while Atalanta were defeated by Udinese on their home ground.
Their 1-3 loss that day was nowhere near to the truth in the match as Atalanta had a very lively performance, pushing the visitors into their area for the full first 45 mins at least. Udinese were really fortunate to find the net at the end of the first half, and basically they scored every time they tried a shot on goal. It was harsh on Atalanta.
I do not expect Atalanta to struggle again and I think they will override their recent trend of two consecutive losses. I would not be surprised if they come away with something from San Siro, but moreover I prefer to side with goals as AC Milan would hardly be stopped from scoring on their home ground, as well.
Milan have scored in eight games out of nine at San Siro, and both teams have marked in 50% of the games, while also registering more than two goals in those. Atalanta do not despise a goal based game with 70% of their games finishing with more than two goals this season.
Juventus v Roma | Saturday 19:45 | BT Sport Europe
A match we’ve waiting for from the start of the season, and finally Roma and Juve meet for their showdown before the Christmas break. It is a match really hard to call, as Juve are rightly in good form and Roma seem to have found more equilibrium in recent weeks and have hopes of avoiding the seven consecutive defeat in Turin.
Juventus though have some injury concerns in Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci that might not provide the same security for their defense.
Backing goals could be a strategy but it is not guaranteed that both teams will start with fierce offensiveness. Massimiliano Allegri is not a man who loves to expose his team so much, and he hardly leaves many chances to his opponents.
On the other hand Roma are surely a much more funny team to watch, but also Luciano Spalletti has registered a more balanced approach in some big games as we seen against the likes of Napoli, Lazio and Milan.
This is why I would see a very nervy game and despite being involved in a market I don’t usually play in I’d like to back cards here and find myself agreeing with Gavin Murphy on WLB.
This match has a proven record of cards in history, with the last four meetings all finishing with more than five cards, with a number of reds also to note.