The Rossoneri kick off 2012 with a potentially difficult trip to Bergamo, as they strive to maintain their slender lead over their Turin rival at the league summit on Sunday.
Masiello, Ferri, Manfredini, Peluso
Schelotto, Cigarini, Padoin, Bonaventura
Bonera, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Antonini
Aquilani, Van Bommel, Nocerino
Two changes for Stefano Colantuono's side should see Ezequiel Schelotto and Simone Padoin return to replace Adriano Ferreira Pinto and Carlos Carmona in midfield. In addition, young hitman Guido Marilungo is expected to be rewarded for his brace against Cesena with a starting berth ahead of Argentine attacker Maxi Moralez once more.
However, no such luck is in the offing for Daniele Capelli, who is out for the season with an injury setback, and the indefinitely-suspended Cristiano Doni. Matteo Brighi, however, requires a late fitness test ahead of the encounter.
Regarding table-topper Milan, coach Massimiliano Allegri will be without the services of the banned Massimo Ambrosini, as well as injured quartet Ignazio Abate, Mathieu Flamini, Mario Yepes and Antonio Cassano.
Fortunately for the visiting side, Alessandro Nesta comes back into the fold after missing the 2-0 win at Cagliari prior to the winter break, replacing Philippe Mexes, while Luca Antonini and Mark van Bommel should replace then-starters Taye Taiwo and Ambrosini.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Atalanta would have 26 points without the club's six-point penalty - the team's best return after 16 rounds of a Serie A season.
- In its previous game, a win against Cesena, Atalanta ended a run of five consecutive league draws.
- The Bergamese side is still unbeaten at home in this campaign.
- Meanwhile, AC Milan is undefeated in its last 11 Serie A games.
- The Rossoneri boast the division's best attack with 35 goals so far, while they kept 21 clean sheets in 2011, more than any other side in the league.
- However, Milan has managed just one win in its last four visits to Atalanta, a 1-0 victory in Oct. 2008.
- Only German Denis has scored more than Zlatan Ibrahimovic so far in this campaign - the Argentine striker has netted 12 times, compared to Ibra's 11.