Both sides head into their Serie A round 20 match eager to bounce back from disappointing results last week. Atalanta are on a downslide and are desperate to turn the things around against the title contenders Inter, who have lost two of their last three league games.
Month to forget for Atalanta
Orobici have alternated between the positive and negative results until a month ago, successfully keeping the mid-table balance. However, Edy Reja’s charges are going through a difficult patch and will be looking to forget the last month as soon as possible and turn their fortunes around. Following their comprehensive 3-0 win over Palermo at the beginning of December, Atalanta have slumped to a four-match losing streak, bowing down in front of Chievo, Napoli, Udinese and Genoa, respectively. Edy Reja’s team has been producing fantastic displays and some pretty convincing results in the first part of the season so the fans are rightfully disappointed with their team’s current slump. Orobici are occupying the 11th place in the Serie A standings, but another loss could see them fall as low as 15th spot and Atalanta will be looking to make something out of their duel with Inter. Reja has reinforced his squad in January with Alessandro Diamanti who has joined the Italian outfit on loan until the end of the season. The 32-year-old Watford player has arrived from Guangzhou Evergrande where he also played on loan and there is no doubt that his vast experience could benefit the team in this time of trouble.
Cristian Raimondi and Carlos Carmona are unavailable through injury, while Mauricio Pinilla is suffering from a knee inflammation and will also have to miss the game against Inter.
Are Inter losing their pace?
Roberto Mancini’s men are still very much in title frame, but their most recent form has been worryingly poor. Nerazzuri have lost two of their last three Serie A matches losing their top spot in the standings to Napoli. What is more, their most recent slump has cost them the second place which is now occupied by the high-flying Juventus, who are level on points with Mancini’s team. With Fiorentina breathing down Inter’s neck with only a point less than Nerazzurri, the game against Atalanta will be highly important. Mancini can’t afford to lose another game as it would put his job under scrutiny and have the new owner question his choices regarding the Italian tactician. Thohir gave Mancini a vote of confidence amid sack speculation, but there is no doubt that another set-back could see him change his mind. Alongside the heavily criticized tactics, Mancini has had a couple of odd moves relating to squad choices this season. It was Roberto Mancini who insisted on Inter signing Xerdan Shaqiri, only to sell the Swiss international without offering him the chance to shine. Similar scenario seems likely for Stevan Jovetic, who is facing the exit door according to the Italian media. At the same time, Mancini is looking to bolster his team in January despite huge investments in the summer.
Inter have parted ways with Nemanja Vidic who is no longer a part of the team. Roberto Mancini will have a clean bill of health for the trip to Bergamo, while Felipe Melo is due to sit out another match through suspension.
Saturday’s encounter brings huge importance for both rivals, who are under pressure to turn their fortunes around and score a win. Mancini will be chronically cautious with his approach, while Atalanta are also unlikely to go head first against the title contenders.
Top Pick: Draw 3.5 (5/2) @Bet365
Alternative pick 1: Under 2.5 goals 1.67 (4/6) @SkyBet
Alternative pick 2: Under 1.5 goals 2.75 (7/4) @BetFred