Atalanta vs AC Milan, Preview: Tune in for a Sunday afternoon nap

Paolo Bruno

Milan travel to Bergamo to take on one of the league's lowest scorers and recent underperformers in Atalanta, in a fixture which could be dubbed the Derby of Extreme Mediocrity.

It is also loosely a derby in geographic terms, with Bergamo only around 40km north-east of Milan. But, unfortunately, a fiery, exciting game you shouldn't expect, with Atalanta very much a defence-first side, scoring just twice in their last six games.

Sadly they have been just about as effective defending as they have attacking, and Stefano Colantuono's team have slipped down the table with just two wins in the last couple of months. Despite the attacking firepower provided by the Argentine trio of Maxi Moralez, Ezequiel Schelotto and German Denis, they have netted just 19 times all season -- only Palermo and Pescara have scored less.

They have brought in Igor Budan from Palermo in a bid to cure their scoring ills, though that's about as helpful as coach Colantuono's hair retention tips. Budan will likely make his debut from the bench, at a side currently sitting six points clear of the relegation zone.

Fortunately AC Milan have been a little more effective than la dea of late, and miraculously they have begun to score goals not just courtesy of Stephan El Shaarawy. Giampaolo Pazzini bagged a brace against Bologna in the last match, chalking up his fourth and fifth goals in his last five games.

They are still, however, erratic, and have been unconvincing in their last four, going down to a thrashing from Roma before one goal wins over Siena and Bologna, alongside a scoreless draw with Sampdoria. They may have climbed to sixth, but the nine points they have to gain to move up into the top three seems rather insurmountable, even with the arrival of Cristian Zaccardo from Parma.

Atalanta Injuries and Suspensions

Out: Daniele Capelli, Gianpaolo Bellini, Guido Marilungo, Stefano Lucchini, Ezequiel Schelotto (injured) Luigi Giorgi (suspended)

AC Milan Injuries and Suspensions

Out: Didac Vila, Nigel De Jong, Mario Yepes, Massimo Ambrosini, Urby Emanuelson

Match Date/Time: Sunday 27th January 2013 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. E.T.

Venue: Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia, Bergamo, Italy

TV: Sky Calcio 1 (Italy), beIN SPORT (U.S.)

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