The pressure is back on Gasperini to save his Sicilian future, having brought in a plethora of new players during the transfer window and the fact that Siena and Genoa both picked up morale boosting victories.
Two consecutive draws prior to this game fail to mask the fact that the Rosanero are winless since late November and have picked up just three points from their last nine games. They remain four points from safety.
Atalanta did the damage in the second half. Goals from Carlos Carmona and substitute German Denis put the Bergamo outfit in the driving seat. Debutant Nelson netted a late consolation for the home side.
Diego Fabbrini, Alejandro Faurlin, Nelson and Mauro Boselli were all handed debuts to cover for the loss of suspended trio Fabrizio Miccoli, Steve Von Bergen and Salvatore Aronica.
Giampaolo Bellini, Stefano Lucchini, Guido Marilungo and the banned Davide Brivio were all missing for the visitors.
Massimo Donati almost scored against his old club, but saw a first half scorcher sail just wide. Fabbrini and Boselli linked up well, but couldn't find an opening, despite several first half chances. Josip Ilicic ballooned a free kick high and wide on the half hour mark.
Nine minutes before the break, Luigi Giorgi forced Stefano Sorrentino into his first save of the match. Lionel Scaloni then released Facundo Parra who ran clear only to shoot straight at a grateful Sorrentino. Giorgi was thwarted once more on the stroke of half time, following Michele Canini's headed pass.
Atalanta's first goal came nine minutes into the second half. Ivan Radovanovic's long range effort struck the crossbar and Carmona was quickest to react, getting in front of his marker to head the rebound in.
Boselli and Palermo continued to toil as they tried to find an equaliser. Paulo Dybala and yet another new face - Mauro Formica were introduced to freshen up the home side's attacking impetus. However, it was Atalanta who struck the killer blow on 72 minutes. Guglielmo Stendardo split the defence with a long ball which Denis latched onto. The attacker carried on his run and struck a well placed shot from just inside the area which beat Sorrentino at his near post.
Nelson assisted Dybala with a low shot, forcing Andrea Consigli to make a good reflex stop. The defender managed to set up a tense finale when he met Formica's cross with a low shot which crept into the bottom left corner. Boselli's stoppage time header was goalbound for the top corner, but Consigli frustrated him with a good save.
Palermo: Sorrentino; Munoz, Donati, Garcia; Nelson, Barreto, Faurlin, Dossena (Dybala 57); Ilicic (Malele 78), Fabbrini (Formica 69); Boselli