The goals of Salernitana and Atalanta BC before their Serie A matchup on Saturday at the Arechi Stadium are diametrically opposed.
Despite losing at Empoli last weekend, the Granata are almost out of the relegation zone, and Gian Piero Gasperini’s team still has a Champions League spot in reach despite a 2-0 defeat to Juventus in round 34 in Bergamo.
Salernitana’s ten matches Serie A (SA) unbeaten streak came to an end on Monday in a 2-1 loss to Empoli, but they are still eight points above the drop zone at this time. Coach Paulo Sousa said that they will “have to keep fighting to get to the finish line” because three of their next four games are against clubs currently ranked in the top 10, beginning with this encounter against sixth placed Atalanta.
The rematch resulted in the Granata’s joint heaviest top flight loss (L8-2) thus this Saturday at Stadio Arechi, vengeance may be the theme of the day. Such hopes are raised by a five matches unbeaten streak (W2, D3) at this location, but Salernitana face a difficult challenge here after only avoiding defeat against the other top six clubs once at home (D1, L4).
Atalanta will be seeking to resume its winning ways after losing to Juventus 2-0 on Sunday, ending a run of three straight triumphs. La Dea is five points off the pace for UEFA Champions League qualifying, and manager Gian Piero Gasperini is “remorseful” for the loss to Juventus that has put them in a fight to stay in the top six.
In their upcoming matches against teams fighting for survival in the top division, Salernitana and Hellas Verona, they may find themselves on the losing end of a double edged sword. The return match gave Gasperini’s team confidence as they scored eight goals for the first time in their top flight history. They will also be seeking to extend a three matches road winning streak (W2, D1).
Against Empoli, Krzysztof Pitek scored Salernitana’s lone goal, ending a league goalless streak that had begun in November. Teun Koopmeiners of Atalanta was the star of the opposite match, scoring, assisting, receiving a yellow card, and missing a penalty all in the first half.
Although Boulaye Dia failed to score against Empoli last week, Salernitana’s leading scorer is anticipated to start in the front row against La Dea.
Domagoj Bradaric, the left wing back, comes returned from suspension, but Dylan Bronn is not playing because of his accumulation of infractions.
Diego Valencia, Domen Crnigoj, Norbert Gyomber, Antonio Candreva, Federico Fazio, and Federico Fazio are not expected to play on Saturday due to injury or doubt.
Jeremie Boga joined Ademola Lookman and Rasmus Winther Hojlund on the sidelines on Sunday after the wide attacker was removed 15 minutes after entering the game, adding to Gasperini’s selection conundrum.
Joakim Maehle, who received a red card in the last seconds of the second half and is therefore suspended for this weekend, is set to be replaced by Brandon Soppy, with Davide Zappacosta likely to switch to left wing back.
Hans Hateboer, Matteo Ruggeri, and Jose Luis Palomino are out and not expected to play.
Salernitana Possible starting lineup
Ochoa, Daniliuc, Lovato, Pirola, Mazzocchi, Coulibaly, Vilhena, Bradaric, Maggiore, Botheim and Dia.
Atalanta possible starting lineup
Sportiello, Toloi, Djimsiti, Scalvini, Zappacosta, De Roon, Koopmeiners, Soapy, Pasalic, Muriel and Zapata.
We predict: Salernitana 2-2 Atlanta
Twelve goals have been scored in Salernitana’s last three draws at the Arechi, and another score draw on Saturday may be in the cards.