Preview: Hellas Verona vs. Atalanta BC - prediction, team news, lineups
Hellas Verona will be seeking to end a four-game winless run in the Italian top flight when they play host to free-scoring Atalanta BC on Saturday.
Following Lazio's dreadful run of form as of late, Atalanta now occupy second spot in the table - seven points behind current champions Juventus with five games left to play.
Hellas Verona's form has been indifferent since Serie A was given the green light to resume, and a mid-table finish seems the most probable outcome for I Gialloblu at this late stage of the season.
Ivan Juric 's men gave European-chasing Roma a good run for their money in midweek, but goals from Jordan Veretout and Edin Dzeko ultimately condemned Verona to defeat at the Stadio Olimpico.
A top-six finish is not entirely out of the question for I Gialloblu as they sit ninth in the table, but the nine-point lead that Napoli boast over Verona will most likely prove insurmountable for Verona given their recent underwhelming results.
Juric's side have only managed to accumulate two wins since the restart, although the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi is a safe haven for Verona as they have triumphed in five out of their last seven fixtures on familiar territory.
Meanwhile, Atalanta just cannot stop scoring. Gian Piero Gasperini 's men added another six goals to their tally for the season as relegation-threatened Brescia felt the full force of Atalanta's attacking prowess on Tuesday.
Mario Pasalic returned to the starting lineup with a hat-trick at the Gewiss Stadium, with Atalanta adding further goals through Ruslan Malinovskiy, Duvan Zapata and Marten de Roon all before the hour mark in a 6-2 victory.
Before the enforced shutdown, Lazio and Juventus were in a two-horse race for Serie A glory, but both sides have endured dismal winless runs as of late and Atalanta fans can certainly dream of a first-ever top-flight title for their club.
However, Juventus still boast a seven-point lead over Gasperini's men with five games left to go, and Atalanta may drop down to third if Inter Milan overcome bottom-of-the-table SPAL on Thursday.
Nevertheless, Juve's title streak is undoubtedly in serious jeopardy at this crucial stage of the campaign, and should Atalanta continue in their current vein of form in the closing stages, the race for Serie A glory is set to go right down to the wire.
Hellas Verona Serie A form: DWLDDL
Atalanta Serie A form: WWWWDW
Verona's list of absentees currently includes Marash Kumbulla, Salvatore Bocchetti, Pawel Dawidowicz and Andrea Danzi, none of whom are expected to feature at the weekend.
Fabio Borini has also struggled with injury recently and is set to miss out again, but Amir Rrahmani could come back into the fold after missing out entirely against Roma.
As for Atalanta, Luis Muriel sustained a head injury at his home and was forced to miss out against Brescia, but the striker has confirmed that he is on the mend and should be available for selection on Saturday.
However, it is difficult to see Malinovskiy dropping out of the team given his recent goalscoring exploits, and Alejandro Gomez will also be hoping for a recall to the first XI.
Marco Sportiello featured in between the sticks against Brescia before being replaced in the 80th minute, meaning Pierluigi Gollini could return to the first XI for the trip to Verona.
Hellas Verona possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Rrahmani, Gunter, Empereur; Faraoni, Veloso, Amrabat, Lazovic; Pessina, Verre; Carmine
Atalanta possible starting lineup:
Gollini; Djimsiti, Toloi, Caldara; Hateboer, Pasalic, Roon, Gosens; Gomez; Malinovskiy, Zapata
We say: Hellas Verona 1-4 Atalanta
Even though Verona have enjoyed a respectable set of results at home in recent months, Atalanta are proving impossible to contain and are now only seven strikes away from hitting the 100-goal mark for the season, so we expect Gasperini's men to march to victory in emphatic fashion this weekend.