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The 1-0 loss to Roma was a disappointment and perhaps a tie was a better reflection of the game itself. Niang missed yet another penalty and piled pressure and question marks on himself, more than on the team itself. After all the team is still in third place and riding higher than expected.
At least in part due to the couple of penalty misses and form in general Niang is likely to see himself on the bench for this week 17 game vs one of the surprises of the season. Atalanta have lost their last two by identical 3-1 scores but are riding high this season and a few of Gian Piero Gasperini’s player have caught the attention of bigger teams including Milan. Defender Mattia Caldara and midfielder Roberto Gagliardini are said to be on Milan’s radar and already attracting inflated rumours. Atalanta also features Andrea Petagna, the once Milan player of course, up front.
Bonaventura and Bacca are back training and available but it is unclear if Montella will use both. The reported likely line up only includes Bonaventura, in Niang’s place. Pasalic and Kucka may get the nod in midfield and Bertolacci may start in Locatelli’s place saving the latter for the Super Coppa match vs Juventus later next week. Bertolacci in the middle of the pitch is a risk Montella seems willing to take as the player did well vs Roma. The defense seems set with only the possibility of Antonelli pushing De Sciglio to the bench.
On the sale front the Chinese deposited a second €100 million into Fininvest’s coffers but the end of the saga is still not in sight and question marks remain, not only about the new March ‘deadline’ but also about the authenticity of the ownership group or consortium.