The champions-elect enjoyed another satisfactory outing last Thursday, as back-up striker Alexis Sanchez notched a first-ever brace in Inter colours, to seal a 2-1 victory away to Parma. Both goals were set up by fellow Manchester United alumni Romelu Lukaku – with his seventh and eighth assists of the season – who seamlessly combined with his new strike partner while regular foil Lautaro Martinez was offered a rare rest.
Inter’s star strikers are seemingly taking it in turns to punish opponents of late – it was top scorer Lukaku who took centre-stage versus Genoa last week, with a goal after just 32 seconds, while Martinez had led the way in their previous success against old foes Milan. Now the injury-plagued Sanchez looks fit and firing on all cylinders too and could prove a valuable contributor during the run-in.
That fearsome forward line will be intent on improving Inter’s record versus their local rivals in this week’s Lombardy derby, though, with the Nerazzurri having won only one of their last six matches against Atalanta in Serie A. Nonetheless, Inter remain unbeaten in their six most recent encounters with La Dea on home soil.
Following a thumping 5-1 success against whipping boys Crotone last week, the 49 points picked up by Atalanta after 25 games this season represent a record for the Bergamo side at this point of a top-flight campaign – surpassing even their recent high standards since Gian Piero Gasperini took charge.
Ahead of two major engagements in the next fortnight, first with Inter and then Real Madrid in the Champions League, La Dea comfortably took care of business against the relegation-haunted Calabrian minnows. Sixteen-goal top scorer Luis Muriel struck again and four others – including prolific wing-back Robin Gosens, with a ninth goal of the season – added a goal apiece.
Notorious for their unerring penalty-box prowess, Gasperini’s men have now scored at least three goals on 12 separate occasions this term – a record equalled only by continental megaclubs Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich throughout the top five European leagues.
Not only that, but an ability to find match-winning contributions from all quarters has seen a remarkable 13 squad members registering both a minimum of one goal and an assist so far.
Furthermore, their defensive record has markedly improved over the past month too, as Atalanta have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three away games in Serie A.
So, following four straight wins, it is clear that the Bergamaschi will return to the hallowed grounds of Stadio Giuseppe Meazza – where they have fond memories of beating Milan by a three-goal margin earlier this year – in fearless form and determined to have a say in the destiny of the Scudetto.
Inter Milan Serie A form: WWWWWW
Inter Milan form (all competitions): WDWWWW
Atalanta BC Serie A form: LDWWWW
Atalanta BC form (all competitions): WWWLWW