Both winners at the weekend, an Atalanta BC side who finally halted their faltering form meet mid-table Torino on Wednesday at the Gewiss Stadium.
In a fixture postponed from January, when a COVID-19 outbreak prevented the visitors from travelling to Bergamo, the home side will be seeking to stay in contention for European football next term, while Il Toro’s aim is a top-half finish.
After four defeats in five games continued Atalanta’s descent towards mid-table, scrutiny on Gian Piero Gasperini’s side was intense when they visited Venice on Saturday.
Amid a worrying winless streak of six matches at home and abroad, the Bergamaschi were relieved to take the lead just before the break against lowly Venezia, and Mario Pasalic’s opening strike was followed by another from Duvan Zapata shortly after half time.
Ultimately returning to Lombardy with three precious points following a 3-1 win, Atalanta remain in the hunt for a return to Europe next season but have much work to do following their recent slump into mediocrity.
Most of their growing tally of losses have come at home, and after the Nerazzurri were beaten 2-1 by Verona last time out at the Gewiss Stadium, they hold a damning record of just four league wins in Bergamo this term.
That represents only the 13th-best performance on home soil throughout Serie A, and stands in sharp contrast to Torino’s total of 29 points as hosts – some 11 more than La Dea.
They did, though, triumph 2-1 in Turin when the clubs last clashed back in August, with Roberto Piccoli’s stoppage-time strike continuing a dominant run in their match-up with the Granata – they have lost only two of the teams’ 11 meetings since Gasperini took the reins in 2016.
Having struggled throughout much of February and March, recent results have put Torino back on track for a shot at the top 10 and celebrating a successful first campaign under Ivan Juric with a top-half finish.
After they shut out Scudetto-chasing Milan a fortnight ago, the Granata posted another draw against Lazio a week later – the latter of which saw them denied victory only by the concession of a late equaliser – and then took care of business against Spezia on Saturday: winning 2-1 thanks to Sasa Lukic’s brace.
As a result, Il Toro are four games unbeaten before they take on Atalanta, and having also held both Inter and arch-rivals Juventus to draws in recent weeks, they are certainly not intimidated by reputation.
Nonetheless, Juric has struggled to turn singles into trebles since the turn of the year, and Torino have won only twice in their last 12 Serie A matches.
The Croatian coach will hope, then, that having now scored twice in one game for the first time since January, his side can continue their pursuit of 10th-placed Sassuolo with a victory on Wednesday.
Atalanta BC Serie A form:
Atalanta BC form (all competitions):
Torino Serie A form:
We say: Atalanta BC 1-1 Torino
Atalanta have already suffered nine defeats in the league this season, and the last time they recorded more was four years ago, when they ultimately finished seventh.
They tend to struggle in front of their own fans, too, so though Torino will not add to that tally, the points may be shared between two old friends, Juric and Gasperini.