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Preview: Atalanta BC vs. Venezia - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Atalanta BC vs. Venezia - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Coppa Italia clash between Atalanta BC and Venezia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Atalanta BC will welcome fellow Serie A side Venezia to Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia for their last-16 clash in the Coppa Italia on Wednesday afternoon.

Both sides have met in this competition on five previous occasions and have won two games each, though the last such encounter was back in 2003-04, which saw Venezia win 2-0 on home soil.

Match preview

Atalanta began 2022 in emphatic style as they secured a 6-2 Serie A victory away against Udinese on Sunday afternoon.

First-half strikes from Mario Pasalic, Luis Muriel and Ruslan Malinovskyi put La Dea in control, before goals after the break from Muriel, Joakim Maehle and Matteo Pessina helped them claim their biggest away victory in the league since thrashing Lecce 7-2 in March 2020.

Gian Piero Gasperini's men – who are sitting in fourth place and eight points behind Serie A leaders Inter Milan – have now extended their unbeaten run on the road to eight matches; however, they head into Wednesday's home encounter with Venezia with a poor record on home soil.

Atalanta have only won two of their last eight games at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia across all competitions, including back-to-back defeats in their most recent home matches against Villarreal and Roma, in which they conceded seven goals in the process.

In stark contrast, La Dea have won 15 of their last 16 Coppa Italia games on their own turf, scoring at least twice in each victory.

Atalanta, who won the Coppa Italia for the first and only time back in 1962-63, have finished as runners-up in this competition in two of the last three years, including last season's heartache against Juventus.

With a seemingly favourable last-16 tie against Venezia up next – a side who they thrashed 4-0 in the league less than two months ago – Gasperini will be confident that his team can reach the latter stages and go one better this time around.

Unlike Atalanta, Venezia were unable to kick-start the new year with a victory as they were comfortably beaten 3-0 at home against Serie A title challengers AC Milan on Sunday.

A second-minute strike from Zlatan Ibrahimovic as well as Theo Hernandez's second-half brace condemned Gli Arancioneroverdi to their 11th league defeat of the campaign, which has seen them slip to 17th in the table and just four points above the relegation zone.

Venezia's only win in their last eight matches across all competitions was in the second round of the Coppa Italia last month, beating Serie B outfit Ternana 3-1 on home soil.

While head coach Paolo Zanetti is sure to prioritise survival in Serie A over a run in the Coppa Italia, winning games and building momentum is also high on the agenda, so a positive result on Wednesday can only help the Venice-based outfit going forward.

After progressing past Ternana in the previous round, Gli Arancioneroverdi will be looking to claim two successive knockout victories in Italy's national cup competition for the first time since August 2000.

The last time Venezia advanced beyond the third round was back in 1999 against Udinese, though their chances of repeating such a feat on Wednesday, against one of Serie A's strongest sides in the form of Atalanta, are seemingly slim.

Atalanta BC form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Venezia Coppa Italia form:
  • W
  • W

Venezia form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L

Team News

With Atalanta having one eye on their Serie A title bout with Inter on Sunday, Gasperini is expected to rotate his starting lineup on Wednesday.

Goalkeeper Marco Sportiello and wing-back Davide Zappacosta both missed last weekend's game after testing positive for coronavirus and the pair are doubtful for the clash with Venezia.

Malinovskyi, Rafael Toloi and Josip Ilicic are all suspended for the third-round tie, while Robin Gosens and Duvan Zapata remain sidelined with injuries, though Remo Freuler has returned from serving a one-match suspension and could feature in midweek.

The likes of Merih Demiral, Hans Hateboer, and Roberto Piccoli, who were not selected in the starting lineup on Sunday, could all be recalled to the first XI this time around.

As for Venezia, centre-back Michael Svoboda is in contention to start despite his dismissal in the Serie A defeat to Milan last weekend, while Mattia Caldara and Tanner Tessmann have both returned from one-match suspensions and will also be available to feature.

Midfielder Antonio Junior Vacca is Zanetti's only injury concern, while full-back Tyronne Ebuehi is away on international duty with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Daan Heymans, Domen Crnigoj and Francesco Forte, who all scored in the second-round win over Ternana, could all return to the first XI, while January signing Michael Cuisance may be handed his second successive start in central midfield.

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Musso; Djimsiti, Palomino, Demiral; Hateboer, Freuler, Pasalic, Pezzella; Pessina, Miranchuk; Piccoli

Venezia possible starting lineup:
Lezzerini; Mazzocchi, Svoboda, Caldara, Haps; Crnigoj, Cuisance, Heymans; Aramu, Okereke; Forte

We say: Atalanta BC 3-1 Venezia

Even though one of Atalanta's six clean sheets across all competitions this season came against Venezia, Zanetti's men will fancy their chances of breaching their backline this time around.

Nevertheless, La Dea remain the strong favourites to come out on top and they should have no problems advancing into the fourth round.

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