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Serie A: Zlatan boosts Milan ahead of Atalanta clash

Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasted little time shaking off any rust accrued while sidelined by a muscle injury as he scored twice against Cagliari on Monday.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The top match from the Italian top flight this weekend sees Milan host Atalanta at the San Siro.

The Rossoneri have firmly established themselves as title contenders with their excellent form in 2020-21, but La Dea will be a true threat after their recent upsurge in results – which has ironically come after freezing out their formerly talismanic playmaker Papu Gomez, though the sublime form of Josip Ilicic goes some way towards explaining this.

“Ilicic is the player who if we get him back to his best, he gives us a big step up in quality. Everyone knows that,” Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini explained. “He’s a bit inconsistent, both in training and during the game, and tended to lose his confidence when things went wrong.

However, he’s been training so well this week, hitting the ball so hard and with precision, I knew he’d put in this kind of performance.”

Elsewhere in Serie A, champions Juventus will look to continue their growth under manager Andrea Pirlo when they welcome Bologna to the Allianz Stadium, with the cultivation of “mental strength” now a key aspect.

“What I do want is for us to improve our mental strength. Too many times, we score a goal and then have a few minutes after that where our heads are in the clouds,” said Pirlo of his team. “I ask for more concentration because those are important minutes to give a sense of consistency.”

The round also features Internazionale visiting Udinese, Roma looking to keep themselves in the upper reaches of the table with a clash at home to Spezia, Napoli will visit Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi for a clash with Hellas Verona – with hopes that Nigerian Victor Osimhen could return from a lengthy absence – and Lazio will play host to Sassuolo at the Stadio Olimpico.

Serie A fixtures 

Friday 22 January

22:45: Benevento v Torino

Saturday 23 January

17:00: Roma v Spezia

20:00: Milan v Atalanta

20:00: Udinese v Internazionale

22:45: Fiorentina v Crotone

Sunday 24 January

14:30: Juventus v Bologna

17:00: Genoa v Cagliari

18:00: Hellas Verona v Napoli

20:00: Lazio v Sassuolo

22:45: Parma v Sampdoria

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