Serie A Preview: Milan v Atalanta
By Football News
Milan will be hoping the new year brings a change in fortune when they host Atalanta on Monday in both sides' first game of 2014.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri has come under increasing pressure with his side sitting 13th in Serie A, just five points clear of the relegation zone, following a dismal run of one win in nine league games.
Since Milan last played, Allegri has confirmed he will not continue in his role beyond the current campaign, labelling the side's current plight as "disastrous".
Their latest defeat will have been the most difficult to take for the club's fans, with Rodrigo Palacio netting a late winner for city rivals Inter before the winter break.
Milan have boosted their ranks with the arrival of Keisuke Honda from CSKA Moscow, though he will not be available to face Atalanta.
One man who could be involved is defender Adil Rami, who has been training with Allegri's squad since October after agreeing a loan move from parent club Valencia.
Monday's visitors are one point behind Milan in the league, and will be hopeful of ending their own poor run of five matches without a win.
Stefano Colantuono's men will not be daunted by their opponents, having claimed a 1-0 victory at San Siro last season. Atalanta also beat Inter 4-3 at the ground later in the same campaign.
Stephan El Shaarawy will not be available for selection as he continues his recovery from a foot operation, while Valter Birsa (thigh) is also unlikely to feature, but Ignazio Abate (ankle) and Robinho (shoulder) could be back in contention for Milan.
Sulley Muntari serves the first match of a three-game suspension for aiming a punch at Inter's Zdravko Kuzmanovic in the Milan derby.
Question marks remain over the fitness of Stefano Lucchini, Gianpaolo Bellini, Mario Yepes and Lionel Scaloni for Atalanta, who have picked up only four points from nine away games this season.