This evening’s Serie A clash between Inter Milan and Atalanta will feature three key individual battles in midfield.

Today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, compare how the two Lombard rivals’ respective midfield trios stack up.

Inter and Atalanta both play with 3-5-2 formations.

Of course the tactics and style of play of the two teams are far from identical. But there is a broad symmetry on the pitch.

In both teams, the work of the midfield trio is foundational to supporting the team as a whole.

Inter will be missing one key midfielder, Hakan Calhanoglu. It will be Kristjan Asllani who replaces the Turk.

And whilst Asllani did very well in the deep-lying position against Lecce over the weekend, it will be an altogether more difficult proposition against Atalanta.

And according to the Gazzetta, La Dea will also be missing their first-choice deep-lying playmaker.

Marten De Roon is one match away from suspension. And the Gazzetta anticipate that Gian Piero Gasperini won’t risk the Dutchman missing next weekend’s potential top four playoff against Bologna.

So it will instead be Mario Pasalic anchoring La Dea’s midfield.

Asllani and Pasalic will battle it out to control the tempo. Both teams aim to play at a frenetic pace, and these two midfielders are at the heart of things.

Koopmeiners & Mkhitaryan Another Potential Key Battle In Inter Vs Atalanta Serie A Clash

The Gazzetta then highlight the importance of Teun Koopmeiners for Atalanta, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Inter.

Both are the midfielders who link the midfield and attack for their respective sides.

Koopmeiners has been far and away the more prolific of the two this season in terms of goals.

But Mkhitaryan has made more of a defensive contribution whilst also knitting the play together. The Armenian could also have extra responsibilities in the buildup phase, helping Asllani out.

Lastly, there will be the clash between Brazilian Ederson and Italian Nicolo Barella.

The former is the player whose speed, strength, and stamina make it all work in Atalanta’s engine room.

It is a similar story for Barella.

Ederson and Barella can also both boast impressive technical ability and positional sense. But it will be a battle of legs between the pair, the Gazzetta suggest.