The table lies!
It should be an exciting game this Saturday between Atalanta and newly promoted Parma. Here are my thoughts and tips for the game.
Atalanta began the season with a 4-0 rout over Serie A new boys Frosinone. The game convinced most people that this was a side that would compete for the European spots this season. Then the Bergamo-based team lost their double-header against FC Copenhagen in the Europa League qualifications and everything seemed to unravel. Nine matches without a win followed, what makes it worse is that the northern Italians faced teams, like SPAL and Cagliari, who on paper are considerably weaker.
Yet despite these terrible results, I think with deeper analysis that this team is better than you might think. What most don't realise is that Atalanta's underlying statistics show that they deserve to be in the top half of the table. The tide may have turned over the weekend however, when Atalanta beat bottom placed Chievo in convincing style and the boost in confidence this match will have given them shouldn't be underestimated. They'll have the perfect opportunity to build on this win on Saturday when they meet newly-promoted Parma. Atalanta have a very good chance to pick up three points.
Parma's start to the season has been the complete opposite to Atalanta's. Expectations were very low in pre-season, which is not unusual considering that newly promoted Serie A teams often struggle in their first season (for example, Frosinone). They have exceeded these expectations and now lie in a stable mid-table position after nine matches played. They can have no complaints about their current form and they'll consider themselves to have a good chance in bringing home at least a point from Bergamo. However, it has to be said that Parma have over-performed this season, and have enjoyed a lot of luck with their results. Here are three examples of Parma's shot-to-goal ratio to demonstrate my point:
- Inter - Parma: 0-1 (24-8 in shots)
- Parma - Empoli: 1-0 (7-10 in shots)
- Genoa - Parma: 1-3 (20-7 in shots)
These wins have not been fully deserved and could have easily ended in no points. Of course, luck is a large part of football, but my point is that Parma should not be rated as highly as their league position would suggest and I think we'll see them fall in the table over the coming months.
Atalanta are a good team who have had a lot of bad luck. Parma are not a good team who have had a lot of luck. There is a reason that Atalanta head into this match as favourites despite being lower in the table. Even if the home-advantage is reflected in the odds, it's worth mentioning that Atalanta have had an incredible win-rate at home over the past few seasons. Despite their league position, Atalanta will head into this match high on confidence after the international break and their win over Chievo. The odds are tight but I think there is still value in backing Atalanta with a -1 Asian handicap on Saturday.
Atalanta -1 Asian handicap at 37/50 with Bet365