Bergamo to conquer Turin? They have every chance
The champions elect Juventus host the hipster’s choice of Europe in Atalanta on Saturday evening. The Banshees have one of the best attacks in the continent, they have scored a whopping 18 goals more than any other team in Serie A and top the expected goals table. Coming into this one off the back of a collapse at the San Siro, going two goals up only to concede four in the final half an hour, Stefano Pioli’s men made the Old Lady look very ordinary. Juventus are narrow favourites despite Gian Piero Gasperini’s men’s incredible form, this could be outstanding viewing.
Third placed Atalanta have won their last 10 matches in all competitions, with three consecutive clean sheets in the leadup to this. The hosts conceding four against AC Milan was the first time they had done so since 2013 and somewhat fitted the pattern of their recent fixtures. Their last four games have seen over 3.5 goals and both teams have found the net in the last three. They have a very impressive record at Allianz Stadium this season, winning 14 out of 15 Serie A games and drawing the other, to AC Milan. That form has often been combined with some defensive solidarity, keeping a clean sheet in four of their last five.
Atalanta too have tightened up at the back winning their last three games to nil, a positive trend with the Champions League approaching. They cannot afford a lapse in concentration as Juve have scored 11 of their last 15 goals in the second period. The Banshees have netted exactly two second half goals in all of their last four encounters.
Despite the flair of Josep Ilicic, the power and finishing off the likes of Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel, Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez is still their most important player in my eyes. Pulling the strings from a central attacking midfield role with his amazing low centre of gravity dribbling style with a nonchalant eye for a pass. Seven goals and 17 assists this season alone has continued the 32-year-old’s incredible upward trajectory as a late developer. Plucked from Ukrainian football for just over £4million, no one could have foreseen the impact the Argentina international would have. In his sixth season at the club Gomez has produced 53 goals and 66 assists, and there are no signs of a let up.
Atalanta are not to be underestimated and this could be the toughest match of Juventus’ season to date.