Atalanta will be keen to get their top four challenge back on track when they face Juventus on Sunday.
An absolute Serie A showdown could be on the cards this Sunday as Atalanta gear up to take on Juventus in what promises to be a key match-up. With both teams vying for a top-four finish, the stakes could not be higher!
After a string of victories, Atalanta have surged to fifth place, hot on the heels of Inter Milan in fourth. A win over Juventus could see them just two points behind the third-placed giants. But Massimiliano Allegri’s men are no pushovers. Recently buoyed by the overturning of a 15-point penalty, they are back in the top three and are determined to hold on to their Champions League spot.
Juventus have historically had the upper hand against Atalanta, but the underdogs have been on fire in recent years, often causing upsets against more prominent teams. Plus, with home support behind them, Atalanta is more than ready to take on the big guns.
As the season draws to a close, neither side can afford to lose, and the pressure is palpable. Juventus have been inconsistent this season, and have on more than one occasion crumbled under pressure. Gian Piero Gasperini and co will do well to take the game to their opponents and get off to a quick start.
But there’s more on the line than just bragging rights. A win for Juventus should more or less cement their spot in the top four, putting Atalanta further behind in the standings. It promises to be a heated encounter with much on the line for both teams. The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.
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🔙💪🏾💥#Zapata #AtalantaJuve #GoAtalantaGo pic.twitter.com/suleXd7UnX
— Atalanta B.C. (@Atalanta_BC) May 5, 2023
Atalanta will hope that their poor history against Juventus will matter for little on the night. Gasperini’s men have rediscovered their mojo in recent weeks and are well primed to launch an assault on the top four.
Gasperini’s men have impressed lately, and they’ll be looking to maintain their momentum against a Juventus team that has been struggling to find their form. However, if the Old Lady falls behind, they could be in serious trouble as Atalanta has the potential to strike a deadly blow to their hopes of a top-four finish.
The hosts will have to make do without the in-demand Rasmus Hojlund, who picked up an injury during warm-up last week. Meanwhile, Ademola Lookman, their top scorer, is still sidelined with a thigh injury. Nevertheless, with Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata leading the line, they have a lethal attacking combination that could cause problems for Juventus.
Expect Gasperini to stick to his guns and go with his signature 3-4-1-2 formation at the Gewiss Stadium. The back three of Rafael Toloi, Berat Djimsiti, and Giorgio Scalvini will be tasked with keeping the Bianconeri at bay. While fullbacks Davide Zappacosta and Joakim Maehle will provide width and support in attack.
In midfield, Marten de Roon and Teun Koopmeiners will play the role of the double pivot, trying to gain control of the centre of the pitch. Mario Pasalic will act as the attacking midfielder, pushing forward whenever possible. The frontline of Muriel and Zapata can pose a serious threat on their day and will seek to get behind the Juventus backline.
But Atalanta’s defence remains a cause for concern. They have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight matches. With Dusan Vlahovic rediscovering his scoring touch for Juventus, they’ll need to tighten up at the back to secure a result.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Musso; Toloi, Djimsiti, Scalvini; Zappacosta De Roon, Koopmeiners, Maehle; Pasalic; Muriel, Zapata
Mattia De Sciglio is out for the season following his injury against Lecce and will miss out on Sunday. More so, Leandro Paredes is suspended, necessitating Massimiliano Allegri to make at least two changes to his starting XI.
The Bianconeri faithful will be glad that Dusan Vlahovic broke his scoring drought against Lecce and will hope he can end the campaign strong. The Serbian international doing so will hand Juventus a huge boost indeed.
Allegri is likely to go in with a 3-5-2 formation on Sunday, with Wojciech Szczesny in goal. The trio of Danilo, Gleison Bremer and Alex Sandro will form the backline with Juan Cuadrado and Filip Kostic functioning as the wing-backs.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfces) May 5, 2023
Nicolo Fagioli and Adrien Rabiot will flank Manuel Locatelli in central midfield. The Frenchman is likely to drift out wide to the left, linking up with Kostic to move into space.
Angel Di Maria should act as a mobile number 10, linking up with Vlahovic upfront. With Federico Chiesa and Arkadiusz Milik also available, Allegri has resources at his disposal to switch things around.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Sandro; Cuadrado, Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria, Vlahovic
- Atalanta and Juventus have faced off against each other 121 times in the Serie A so far. The former has won 13 games while the latter has come out on top 65 times. La Dea have drawn 45 Serie A games against Juventus, more than against any other side in the Italian top flight.
- A stalemate on Sunday will see Atalanta and Juventus draw three consecutive league games for the first time since 1991.
- Juventus have lost just one of their last 17 Serie A trips to the Gewiss Stadium.
- Atalanta have secured 16 points from their last seven Serie A games. This is the most of any side in Serie A.
- Duvan Zapata has scored six times against Juventus in Serie A since 2013, more than any other player during this timeframe.
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The South American striker is likely to lead Atalanta’s attack on Sunday in the absence of Rasmus Hojlund and Ademola Lookman. He has found the back of the net six times against Juventus in Serie A since 2013. This is the most any opposition has managed against the Bianconeri in this timeframe.
Zapata can be a handful on his day and should enjoy a night to remember if Atalanta manage to swarm Massimiliano Allegri’s men. As long as he is on form, the home side have a good shot at securing the win.
Atalanta BC 3-2 Juventus
Given what is at stake, both the teams are expected to get stuck in. Atalanta’s defensive frailties will give Juventus opportunities to score and it could ultimately develop into a goalscoring shootout.
Neither side can afford to lose, and the pressure is palpable. Juventus has been inconsistent this season, while Atalanta are on a roll. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men have shown fight and hunger in recent weeks. With home support to boot, they will be expected to come away with all three points on the night.
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