JUVENTUS VS ATALANTA PREVIEW & PREDICTION
A new Scudetto still beckons for Juventus, but then Napoli will have to pay. The team from Turin is currently conquering the victories and hoping for a misstep from the last challenger. The game against Atalanta Bergamo simply has to be won.
Juventus played last week 2-2 against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, which was a disappointing result as the Italians lost a 2-0 lead, but in Serie A the team of Massimiliano Allegri is no longer on a misstep to catch. At the beginning of December, the Oude Dame still played 0-0 against Internazionale, but then the champion candidate made only victories. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Juventus gives away almost nothing in terms of opportunities. In eleven of the last twelve league matches the zero was held and that may rightly be called a dizzying statistic. Hellas Verona is the only team that recently managed to score against Juventus, but that did not seem to frustrate Allegri’s team. The match was won with 1-3. Juventus will now work with a lot of confidence to the duel with Atalanta Bergamo. A salient detail, however, is that Juve failed to win in the last two games against Atalanta. Twice the points were shared.
Last week, Juventus once again showed that solidity is an asset. In the city derby against Torino the underdogs had the feeling that there was something to be gained, but after ninety minutes of football there was really a 0-1 final score on the board. Alex Sandro opened the score after 33 minutes and then Torino failed to prevent the loss. No surprise since Juventus only got fifteen goals in 25 games.
Allegri will probably make some changes for the showdown with Atalanta. Gonzalo Higuain and Filippo Bernardeschi did not get out of the fight last week and Allegri will not take any risks. Mario Mandzukic is back again. The experienced Croatian missed the last race because of the flu, but on Sunday he is expected to kick off again. That is probably also true for Paulo Dybala. The Argentinian recently had to deal with physical discomfort, but he is now fit enough to play ninety minutes.
Atalanta Bergamo was the revelation of Serie A last season and that resulted in a ticket for the Europa League. This year, the team of trainer Gian Piero Gasperini runs well again, but a repeat of last season is probably a bit too high and that is certainly no shame. Atalanta Bergamo is currently in eighth place and still has a view of the lake as the sixth place is only three points. Midweeks there was unfortunate farewell to the Europa League, but in the Serie A Atalanta runs pretty smoothly. Sassuolo and Chievo Verona were defeated and the points were recently shared with Crotone and Fiorentina. That equal game against Crotone was actually the only disappointing result of the last weeks. Last week Atalanta played with 1-1 draw against Fiorentina. The visitors from Florence quickly reached a 0-1 lead, but then it was Andrea Petagna who restored the balance on the scoreboard.
Thursday evening Atalanta Bergamo got a good chance to reach the next round of the Europa League with a stunt. The Italians had narrowly lost 3-2 at Borussia Dortmund, but that result did offer prospects for the game for the home crowd. Rafael Toloi opened the score after eleven minutes of football and that 1-0 on the basis of the goals would have been enough to reach the next round, but by the end of the game it went wrong. Marcel Schmelzer mourned the stadium by working the equalizer in the 83rd minute against the ropes. The competition has cost a lot of energy and it will now be difficult to show the best potential against Juventus on Sunday.
For Gasperini it is also a question of how his men have consumed the midweek duel. The injury list is currently very short, but the practice master could opt to make some changes due to the busy schedule. Luca Rizzo is the only player of whom it is certain that he will not take action, but that will not affect the performance of Atalanta Bergamo. The 25-year-old midfielder did not play a single minute this season.
PREDICTION: Both teams to score / NO @ 1.58