Published On: Thu, Nov 21st, 2013

Atalanta Club Focus: A closer look at the main contributors to La Dea’s success

Atalanta LogoDuring the international break, it was to be expected that there would be a lack of action for me to discuss in my Club Focus article. With this being the case, I decided to take a closer look at some of the individual players that I feel have contributed largely to La Dea’s success so far this season.

Let’s start the conventional way, at the back. The first player I felt has been a key factor behind Atalanta’s current top half status is goalkeeper Andrea Consigli. The shot-stopper has featured in all 12 of the Nerazzurri’s Serie A matches so far this season.

In these 12 appearances, the Italian has managed to keep three clean sheets. A clean sheet every four games is an impressive stat for a club that is no more than a mid-table side at the moment.

On top of these clean sheets, he has made 45 saves to date. This averages out at being 3.75 saves a game which isn’t a bad stat especially when you also take into account that he has only conceded 15 goals. The goals conceded column looks good for La Dea supporters as it is less than both Lazio and AC Milan, and only one goal worse off than Fiorentina, who were seen as title contenders to many before the season commenced.

Keeping hold of Consigli could prove difficult for the Bergamo side however. Gianluigi Buffon is coming into the metaphorical winter months of his career and when he eventually hangs up his gloves Consigli could be next in line to replace the legendary keeper at international level and could spark interest form Juventus as well. His age of 26-years-old means he could well still play another 15 or so years as goalkeepers tend to.

The next player on my list is midfielder Luca Cigarini. This is a player who finally seems to be reaching the expectations set for him a few years ago. He has played 11 times in Serie A this season, finding the net one time himself and also assisting five goals for his side.

Cigarini - AtalantaBefore his second stint at Atalanta, Cigarini never really managed to settle down anywhere. Having had relatively unsuccessful spells at Napoli and Sevilla before resigning for the Nerazzurri. Should his current form continue, it could be hard for Atalanta to keep hold of him with Napoli having expressed their interest in bringing the midfielder back to the Stadio San Paolo already. He could also see himself breaking into the international set up, he is so far yet to be capped for the full side but has appeared for every age group from under 18’s up as well as competing for the Olympic side.

Now it’s time to look at a man who has been earning attention from all around Europe of late, as well as from all of the big clubs in Italy, with the exception of Milan it seems. That player is Giacomo Bonaventura. He hasn’t featured since October 20th when his side came out victorious over Lazio at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia.

Bonaventura is versatile, which works very well with the way Atalanta like to move forward with the ball. He has played on the left, right and behind the striker so far this season but seems to be most effective for his team when deployed on the left wing. In his eight games he has one goal and one assist.

He has started three times from the left, of these games La Dea have won two. He has played twice in the other two respective positions, with his teaming winning once in each case. His agent has hinted already that he may not be at the club for much longer having announced that Fiorentina, Inter, Lazio and Juventus have already confirmed their interest in his client.

It would seem wrong to wrap up this piece without discussing the man who is perhaps more integral than any to Atalanta’s success, Germán Denis. The big Argentine front man has been on form this campaign, scoring five goals and assisting one in his 11 games so far.

Like Cigarini, Denis is one who has flourished in Bergamo. He was more of a mediocre journeyman before his arrival at the club and it’s been a fit that’s comparable to a perfectly fitting glove. His happiest time before Atalanta was with Independiente where he netted 37 times in 70 appearances.

His Atalanta form hasn’t been much different, having scored 31 times in his 66 games.  His physical presence as well as his tendency to boss defenders around has earned him the nickname El Tanque, which tells you all you need to know about the man if you’re not familiar with him.

The 32-year-old has been capped five times for Argentina, which is not a bad record given the plethora of attacking options the South American side can boast of. His wardrobe-like build works very well in the style that Atalanta deploy. He can hold up a ball and bring the supporting, flair players into the game. Should the ball be out wide, Denis is always likely to win a header from a hopeful cross into the box.

If the Nerazzurri manage to keep hold of these players in January, and possibly add one or two to the squad either then or over the summer they could really make a push for the European places in Serie A.

Follow Conor Clancy on Twitter: @concalcio

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