Atalanta travel to the capital on Saturday afternoon to take on Lazio in what will be a battle between two of Serie A’s entertainers, who tend to put on a show when they meet.
A repeat of last season’s Coppa Italia final, wherein Lazio emerged victorious with a 2-0 win in a close-fought game, La Dea will be looking for revenge safe in the knowledge that they are capable of causing their own problems for the Biancocelesti, as they had shown just ten days before that loss at the Stadio Olimpico by leaving with a 3-1 win in Serie A.
Goals can be expected
Atalanta ended the 2018/19 campaign as Italy’s top scorers and they’ve started this season on the same foot, leading the charts with 18 goals from their seven games so far – three clear of next-best Napoli
Though Duvan Zapata is sidelined, Luis Muriel’s summer signing means that the Bergamaschi do have another Colombian to call upon.
But their desire to score and take games to teams comes at a cost, and defensively Gian Piero Gasperini’s side are flawed. As exciting as their insatiable hunger for scoring can be, it often leaves them exposed at the back due to their willingness to throw defenders forward to aid the attacking efforts.
Atalanta have managed just one clean sheet this season across Serie A and the Champions League, which curiously came in a 2-0 win over Roma at the Olimpico, conceding at least once in every other game, including against Lecce, SPAL (2), Genoa and Sassuolo.
Goals have become a trend for the Bergamaschi at Lazio, too. They’ve scored in each of their last three trips to face the Biancocelesti in Serie A after failing to net in ten of the previous 13.
Lazio’s own goal getters
Any problems Lazio cause for Atalanta are likely to come courtesy of Ciro Immobile and/or Luis Alberto.
The Italian and Spaniard have developed an excellent understanding in Rome and everything Lazio do passes through them.
Immobile currently tops the Capocannoniere charts with seven goals to his name this season
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic like to meet La Dea too, though. He’s scored three times against the Nerazzurri, which is more than he’s managed against any other side.
European dreams on the line… again
Atalanta’s recent fairytales have been well documented. This season sees them play in the Champions League for the first time in their 112-year history as they’ve consistently overachieved under Gasperini and qualified for Europe for three-consecutive campaigns.
But Lazio, on the other hand, have come up a little short despite impressing under Simone Inzaghi, who has been in the job there as long as Gasp has in Bergamo.
They’re yet to clinch Champions League qualification and they’ll be hoping to finally do that this year.
Both will back themselves to make a push for the top four again, and the points taken from Saturday’s game could prove vital come the season’s end. It may only be October, but this is a game that could have an importance similar to their Serie A meeting last May.