STADIO ARTEMIO FRANCHI (Florence) – Atalanta delivered another of their specialities in Florence on Saturday as they overturned a 1-0 deficit to beat Fiorentina 2-1.
In doing so they capitalised on Roma’s loss at home to Bologna on Friday evening and put three points between themselves and the Giallorossi, temporarily consolidating their grip on fourth place ahead of welcoming the Eternal City side to the game village Bergamo next weekend.
Federico Chiesa put La Viola in front, but the Bergamaschi did what they do best and turned the game on its head to steal the points.
— ForzaItalianFootball (@SerieAFFC) February 8, 2020
The Goddess never knows when she’s beaten
By coming from behind though, Atalanta did what they’ve done so often.
Under Gian Piero Gasperini they’ve become Italy’s fairytale story, and so many of their successes have seen them come from behind to win.
Since Gasperini’s arrival in Bergamo at the beginning of the 2016/17 season, the Nerazzurri have accumulated 68 points from losing positions, which is more than anyone else not only in Italy, but across Europe’s top five leagues as well.
With this kind of attitude it’s no surprise that they’ve managed to balance competing in the Champions League and challenging at the top of Serie A yet again.
Gasperini has guided the club to fourth place, seventh place and third place in his three seasons so far, and they’re looking good for another European qualification this season, making it four consecutive years of doing so.
Serie A’s top scorers, and now they finally have a striker
Atalanta are a machine in front of goal, and they have been since the 2018/19 season.
After struggling to score until around October last term, Duvan Zapata then exploded into life and fired La Dea up the table.
They ended the campaign with 77 goals – seven more than champions Juventus and three more than the next best attack, Napoli – and they’ve picked up where they left off this season as well.
In 23 games they’ve already hit 61 goals, scoring seven against both Udinese and Torino, while they put five past both AC Milan and Parma.
Their tally of 61 is eight better than Lazio’s 53, 17 more than Juventus’ 44 and 13 more than Inter’s 48, despite the Old Lady and the Milanese side being level at the top of the table.
What’s most impressive about their goalscoring success this season is that they’ve spent most of the campaign without their best forward in Zapata.
The Colombian got injured on international duty in October, and only recently returned.
But his leveller in Florence was his eighth goal in 13 appearances this season, and it was the fifth of seven away games in which he’s scored.
Italy’s assist king
It’s impossible to talk about Atalanta without mentioning their captain Alejandro Papu Gomez.
The No.10 was up to his usual tricks again at the Franchi, even despite dropping deep into central midfield for most of the game.
He grabbed himself two assists, teeing up Zapata for the equaliser and offloading to Ruslan Malinovskyi for the winner.
His excellence is known, but somehow still undervalued.
What remains indisputable is that Atalanta would not have enjoyed anything resembling their recent successes without Papu’s contribution.