Against all the odds, Atalanta had a successful 2019-20 season. They reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, in addition to securing 3rd place in the league. Gian Gasperini’s men have played a fluidic system and with a few signings in the transfer market, they have given the big boys a run for their money. So the only real question is, are Atalanta a one-season wonder or can they continue to deliver the goods?
Atalanta have so far signed Aleksey Miranchuk and Mario Pasalic, who are expected to strengthen the midfield. Simone Muratore, Cristian Romero and Cristiano Piccini will look to provide cover in defence. They have also signed Anwar Mediero from Barcelona. He is a prospect for the future, though he will be immediately available to Gasperini for the first-team.
They, however, did lose Timothy Castagne to Leicester City but for Atalanta, that is what has fuelled their transfer business so far. Latest speculation remains on whether they will be signing a striker, depending on Josep Ilicic’s future.
Atalanta’s biggest strength has no doubt, been their tactical organisation. The fact that Gasperini was able to do so much more with so less resources speaks for itself. The team from Bergamo scored 96 goals in 38 league games while playing with attacking full-backs and mobile central midfielders. They were also the 4th best defence, conceding 48 goals. So all in all, the players keeping their faith in the system and making it work has got to be the greatest positive.
Atalanta much like so many small teams has relied on their core set of players to get the job done. In attack, it has been Papu Gomez and Zapata. In midfield, it has been Pasalic and De Roon. In defence, it has been Toloi, Hateboer and Gosens. So, if these players were to suffer fatigue and injuries, there is not enough quality cover to provide the same impact that these names do.
Ageing like fine wine, captain Papu Gomez is the one to watch out for. A model citizen who leads by example, Papu Gomez scored 7 goals and 16 assists in 38 games last season. With the knowledge and ability to play anywhere across the frontline, he will look to get into the tight spaces and unlock defence with his quick movement and one-touch passing.
Predicted table finish
5th Place: Despite landing the fairytale story every club dreams of and having positives, there is a level of doubt on whether the club can achieve the same objective. A sense of isolation will set in, but Atalanta are definitely going to be playing like a club with nothing to lose.
Do check out: