MX23RW : Tuesday, May 11 19:12:03| >> :120:4530:4530:
Apr 18, 2021 at 2pm UK at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia
AtalantaAtalanta BC
1-0
JuventusJuventus
Malinovskyi (87')
Gosens (78'), Malinovskyi (79'), Djimsiti (82')
FT(HT: 0-0)

de Ligt (72'), Bonucci (73'), Cuadrado (90+3')

Preview: Atalanta BC vs. Juventus - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Atalanta BC and Juventus, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Top-four rivals Atalanta BC and Juventus meet in a crucial clash on Sunday, with three points and a potential Champions League return at stake in Bergamo.

The pair - who both exited Europe at the last-16 stage this term - now convene in Serie A ahead of their Coppa Italia Final next month, when La Dea will play Juve at the iconic San Siro.


Match preview

Duvan Zapata in action for Atalanta on October 4, 2020© Reuters

Currently fourth in the Serie A standings - still only two points ahead of fifth-placed Napoli despite some outstanding form - Atalanta now face one of their toughest tests in the race for a place at Europe's top table, where they wish to dine for an unprecedented third year in a row.

After their 3-2 win over mid-table Udinese last week - in which striker Duvan Zapata registered his third and fourth goals from his last three league appearances - Gian Piero Gasperini's side are just a point behind this week's visitors to the Gewiss Stadium and have all their array of attacking stars operating near peak form and fitness.

While Colombian marksman Zapata has joined top-scoring compatriot Luis Muriel in returning to his lethal penalty-box ways - and has netted seven times in his previous eight games against Juventus - La Dea's Ukrainian creator Ruslan Malinovskyi has now provided five assists in his last three appearances.

Having struggled for opportunities earlier this term, amid fierce competition in the Atalanta offensive department, the man renowned for his thunderous left-footed strikes is ranked fourth on the list of goal-assisting midfielders in the top five European leagues this year and will surely prove a threat to Juve's rearguard on Sunday.

His team have certainly shone since the dawning of 2021, averaging 2.27 points per game this year - their best rate under Gasperini in the second half of a Serie A campaign. Furthermore, going into this weekend's action, theirs is the top-scoring attack in the top flight, with 71 scored so far.

Though their red-hot domestic form speaks for itself, in only two of the last ten games - against Verona and Sampdoria - have La Dea managed to keep a clean sheet. Though Gasperini's solution is to always out-score the opposition, this may not prove such a simple feat against Juventus.

Atalanta's last league success against the Bianconeri came as far back as February 2001 and, since then, their Turin counterparts have won 24 of the 32 games between the two in Serie A.

Juventus attacker Dejan Kulusevski pictured in February 2021© Reuters

While Juventus have now effectively abdicated their long-held title to Inter, they remain embroiled in a desperate battle for Champions League football and must keep their foot on the gas as they travel to Lombardy.

On Sunday, they face a side whom they have beaten just once in their last six games across all competitions, as the gap between two clubs of very different stature has continued to narrow.

Following a routine 3-1 success over Genoa last week, the Bianconeri remain just a point clear of Atalanta and only three above an unthinkable fifth-placed finish.

Though top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo - who misses out this week with a thigh injury - stole the headlines when throwing his shirt away after the final whistle and reportedly punching the dressing-room wall later on, young stars Dejan Kulusevski and Weston McKennie both netted to seal all three points.

Back-to-back wins have relieved some of the mounting pressure on head coach Andrea Pirlo - after his side previously picked up only a point from fixtures against struggling Benevento and Torino - and there have been some positive signs among the gloom.

Already boasting the joint-best defensive figures in the league (on equal terms with runaway leaders Inter), apart from the ill-fated debacle against Benevento, third-placed Juve have scored at least twice in each of their last six domestic outings.

Not only that, but they have also registered at least two goals in each of their last seven away games against Atalanta in Serie A - winning four and drawing three.

Atalanta BC Serie A form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Atalanta BC form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Juventus Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W

Juventus form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W



Team News

Juventus attacker Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Serie A clash with Benevento on March 21, 2021© Reuters

Amid a prolonged period of seeing key men missing out through illness, injury or indiscipline, Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo's selection troubles continue this weekend.

Star man Cristiano Ronaldo has suffered a thigh injury and sits out, with versatile defender Danilo only fit for the bench due to a toe injury. Meanwhile, Federico Bernardeschi is expected to remain absent with COVID-19.

Defensive pair Leonardo Bonucci and Merih Demiral have both recently been cleared to return from quarantine after a brush with the virus, with the former in contention to replace veteran colleague Giorgio Chiellini alongside Matthijs de Ligt in the Juve back four.

Meanwhile, Spain striker Alvaro Morata will join the elusive Paulo Dybala up front, in the rare absence of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Atalanta are relieved to have Italy international Matteo Pessina back in the fold following his time self-isolating with COVID-19 - like Bernardeschi, one of several Azzurri squad members to have been affected by an outbreak within the national team. Nonetheless, Mario Pasalic has deputised well in Pessina's absence and will hope to keep his place in support of the front two.

Prolific Colombian strikers Luis Muriel (18 goals, 6 assists) and Duvan Zapata (13) should start in attack, though Gian Piero Gasperini would revert to fielding a single centre-forward if he sets La Dea up in their previous 3-4-2-1 formation.

The highly-regarded tactician - rumoured to be a potential target for Juventus should Andrea Pirlo depart in the summer - has occasionally sent his team out with a four-man defence of late, so 10-goal wing-back Robin Gosens could start deeper on the left, with Rafael Toloi on the right.

Suspended loanee Cristian Romero will be unavailable against his parent club and long-term injury victim Hans Hateboer continues to rehabilitate, with Berat Djimsiti set to cover Romero's absence in the heart of the hosts' defence.

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Gollini; Toloi, Palomino, Djimsiti, Gosens; De Roon, Freuler, Malinovskyi; Pessina; Muriel, Zapata

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Cuadrado, De Ligt, Chiellini, Sandro; McKennie, Bentancur, Rabiot, Chiesa; Morata, Dybala


SM words green background

We say: Atalanta BC 2-2 Juventus

A mouthwatering encounter between two very different clubs now treading a similar path should produce a handful of goals on Sunday, as a draw does neither side any favours.

Napoli, Lazio and Roma remain on the Coppa Italia finalists' coat-tails in the race for the top four, so Atalanta's unremitting commitment to attack could be met by a less cautious Juventus outfit, who are under far more pressure to take the points.

Nevertheless, the Old Lady's abundant experience should be enough to fight back for a share of the spoils, with both teams' fate to be decided deep into next month.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


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How you voted: Atalanta vs Juventus

Atalanta BC
28.7%
Draw
24.3%
Juventus
47.0%
115
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Aaron Ramsey in action for Juventus on February 27, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CInter Milan35267279304985
2Atalanta BCAtalanta35219584424272
3AC Milan35226765412472
4Napoli36225978393971
5Juventus35209667343369
6Lazio34204106051964
7Roma351771163531058
8SassuoloSassuolo35151195852656
9Sampdoria35136164652-645
10Hellas VeronaHellas Verona351110144243-143
11Udinese361011154047-741
12Bologna351010154857-940
13Fiorentina35911154757-1038
14Genoa35812154154-1336
15Torino34714134857-935
16CagliariCagliari3598184358-1535
17SpeziaSpezia35810174467-2334
18BeneventoBenevento35710183871-3331
19Parma35311213876-3820
RCrotone3553274290-4818

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