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Apr 18, 2021 at 2pm UK
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

:Headline: 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.
Sports Mole

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

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.

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

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


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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Serie A Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CInter Milan36277282315188
2Atalanta BCAtalanta36229586424475
3AC Milan36236772413175
4Napoli36234983404373
5Juventus36219670353572
6Lazio352141061511067
7Roma36177126456858
8SassuoloSassuolo361511105955456
9Sampdoria36137164854-646
10Hellas VeronaHellas Verona351110144243-143
11Bologna361010164859-1140
12Udinese361010164152-1140
13Fiorentina36912154757-1039
14Genoa36912154354-1139
15CagliariCagliari3699184358-1536
16Torino35714144864-1635
17SpeziaSpezia36811174669-2335
18BeneventoBenevento36710193873-3531
19Parma36311223877-3920
RCrotone3553274290-4818
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CManchester CityMan City35255572264680
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3Leicester CityLeicester362061065442166
4Chelsea361810855332264
5West Ham UnitedWest Ham351771155451058
6Liverpool34169957391857
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs351681161412056
8Arsenal361671350381255
9Everton34167114642455
10Leeds UnitedLeeds35155155353050
11Aston Villa34146144941848
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves35129143547-1245
13Crystal Palace35118163759-2241
14Southampton35117174462-1840
15Burnley35109163347-1439
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35109164058-1839
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton35813143641-537
RFulham35512182547-2227
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom35511193268-3626
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3552281862-4417
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