Preview: Atalanta vs Napoli; With both clubs level on points who's going to grab this chance with both hands?
ATALANTA VS NAPOLI
Napoli will have revenge on their minds when they travel to the Gewiss Stadium for an Italian Serie A clash against Atalanta. The visitors will hope to get one over on Atalanta as payback for the crushing Coppa Italia defeat they suffered a week back.
The two teams are sitting on 5th and 6th positions on forty points each, with Napoli having a slight advantage due to better goal difference.
The Neapolitans did well to beat Juventus thanks to Lorenzo Insigne’s penalty, but it is well known that they produce much better showings at home than on the travels.
Gennaro Gatusso’s men still have plenty to play for this season as they continue their quest for a European finish. They are just two points off the UEFA Champions League places and are primed to put pressure on the teams above them.
Napoli lost the 1st leg of their Round of 32 Europa League clash 2:0 away to Granada on Thursday. They are on a poor form recently, winning just one of the last five games in all tournaments, defeating reigning Italian champions Juventus just before the trip to Spain. None of Napoli’s last eleven matches was won by the visiting teams, with the hosts triumphing in all but one of those.
🔙 A blast from the past 🆚 #Juventus
— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) February 12, 2021
Both sides faced each other just over a week ago for the 2nd leg of their semi-final Coppa Italia battle, when Atalanta eliminated Napoli with a comfortable 3:1 win.
Atalanta are arguably the most inconsistent teams in the Serie A this season. One of the most difficult teams to face on their day, they often struggle to replicate their good performances on a regular basis.
Atalanta recorded a slender 0:1 win away to Cagliari last weekend. The team is on a run of two back-to-back victories and unbeaten in four consecutive clashes. Atalanta’s only defeat for the last nineteen encounters across all tournaments came at home to Lazio when falling 1:3 down on the last day of January.
The Bergamo club have been in good form lately with just one defeat in their last 19 matches across all competitions. Among their impressive victories in that run was a 3-0 triumph against Serie A leaders AC Milan at the San Siro, while also knocking out Napoli in the Coppa Italia.
Joakim Maehle is back from injury and will start, while Remo Freuler could be rested this weekend ahead of Atalanta’s Champions League first leg tie with Real Madrid. Hans Hateboer is the only first-team player injured.
Atalanta Possible Starting Lineup: Pierluigi Gollini; Cristian Romero, Rafael Toloi, Berat Djimsiti; Joakim Maehle, Marten de Roon, Remo Freuler, Robin Gosens; Matteo Pessina, Josip Ilicic, Duvan Zapata
Injuries have not helped Napoli’s cause lately with Dries Mertens, David Ospina, Faouzi Ghoulam, Kalidou Koulibaly, Kostas Manolas and Herving Lozano all out of contention for Saturday’s clash.
Diego Demme, Faouzi Ghoulam, Elseid Hysaj, Kalidou Koulibaly, Hirving Lozano, Konstantinos Manolas, Dries Mertens, David Ospina and Andrea Petagna are all on the treatment table for Gatusso’s side.
Napoli Possible Starting Lineup: Alex Meret; Mario Rui, Rrahmani, Nikola Maksimovic, Giovanni Di Lorenzo; Tiemoue Bakayoko, Elmas; Matteo Politano, Fabian, Lorenzo Insigne; Victor Osimhen
Atalanta have multiple attacking threats with the likes of Luis Muriel, Duvan Zapata and Josip Ilicic able to find their way to goal. Muriel is the leading scorer with 13 goals and having scored in his last two Serie A matches.
Top performers for Atalanta this season have been Luis Muriel with 13 goals 3 assists, Duvan Zapata 8 goals 4 assists and Robin Gosens 6 goals 4 assists.
— Atalanta B.C. (@Atalanta_BC) February 18, 2021
With Dries Mertens and Hirving Lozano out injured for Napoli, a lot will be dependent on Lorenzo Insigne, who has found the net 10 times this season.
Top performers for Napoli this season have been Lorenzo Insigne with 10 goals 3 assists, Hirving Lozano 9 goals 2 assists and Matteo Politano 6 goals 2 assists.
Napoli struggled to create chances but made the most of Lorenzo Insigne’s penalty and were able to hold off Juventus in their 1-0 win in Naples on Saturday.
Napoli have a slight edge in this fixture with 16 wins from 45 previous meetings. Atalanta have been victorious 15 times while there have been 14 draws between both teams.
Atalanta left it late but ultimately defeated Cagliari despite a poor attacking display last weekend.
Atalanta have won the last two meetings at the Gewiss Stadium, including the 3-1 Coppa Italia triumph earlier in February.
Every detail seems to go in favour of Atalanta, who must be careful not to underestimate a side that is currently facing an injury crisis.
Hateboer should be the only absentee in the home team, which is yet another reason why Atalanta should be tipped as favourites at the Gewiss Stadium outfit.
FootTheBall says Atalanta 3-1 Napoli