ATALANTA aim for a Serie A-best second-placed finish on Saturday when entertaining Inter Milan. Jack Lambden (@_JackL_) analyses the encounter.
Atalanta vs Inter Milan | Saturday 1st August 2020, 19:45 | Premier Sports
Despite the pursuit of a dream title win having disappeared a couple of games ago, both Atalanta and Inter Milan can be duly proud of the progress they have made this season, at the very least in making Juve’s crowning look rather underwhelming.
Atalanta in particular are a team that have attracted the eyes of Europe on them with their glittering football and attacking nature. The club were only promoted to the top-flight of Italian football in 2011 so the on-pitch rise has been nothing short of remarkable, linked to some very astute signings and the brilliant coaching of Gian Piero Gasperini which has them just three-goals shy of 100 for the season in Serie A and unbeaten since 20th January.
The experienced manager has spoken of his desire to finish the domestic season with a win and to overtake Inter as a result in the battle for the runners up slot so expect them to take the game to their opponents.
The recent positive form has all been achieved without top goalscorer Josip Illicic who bagged 21 goals in 35 appearances in the campaign before it was cut short by injury. Such is the dearth of talent at Gasperini’s disposal though, Colombian counterparts Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel have equally shared 38 goals between them across all competitions which, in a league containing Cristiano Ronaldo, has perhaps gone unnoticed at times.
I don’t see this being too straight forward for the Bergamo club however as Inter are certainly a tough nut to crack under Antonio Conte. The former Chelsea boss has transformed fortunes in the blue half of Milan from European embarrassments and domestic humblings to competing for titles again, much like the glory days under a manager who also used to coach Chelsea – a certain Mr Mourinho.
The 3-5-2 system appears to be suiting the squad that Conte has at his disposal and the players appear to be becoming more and more tactically astute as the weeks progress. The team have conceded less than a goal per game this season to boast the best defensive record in the division, none too surprising when you can line-up a combination of Diego Godin, Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni at the back.
Inter have hardly been shy going forward however, the wing-backs provided plenty of ammunition for Lukaku and Martinez up top who have formed a decent partnership which will surely only get better in the coming years.
Something which has help up both team’s title aspirations all season has been draws, combining for 19 stalemates between them. Draws are quite common in Italian football and I’m going to back it here in a game where it’s particularly hard to separate the sides. It’s best priced at 11/4 with Bet365 and is worth a point in my view.
Inter know that as long as they avoid defeat here they will secure second spot and carry the positive energy into their Europa League ties to come. Conte is one of the best tacticians in the game and will look to hurt Atalanta on the break as-and-when they can but will know, just like against Napoli during the week, that he can trust his defence to ‘do a job’ on one of the best attacking units in European football.
When La Dea and Inter met at the San Siro in January, the game finished 1-1 (odds of 8/1 available on a repeat of that here) or if you fancy a more high scoring encounter then 2-2 is backable at 11/1. They’ll be leans for me as it’s worth waiting for the team news with both squads sweating on a couple of injury concerns ahead of the match.
Atalanta vs Inter Milan – Draw (11/4 Bet365)