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Taking Serie A and the Champions League by storm this season, Atalanta (Italy) is one of the best teams in Europe.
Their success has seen them win games by as much as a seven goal win margin, on multiple occasions, giving them the best Goal Defecit in Serie A (+43). Led by their striker, Josep Ilicic, and others including Papu Gomez, Luis Muriel, and Duván Zapata, Atalanta sits comfortably at 4th and are in the last 8 of the Champions League.
Their manager, Gian Piero Gasperini, has shown his brilliance in putting together one of the best teams in Europe, even without the luxury of high finances and world-class players.
Atalanta has resorted to using a 3-4-1-2 (variation of the 3-4-2) formation. This is partly due to the high-quality center-backs – Palomino, Djimsiti, Caldara, and others – who are very comfortable playing with the ball. Their midfield is of the highest caliber, with the wing-backs – Castagne, Gosens, Hateboer – providing the necessary width and covering significant distance on the wings. These three have contributed to 22 goals (goals+assists).
Their play on the wings has become very important, as Atalanta look to utilize the middle, where their forwards dominate. In the middle, De Roon whose sheer energy assists in transitions from defense to attack and vice versa is an important factor in the team’s success.
But the main attraction of Atalanta’s team lies in their attacking prowess. With the combination of Zapata, Muriel, Ilicic, and playmaker Gomez, Atalanta has dominated and been a constant problem for opposition defenses. They have scored 7 times in three games, and scored a staggering 82 goals, more than anyone in the league.
Their performance in Europe got off to a slippery start, as they lost their first three games, but became just the second team to still qualify for the knockout rounds. However, they proved their worth in their round of 16 draws against Valencia, winning 8-4 on aggregate.
With nine more Serie A games left for Atalanta – one against Juventus and Inter – and the final stages of the Champions League yet to be played, Atalanta will look to continue their dominant performance, and hopefully come out with some silverware.
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