The race for European football takes centre stage in Serie A (SA) this weekend, as all teams ranked from second place to seventh in the standings take each other on with only six points separating them prior to the round! AC Milan play Lazio while Roma host Inter Milan, with those games kicking off the day before Atalanta tackle Juventus.
Atalanta have completely rejuvenated their SA campaign, with three victories on the bounce helping them earn 16 points from the last 21 on offer (W5, D1, L1). Their grit and determination was on full display in their gutsy 3-2 come-from-behind win against Spezia in midweek, although whether they can continue to simply outgun teams remains a concern, having kept only one clean sheet in their last 11 games.
The hosts will know it’s not always about how you start but how you finish, a sentiment that may be shared by their visitors Juventus who finally got back to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Lecce last time out after four failed attempts in SA (D1, L3). That result means the Old Lady aren’t in immediate danger of losing their coveted top-four spot should things not go their way this weekend, after their previously deducted points were recently reinstated.
Yet leaving the Gewiss Stadium with all three points would still be worth its weight in gold for Juventus, although they’ve gotten used to sharing the spoils lately in this encounter with eight of the last 12 league H2Hs ending with honours even, alongside two wins a piece. Nine of those matches also saw both teams find the net, meaning we could be in for a slugfest of a match!
Key battle: A battle made in South America is one to keep an eye on, with Atalanta’s Colombian ace Duván Zapata having scored eight goals in his last 11 meetings with Juventus, whose Brazilian defender Danilo will try keep him under wraps, while also having scored the last goal in each of the previous two H2Hs.
Hot stat: Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini has only won five of his 33 managerial H2Hs against Juventus (D10, L18).