Fiorentina v Atalanta

Atalanta v Fiorentina Match Preview, scouting and predictions


Atalanta and Fiorentina will attempt to push past generated by the midweek matches as they tangle while potentially key points are at stake.

  Serie A Week 29 – Saturday 17 March  2024 – Gewiss Stadium | Preview by Enrico Passarella



Atalanta haven’t gotten that slump-busting win in Serie A yet, but beating Sporting CP was a big morale boost. It can’t really be called a crisis since their recent schedule was brutal, as they faced Milan, Inter, Bologna, and Juventus, but, considering their previous form, they had hopes of winning at least one leg of the gauntlet. While they didn’t show up only versus Inter, although the result was larger than what transpired on the pitch, the skid puts them behind the eight ball a little.

On the other hand, the fifth Champions League spot being almost a lock removes some of the pressure. It’s obviously a lot easier to make up one point on Roma, with the head-to-head clash still to come, than seven on Bologna, albeit with a game in hand.

Yet, despite the prestige and windfall of the top continental competition, it feels like they’d gladly trade it for winning either the Europa League, which is worth a berth too, or the Coppa Italia to coronate their impressive multi-year run. The luck of the draw didn’t go their way, but they are no strangers to pulling off upsets. They’ll have another big team waiting if they somehow make it past Liverpool.

La Dea specifically built an extra-large attack to fend off any slump, and the gambit has worked even though their game-to-game lineup choices are hard to decipher. Charles De Ketelaere and Aleksey Miranchuk carried them while Ademola Lookman was away for AFCON and Gianluca Scamacca was hurt, and the last two are shouldering the scoring load now. El Bilal Touré might make his presence felt, too, if given the chance, as he has shown intriguing glimpses. While their weapons are lethal and well-assorted, what has been missing a little is the interplay between them. The two lefties have established a connection, while the others have played together too little to establish it. Their offense is already potent but could go up another level if they integrated those lethal triangles that leave defenders flat-footed.

Teun Koopmeiners has been the one constant throughout the season as he has grown completely comfortable in the no.10 role. He has had a weird trajectory in Italy, starting in a defensive-minded role and progressively advancing. Usually, the opposite happens to midfielders as they get older. While he still sometimes plays in a holding position since they have no depth there, it’s not hard to figure out that his shooting is one of his fortes and that the closer he’s to the box, the more threatening his passing prowess becomes, plus he has even become a good cutter despite not being an explosive athlete. Since he’s rumored to leave pretty much every week, the buyers will need to have clear ideas about where to put him to fully take advantage of his skill set, as he surely won’t be cheap.

Scamacca getting his groove back was much needed since they spent a big buck for him. They haven’t batted a thousand on the transfer market, but that would have been a hurtful whiff. Emil Holm needed some time, but his exuberance and physicality eventually won over Gian Piero Gasperini. He’s much more dangerous and unpredictable than Davide Zappacosta. Isak Hien might be their best pure man-marker, and they used him very well against Sporting CP. It’s a little weird they have been deploying him along with Berat Djimsiti, as they lose some agility when the latter plays as a braccetto, but the rotation was probably just dictated by fitness, as Giorgio Scalvini and Sead Kolasinac spend a lot of energy in each tilt. The fact that they have been able to survive Rafael Toloi not giving them anything this campaign is remarkable and a testament to the level of their other center-backs.

Even though it’s a game with massive implications for the standings, the two managers usually tackle challenges head-on and avoid being cagey. The opponents tried that for a stretch but went back to their usual ways once they racked up some disappointing results, so it should be a fun one.

Expected XI (3-4-1-2): Carnesecchi; Scalvini, Djimsiti, Kolasinac; Holm, De Roon, Ederson, Ruggeri; Koopmeiners; De Ketelaere, Lookman. 

Doubts: Djimsiti/Hien, Holm/Zappacosta, De Ketelaere/Scamacca.  


Fiorentina haven’t fully gotten back on track result-wise due to the unlucky draw against Roma and the more lackluster one versus Torino, but they have recaptured some enthusiasm after tumbling down in the standings. Beating a direct rival would have fueled legitimate Champions League aspirations, but taking it to them proved that they still belong in the race, removing legitimate doubts that were creeping in.

Vincenzo Italiano deserves a lot of the credit because he woke the team up with a bold tweak, moving Giacomo Bonaventura a few meters back on the pitch and deploying him along with Lucas Beltran, who’s a full-fledged no.10 now, and Andrea Belotti. The formation shouldn’t hold up defensively, especially if Arthur and not grittier players like Rolando Mandragora or Alfred Duncan is the other pivot, and instead it has, although in a very limited sample size they had all the pieces for just one or two fixtures. All things considered, they concede silly goals no matter how they line up, so they might as well raise the level of aggression while they are at it. Unfortunately for them, this solution won’t be viable in this one since the veteran is suspended, but they could perhaps test Antonin Barak in that role even though he has diverse traits.

Their main problem is that their level of play takes a significant hit whenever one of their cornerstones is absent because the backups either aren’t at an adequate level or have a different skill set. It’s natural to suffer a little when a star is missing, especially for a team that rarely splurges, but it shouldn’t happen any time a starter is out.

Considering Nicolas Gonzalez and Arthur’s ever-precarious health, their best lineup might see the light of day only a handful of times from here on out. Still, fielding Bonaventura in a defensive role is a loud enough message, and they have pulled the strings a lot more successfully in recent fixtures. Then, the feeling that they are always missing something to make the definitive leap and clearly state that they should be taken super seriously is always lingering and might be in the club’s DNA at this point.

They have so many balls in the air concerning the future, starting from Italiano, whose contract might even expire at the end of the season due to some clauses, to a plethora of players either on loan or on short-term deals, that it’s better for them to simply focus on the pitch without looking too much ahead, also because a lot would change planning-wise depending on how they finish the season.

Their campaign is already a decent success, although what Bologna are accomplishing has outshined many second-tier sides. It’ll be a smashing one if they achieve one of the three targets: winning either the Coppa Italia or the European Conference League, or qualifying for the Champions League. They need a trophy to wash away the bitterness of losing two finals in a row. The two legs of the semifinal against Atalanta will be no-quarter fights, and this will be a prelude. It’ll be a tremendous chess match between two fine tacticians that will span throughout 270 minutes.

Fiorentina might be headed for a significant overhaul and should rid themselves of players who no longer bring a lot to the table consistently, but most of their recent transfer market decisions have been correct. The flier they took on Andrea Belotti was precious as it allowed them to use Beltran, who doesn’t have the physique and isn’t clinical enough to be a pure no.9 but is classy and a weapon, in a role that’s more suited to him. Micheal Kayode and Luca Ranieri have grown leaps and bounds this campaign, and Riccardo Sottil has also been better than in the past. They have a solid base, but it’ll need to be solidified and spruced up with some gems if they want to go to the next level.

Expected XI (4-2-3-1): Terracciano; Kayode, Milenkovic, Martinez Quarta, Biraghi; Arthur, Duncan; Gonzalez, Beltran, Sottil; Belotti. 

Doubts: Martinez Quarta/Ranieri, Duncan/Mandragora, Sottil/Ikoné. 

Injury Report: Kouamé (malaria/conditioning) – Probable.
Christensen (meniscus tear).

Suspensions: Bonaventura. 



Atalanta Win – Over 2.5 Goals

Enrico Passarella

Contributor for @footitalia1 | Serie A | News, Transfers, Betting |