In spite of their strong 2013/14 campaign which saw Atalanta finish in a respectable 11th, the Nerazzurri had to very much depend on their home form in order to secure their position and subsequently end up only a few places off a European spot.
With last year’s away record reading four victories, two draws and 13 defeats, a turnaround was needed on the road if Stefano Colantuono’s men wanted to establish themselves as a Serie A outfit for a fourth consecutive campaign.
And they kicked off their season outside of Bergamo with a 2-1 triumph at Cagliari midway through September, thanks to goals from former Bianconero Marcelo Estigaribbia and on-loan Juventus striker Richmond Boakye.
But three consecutive losses followed as Inter (2-0), Sampdoria (1-0) and Udinese (2-0) all registered comfortable victories over the Nerazzurri with Autumn beginning to take hold.
November proved to be a barren month for Atalanta in terms of goals, recording three successive 0-0 draws away at Torino, Sassuolo and Empoli. These stalemates, however, could ultimately prove priceless come the end of the campaign as they look to steer themselves once again away from the relegation zone.
Colantuano’s charges succumbed to a 3-0 defeat away at Lazio during the sole encounter of December with the turn of the year providing the promise of wiping the slate clean and getting back to winning ways.
And their encounter with Genoa in Liguria certainly looked like that could be the case as strikes from Davide Zappacosta and Maxi Moralez saw them race into a two-goal lead, their first goals on the road since September. The somewhat healthy advantage proved to be a false dawn, however, with the hosts pegging them back and ultimately registering a 2-2 draw.
Despite that disappointment, the following game away from Bergamo was memorable as German Denis’ solitary strike ensured a 1-0 success over 18-time Scudetto winners Milan at the San Siro midway through January.
But they were brought straight back down to earth when Hellas Verona ran out 1-0 victors at the end of the month. The maiden meeting of February then saw Fiorentina edge the Nerazzurri in a five-goal thriller, Colantuano’s team losing 3-2 at the Stadio Artemio Franchi following Manuel Pasqual’s late winner.
Having only triumphed twice on the road all season, it may be a backs-against-the-wall job for Atalanta who will look to somehow grind out a result on the reigning champions’ own patch come Friday evening.