Juventus vs Atalanta: Match preview
After having faced and beaten Atalanta a few days after their postponed league fixture in the TIM Cup semi-final second leg, Juve will be looking to make it a second win over the visitors in a short time.
Juve moved a point clear of Napoli at the weekend after their 2-0 victory against Udinese, courtesy of splendid Paulo Dybala free-kick and an incisive finish from La Joya. Massimiliano Allegri’s men will be looking to widen the gap with the Partenopei, as they have the chance to go four points clear in the Serie A standings.
ATALANTA KEEP IMPRESSING
After last year’s remarkable fourth-place finish, Atalanta are still going strong under manager, Gian Piero Gasperini, having begun the calendar year winning four of their last seven league games, drawing twice and losing just once.
La Dea recently went out of the Europea League after narrowly losing to Borussia Dortmund 4-3 on aggregate, following two battling displays both in Germany and Italy.
Their last match saw the Orobici win 1-0 away at Bologna, as Martin De Roon scored late on in the 83rd minute to ensure that all three points were coming back to Bergamo.
LAST TIME VS ATALANTA
Juve and Atalanta recently played at the Allianz Stadium in the second leg of their TIM Cup semi-final. The Bianconeri took a 1-0 lead into the game having triumphed in Bergamo, courtsey of a Gonzalo Higuain goal in the third minute, with Gianluigi Buffon also proving decisive after saving a penalty from Papu Gomez.
It proved to be an equally tight affair in Turin, with the visitors going close when Gomez hit the post in a one-on-one with Buffon. However, it was ultimately the Old Lady who triumphed when Blaise Matuidi was fouled in the box and Miralem Pjanic stepped up to convert a 75th minute penalty to seal the game 1-0 on the night and 2-0 on aggregate.
Their last league encounter back in October saw Juve open the scoring in the 21st minute when Matuidi’s shot was palmed away by goalkeeper, Etrit Berisha into the path of Federico Bernardeschi to tap-in from close range. Just three minutes later and it was 2-0, as Bernardeschi turned provider, slipping an excellent ball into Higuain who slotted into the net. Atalanta pulled a goal back through on-loan Juventus defender, Mattia Caldara who was quickest to react to a Buffon save on a Gomez free-kick.
In the second half and Juve thought they had made it three when Mario Mandzukic got his head on the end of a Dybala cross, but the referee annulled the goal after a consultation with VAR, the home side then equalised on a Bryan Cristante header from Gomez’ ball into the box. However, drama wasn’t over as inside the last 10 minutes referee, Antonio Damato called for a Juve penalty when Petagna was adjudged to have handled Dybala’s free-kick. Berishia denied La Joya from the spot, becoming the first goalkeeper to save a Juve penalty from Dybala in-play and ensure that the match finished all-square at 2-2.
#JUVEATALANTA MATCH STATS
- Juve have scored in their last 30 matches against Atalanta in Serie A, averaging 2.3 goals a game.
- So far in 2018, Juve have won all their games in Serie A (eight), whilst scoring 17 goals and conceding none.
- The Bianconeri have scored the most direct free-kicks in the league (five).
- Juve lead the way on goals from set-pieces (19) and have scored nine from corners, their best ever.
- Andrea Barzagli's only two goals for Juve so far have both come against Atalanta, in 2012 and in 2016.
- Pjanic has made four assists in his last four matches against Atalanta in Serie A.
- Atalanta are unbeaten in their last seven Serie A away games, winning five and drawing two.
- Juve have the best shot percentage in the league, with 52% of their efforts on target.
- Higuain has seven goals in his last nine against Atalanta in Serie A.
- Papu Gomez (68) and Douglas Costa (67) are the two players in the league with the most successful dribbles.