05.03.2016 19:45 - in: Serie A S

      #AtalantaJuve: The numbers game

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      From previous encounters and two very different starts to 2016 to a peculiar Bianconeri-Nerazzurri connection, Juventus.com runs through all the key numbers ahead of Sunday’s encounter
      Back the Bianconeri in Bergamo

      Naturally, Juventus fans should back their team wherever they head on their travels but few grounds have witnessed the Bianconeri emerging victorious on more occasions than Atalanta’s Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia in recent times.

      From whichever angle you approach it, the history of this fixture leans entirely in the reigning champions’ favour. Beginning with a 1-0 victory in 1937 courtesy of Mario Bergonzini’s strike, Juve have won an impressive 61 of their last 107 away encounters with the Nerazzurri including all of the last eight.


      Alvaro Morata nets his first Juventus goal to set up an eighth consecutive victory in Bergamo

      And, if that run of defeats wasn’t enough, those 24 points seized from the grasp of Sunday’s hosts came at a cost of just as many goals, at a lofty average of three a game.

      What’s more, the Bergamo-based outfit have lost (61) and conceded (197) more times against Juventus than any other top-flight team. Doing the maths, we may well see a 200th Juve goal hit the Atalanta net this weekend… 

      Happy New Year?

      Often perceived as an opportunity for a fresh start and a new lease of life, the turn of this year has brought contrasting fortunes to the homes of Juventus and Atalanta.

      Beginning with the former, Massimiliano Allegri’s table toppers have won nine and drawn one of their ten fixtures in 2016, amassing a league-high 27 points in the process. Add to that a streak of eight consecutive Serie A clean sheets and it is clear to see that this has been a decidedly Happy New Year so far for the men in black and white. 

      Edoardo Reja’s Nerazzurri on the other hand have endured a torrid start to 2016 that has seen them add just six points to their tally (six draws, four defeats), fewer than any other side in the division.

      This rough patch stands in stark contrast to their promising beginning of the 2015/16 campaign that yielded four wins and two stalemates from their opening ten matches, one of which of course included a 2-0 defeat at Juventus Stadium in late October.

      Since then, Reja’s men have nonetheless slipped just four places in the standings to now find themselves in 13th. A run of 15 consecutive victories of course saw Juve rise from the same position to first place in the same period.

      The Nerazzurro-Bianconero connection

      While Simone Padoin may well be the most noteworthy in either match squad to have featured for both Juventus and Atalanta, making 122 appearances for the Bergamo-based outfit before completing the switch to Turin in January 2011, he is not the only one to have represented both clubs at some stage in his career. 

      Simone Padoin made over 100 appearances for Atalanta before swapping Bergamo for Turin in January 2011

      Joining Padoin in the friendly pre-match handshakes will be fellow ex-Nerazzurro Simone Zaza, a graduate of the club’s academy in March 2009, and ex-Bianconeri Marco Borriello, Guglielmo Stendardo and Andrea Masiello.

      Of those names, new arrival Borriello may well be the man to watch, having netted twice in his last three matches against Juventus, the most recent of which coming in his Carpi side’s 3-2 defeat in December.

      Goals and where to find them

      While the late strikes from Leonardo Bonucci and Alvaro Morata in last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Inter were crucially important in the context of the title race, they also served another rather more trivial purpose: Leo’s volley and Alvaro’s penalty took Juve’s second-half goals tally this term to 27, one more than Atalanta (26) have managed all season.

      If the Bianconeri are to add to that total on Sunday then it is likely that strike pairing Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic will have something to do with it.

      Despite going three games without a goal for the first time since arriving from Palermo in the summer, the former has had a hand in 21 (13 goals, eight assists) of his team’s 44 strikes this season, while the latter, like Morata before him in 2014, netted his very first Serie A goal against Atalanta earlier in the term. 

      As for the hosts, if they are to become the first team to penetrate the Juventus defence since Sampdoria on 10 January, they will undoubtedly rely once more on accurate deliveries from set-pieces.

      Not only have the Orobici attempted more crosses (549) than any other side besides Lazio (612) so far, they have also enjoyed a relatively high success from corners, a source of 19 per cent of their goals this season.

      Putting who and where tomorrow’s opener comes from to one side, it may well be the question of when it comes that decides the outcome of the match: Juventus are yet to drop a single point once they have taken the lead on the road this season, while Atalanta are yet to lose at home from a winning position.

      Which record will remain untouched come 17.00 CET tomorrow afternoon? 

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