Analysing the Atalanta Attack

MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 19: Duvan Zapata of Atalanta BC looks on during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Atalanta and Valencia CF at San Siro Stadium on February 19, 2020 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Atalanta were once again proving to be the darlings of Italian football before the sport’s postponement due to COVID-19. Gian Piero Gasperini’s electric squad and passionate fan base caught the hearts of those in Bergamo and all around Europe. A large part of this, of course, is Atalanta’s impressive strike force.

The Atalanta Strike Force

Serie A

Atalanta are on target for yet another Champions League appearance next season. They sit fourth in the Serie A table, three points ahead of AS Roma with a game in hand as well.

The team has scored 70 goals in 25 matches, ten more than the nearest competitor in Lazio. What makes this stat even more eye-opening is that their leading scorer sits 12 goals behind the league’s leading scorer.

This leading scorer is none other than Josip Iličič. The Slovenian has enjoyed much of his career in Italy but reached new heights with Atalanta. He currently has 15 league goals and eight assists. He also scored in a single cup appearance.

Right behind him is Luis Muriel. The Colombian was brought in over the summer in a shrewd move to prepare for their groundbreaking Champions League campaign. Muriel has found the back of the net 13 times. He’s not even considered Atalanta’s main striking option, however, as this title belongs to fellow countryman Duván Zapata who has scored 11 times while assisting on six occasions.

Those three players are part of the top ten scorers in Italy. Another 22 goals belong to four different players. This includes defender Robin Gosens, star man Papú Gomez, former Chelsea and AC Milan midfielder Mario Pašalić and Ruslan Malinovsky.

Atalanta, although spoiled with attacking talent, divides the share equally which in turn creates one of the most spectacular free-flowing attacks in recent Serie A memory.

Champions League

Coming into their first appearance, not many of Europe’s elite anticipated Atalanta being as good as they are. Simply put, much of Europe was wrong. La Dea were off to a rough start but finished second in their group behind Manchester City. Their attack lagged, and only managed eight goals in six matches.

The Round of 16 was a completely different story. Atalanta once again scored eight goals, but in only two matches, en route to an aggregate score of eight to four over Valencia.

Iličič has once again led the pack, with five goals in the competition. Pašalić and Hans Hateboer have combined for four goals (two each), and seven different players have scored once. Once again, Atalanta has succeeded through spreading the wealth.

When football can resume, expect Atalanta to continue to fire on all cylinders.

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