Atalanta will be hoping to reclaim second place on the Serie A table when they lock horns with Parma at the Stadio Ennio Tardini on Tuesday.
The games continue to come thick and fast in the Serie A, as the last of the top five European leagues comes to an accelerated end this week. The first match in the latest round of fixtures will pit two sides that are not really fighting for anything anymore, as Parma play hosts to Atalanta at the Ennio Tardini Stadium on Tuesday.
Parma have made improvements from last season, although it has been more of baby steps from the club. Roberto D’Aversa’s men are destined for a mid-table finish, having already improved on their tally from 2018/19. There is a chance that the Crociati could end their Serie A campaign 8th in the standings, especially with the team being in decent touch of late.
Atalanta, like Parma, have bettered their tally from the 2019/20 campaign and could finish an impressive second by the time the season ends this weekend. Gian Piero Gasperini has, at his disposal, one of the most exciting teams in the world, with La Dea scoring a staggering 96 goals. In order to finish ahead of Inter Milan, though, Atalanta need to win both games.
The reverse fixture, played at the Gewiss Stadium in January this year, saw Atalanta cruise to a 5-0 win over Parma, in what was a typically rampant display. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Serie A encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Roberto D’Aversa has a number of injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Atalanta. On Tuesday, the Parma manager will be bereft of the services of four first-team players, with Gaston Brugman, Hernani, Matteo Scozzarella and Andreas Cornelius all missing out.
D’Aversa should line his side up in a 4-3-3 formation once again, with Luigi Sepe taking his place in goal. In front of the him, Vincent Laurini and Matteo Darmian will likely be the full-back pairing, while Kastriot Dermaku will pair up with captain Simone Iacoponi at the heart of the Parma defence.
Up ahead in midfield, D’Aversa’s options are a bit thin, owing to the absence of Brugman, Hernani and Scozzarella. Jasmin Kurtic should, thus, be deployed at the base of the three-man midfield, with the 31-year-old looking to keep things tight in the middle of the park. Kurtic will receive defensive support from Juraj Kucka and Antonio Barilla.
The duo will also be looking to create overloads in advanced positions when the opportunity presents itself. As for attack, Gervinho will lead the line for Parma against Atalanta, with Gianluca Caprari and Dejan Kulusevski being the two wide men. The wingers will also be in-charge of providing the creative spark, while Gervinho’s movement will hold the key in the final third.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Sepe; Laurini, Iacoponi, Dermaku, Darmian; Barilla, Kurtic, Kucka; Kulusevski, Gervinho, Caprari
Unlike his counterpart in the Parma dugout, Gian Piero Gasperini does not have a whole lot to worry about in terms of the sheer number of players being unavailable. Having said that, the Atalanta manager will be without star forward Josip Ilicic, while Rafael Toloi is absent due to a suspension, incurred last time out against AC Milan.
Meanwhile, Gasperini is expected to make a few shuffles to his side as he seeks to keep his players fresh ahead of the return of the UEFA Champions League next month. However, first-choice shot stopper Pierluigi Gollini remains a certain starter between the sticks for Atalanta.
In front of him, Gasperini will likely continue in his trademark 3-4-2-1 formation. Jose Luis Palomino should come in for the suspended Toloi, with Berat Djimsiti and Mattia Caldara being his partners in the three-man central defensive unit.
Remo Freuler and Maarten de Roon will likely be the men deployed in the midfield double pivot once again, with the duo aiming for quick transitions. Robin Gosens, who has recently been named as a possible target for Chelsea, should continue as the left wing-back, but Timothy Castagne should come in for Hans Hateboer on the right flank.
Finally, in attack, the onus will be on captain Alejandro Gomez to provide the creative impetus. Gomez will be one of two attacking midfielders, with Mario Pasalic being his partner-in-crime. Luis Muriel should be the man to spearhead the Atalanta attack against Parma, with Duvan Zapata getting some rest.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Gollini; Palomino, Caldara Djimsiti; Castagne, Freuler, de Roon, Gosens; Pasalic, Gomez; Muriel
- Parma and Atalanta have faced each other 39 times in Serie A, with the head-to-head record being pretty even. Parma have won 14 games, with Atalanta coming away with all three points 12 times (D13).
- As far as meetings at the Ennio Tardini Stadium are concerned, Parma have the edge over Atalanta with 9 wins in 19 meetings (D7 L3).
- Parma’s last two goals at the Ennio Tardini Stadium have come from the penalty spot. Out of the 23 goals that they had scored at home prior to this run, just one had come via a spot-kick.
- Parma hold the record for seeing the most goals scored from substitutes in home games this season (9). On the other hand, Atalanta hold the season-record for goals by substitutes in away games (12).
- Atalanta have lost just one of their 18 Serie A games on the road this season (W10 D7). Only Inter Milan (40 points) have a better record than La Dea (37 points) in away league games.
Player to Watch
In a team that is so exciting and laden with several attacking stalwarts, you have to be something special to stand out. That is exactly what Alejandro Gomez is and has been for Atalanta for quite some time now. La Dea’s captain has been tremendously consistent for a few years now, but has managed to take his game up a notch this season.
In 34 Serie A appearances so far this season, Papu Gomez has a fantastic tally of 6 goals and 16 assists. Luis Alberto (15) is the only other player to have provided 10 or more assists this season. The beating heart of this Atalanta side, it goes without saying that the captain’s performance will hold the key against Parma on Tuesday.
Parma 1-3 Atalanta
This is a game in which neither side has a lot at stake. With both teams playing without any pressure, a free-flowing game should ensue. Having said that, Atalanta ought to be eager to nail down the second spot on the Serie A table. And, with Inter Milan taking on Napoli later in the day, it is possible that La Dea can end the latest matchday second in the standings.
Parma, though, should exploit the holes in Atalanta’s defence, although their own shortcomings at the back will constantly keep the visitors in the hunt. In the end, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men should have enough to grab all three points. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for Atalanta on Tuesday.