Match preview: Atalanta – Bologna

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What can I write to describe the season so far? After the slow start we’re finally performing like Donadoni wants us to perform. We’ve got three consecutive wins against Sassuolo, Genoa and Spal, and today around five o’clock its hopefully four consecutive.

From the last match we will have to change at least one player, with Ibrahima M’baye being injured. Additionally, Saphir Taïder is also injured, while Domenico Maietta is back in the squad. Interesting to see the inclusion of 19 year old Giordano Trovade in the squad as well, big day for him.

It looks like a lot of our players that have been injured finally are recovering, as Roberto Donadoni said:

A week is starting when I’ll need everybody. Other than Taider, Maietta and M’baye, everyone is in good shape.

This is really promising going into a tough run of games. After Atalanta, Lazio comes to the Dall’Ara on Wednesday, before we play against Roma on Saturday. Donadoni needs to rotate the team this week to avoid getting any new injuries. Come Saturday night, we will have a much clearer idea of where we are this season.

Atalanta:

Our opponent was the true surprise last year finishing in fourth place, playing really attractive football throughout the season. The work they’re doing in Bergamo is admirable, and especially their youth development and the trust they put in their young players is fantastic. Anyhow, this season has been tougher for them, and they are currently sitting in 12th place. As many predicted before the season, Atalanta has struggled to keep up the performance from last season. They lost several of last season’s integral players during the summer, among them Franck Kessie and Andrea Conti. However, the season has not been all bad for La Dea, as they’ve performed well in the Europe League, beating Everton and Apollon, drawing against Lyon.

Expected line-ups:

Atalanta: Berisha; Masiello, Caldara, Palomino; Hateboer, Cristante, De Roon, Spinazzola; Gomez, Petagna, Ilicic

Bologna: Mirante; Krafth, Gonzalez, Helander, Masina; Poli, Pulgar, Donsah; Verdi, Palacio, Di Francesco

I am expecting an exciting match today in Bergamo. We’ve been performing well all season, and the three victories on the bounce has catapulted us upwards. However, all victories this season have come against teams in the bottom half, and this match will be a tougher test, despite Atalanta being 12th. Atalanta are still a strong team, something their performances in the Europa League proves. Up until now we’ve performed well against the upper half teams in Napoli, Inter and Fiorentina, but we’ve not got what we wanted or deserved from the games. Hopefully this changes today with a good display from the team.

For me, we have got to up our game if we want to continue our run of victories. All our wins this season have come by a one goal margin against considerably weaker teams. Especially Genoa and Spal did not play well, and we should have won by more. Conceding late on against Spal made the match more exciting than it should have been.

What has impressed me most this season is our defence. Last year we lost a lot of points during the last fifteen minutes of a lot of games, but this trend is gone this year. The acquisition of Gonzalez has proved to be key to this, and his partnership with Helander has been great to watch. Knowing that we’ve also got De Maio and Maietta waiting in the back, really gives me comfort going into the rest of the season. Hopefully the good defensive displays will continue today.

Really looking forward to see the front three of Di Francesco, Palacio and Verdi today. They’ve all played well this season, and if they all have their day they can really cause havoc among the opposition defence. Hopefully they’re all on fire today.

#rossoblù

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