One of the biggest matches of the midweek football schedule pairs Italian giants Atalanta and Juventus in the Coppa Italian. Followers of the beautiful game have been treated to some exciting cup games in recent weeks, including the FA Cup final. It’s now the turn of Italian football to put on a show and armchair fans expect a pulsating contest involving two teams who believe they are good enough to lift the trophy.
This game is scheduled for 20:00 GMT on Wednesday and will be shown live to a bumper European audience live on TV. It has already been a season to forget for Juventus supporters as they watched on in dismay as their club lost its grip on Italian football, forced to hand over the Serie A title to rivals Inter Milan, calling a halt to an extended period of dominance. Opponents Atalanta can finish second in the league and would love to add a Coppa Italia win to that success.
Atalanta and Juventus are no strangers to sharing the field of play for important matches, so there’s plenty for followers of the stats to go on. This will be the third game involving these teams this season, and there has been little between the pair in past meetings. The first match ended in a 1-1 draw at the home of Juve before Atalanta nicked a hard-fought 1-0 on their patch last month. Another competitive contest looks likely.
Atalanta blast out Napoli
The Coppa Italia returns for the first time since 10 February when Atalanta booked their place in the final. They did so by beating Napoli 3-1 to progress by the same score on aggregate. The first leg ended goalless a week earlier when Atalanta stood firm away from home to give themselves an advantage heading into the second leg. They were the home side for that game, and having set up strong foundations; they had no trouble kicking on.
Atalanta made light work of Napoli at home. They took the lead on 10 minutes thanks to an opening goal from Zapata, a strike that helped ease the nerves of his teammates. Pessina added a second less than six minutes later, scoring the first of two goals for him on the day. Napoli briefly fought back to make things interesting with a response early in the second half, but Atalanta wrapped things up with a goal from Pessina 12 minutes from time to wrap up the contest and eliminate their opponents.
In Serie A, Atalanta is second behind champions Inter Milan, sitting 10 points off the pace. They can’t catch the leaders, so their main aim in the closing games of the season is to win the Coppa Italia and finish as best of the rest. At present, they are involved in a four-horse race for the runners-up slot, battling against AC Milan, Napoli and Juventus.
Juventus fall apart in a historic season
What started as a historic season for Juventus quickly fell apart and will be remembered as a dreadful campaign. The Old Lady released their grip over Italian football. Not only have they handed their league title to Milan, but they may also end up losing out on a top-four finish in Serie A and miss a place in next season’s Champions League. Failure to land a spot in UEFA’s elite competition and the riches that come with it would be disastrous for a club of Juve’s size and expenditure. It could inflict long-term damage on the club unless the board are willing to dig deep into their pockets to fund the comeback.
Juventus were last seen in this competition-beating Inter Milan on 9 February. They scored a 2-1 advantage away from home in the first leg and were strong enough to protect that in the second, fighting out a tense but valuable 0-0 draw that was enough to see Juve progress. That wasn’t the first time we had seen the team take the lead and sit back to defend it. The club’s defensive record hasn’t been anywhere near as good as it has been in past seasons, but it was able to stand up to an onslaught that day.
In the Italian Serie A, we find Juventus down in fifth place with their stats for the season showing 22 wins and nine draws against six defeats, scoring 73 goals and conceding 37. They have won three and lost one of their last four games in that competition but will take confidence from taking six points from the last six available to them. Juve knows anything less than victory here would be disastrous for the club. The players believe they owe the fans a trophy to help make up for their league form and losing the title.
Atalanta vs Juventus prediction
A strong case could be made for both teams winning this match, and that’s the reason this will be a fascinating game. Atalanta has confidence in the ranks and will want to cap what has been a strong season with a trophy, giving their fans a reason to celebrate. They are higher than Juventus in Serie A and were the more impressive side in the previous round of the competition.
Juventus see this as an all-or-nothing match, knowing winning won’t fix what has been a dreadful campaign, but it would be a step in the right direction. They are still capable of finishing second in the league, closing the points gap on the champions and winning the trophy. It shows just how high the standards are at this club that most fans would view as a disastrous year.
Looking through the stats attached to this fixture, we note both teams have found the net in four of the last five renewals. Neutrals hope this renewal follows that trend, and there’s plenty of goals to cheer.
Coppa Italia odds
Atalanta is 2.496 to win this match while Juventus are 2.725 to claim victory. The draw can be had at odds of 3.5.
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