Winless Atalanta host group toppers Manchester City on Wednesday as they look to get their first points on the board in their inaugural Champions League campaign. It will be a tough ask for Gian Piero Gasperini’s men after a 5-1 thrashing in the reverse fixture in Manchester, however with Pep Guardiola’s side taking on Liverpool on Sunday, rotation could play its part and into the hands of this Atalanta side.
Atalanta v Manchester City – Champions League
Venue: San Siro
Kick Off: 20:00
TV Channel: BT Sport 3
In an exciting encounter in Manchester, Atalanta and Manchester City both showcased their attacking intent, as the mismatch in formations, as well as open defences, made for an exciting spectacle. An 11 minute second half hat trick from Raheem Sterling saw off Gasperini’s side in a 5-1 win, but both sides enjoyed plenty of chances throughout, showcased by the expected goals (xG) achieved within the game. City racked up an impressive 4.35, whilst Atalanta themselves impressed with 1.91.
Both sides have shown their attacking prowess throughout the season, however it is Atalanta’s defensive frailties that are more worrying than City’s heading into this tie, and as showcased in their three group defeats so far, as well as a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Cagliari on Sunday, they are left exposed by their high wing backs, coupled with a lack of mobility at times at the back. Although Guardiola may rest a number of key players ahead of the trip to Liverpool, it is hard to see past the Citizens for this game, and goals should be the order of the day once again.
The creative talents of Alejandro Gomez and Josip Ilicic are certainly worth looking out for Atalanta, whilst Marten De Roon has a big role to play in central midfield, particularly against City’s high press. Duvan Zapata is expected to miss out once again, however Luis Muriel has shown himself to be a more than adequate replacement, and should lead the line for Gasperini’s side.
Manchester City left it late against Southampton on Saturday, with Kyle Walker netting the late winner. Atalanta will offer a completely different proposition, particularly in defence, as there will be space for City’s attacking talent to exploit.
Atalanta remain without star striker Duvan Zapata as their only injury concern.
Phil Foden is suspended for City, whilst David Silva is a doubt after limping off against Southampton. Zinchenko, Rodri, Laporte and Sane are long-term absentees.
Head to Head:
Atalanta Wins – 0
Draws – 0
Manchester City Wins – 1
Manchester City have scored 34 goals in 11 league games this season.
Raheem Sterling has 4 goals in 3 Champions League Games
Atalanta have scored 30 goals in 11 Serie A games, averaging 20.5 shots per game
Atalanta Last 5 (L D W L D)
Manchester City Last 5 (W W W W W)
Certainly a tough game to find value in given the short prices on goal markets and question marks surrounding Guardiola’s team selection, there are two main avenues to look at.
Despite the fact City will be looking ahead to Sunday, they showed their class in the reverse fixture, and are primed to take on the press and open nature of Atalanta’s side and tactics once again. Priced at 13/10, Manchester City and both teams to score definitely takes interest as a market worth exploring. Their depth in the attacking areas stands out, meaning that whomever Guardiola chooses, they will be well equipped to get on the score sheet. Atalanta have netted 30 goals domestically this season, and their front three created plenty of chances at the Etihad. Coming up against the stretched City backline, it is hard to see Atalanta also failing to score, and as a result I’d take on the above market.
With goals expected, picking out an anytime goal scorer is of interest, particularly from the Atalanta side. Luis Muriel has been in impressive form this season with eight goals in nine league games, and priced at 17/10, there is value in the Colombian striker doing so once again. His ability to exploit spaces in behind, as well as take on defenders, means he is well suited when up against the likes of Otamendi and Fernandinho at the back, and as a result represents an interesting option, especially when City’s front three are all odds on.