Napoli – Atalanta Bergamo: Napoli Hit A Major Hurdle With Atalanta’s Visit (2-3)
Amid a busy schedule, two of Serie A’s main draws came to a head. In matching Atalanta’s formation, Napoli pulled the usual manoeuvres, to varying success, to try to exploit Atalanta’s man-marking. But it was some of the usual suspects who popped up to give Atalanta the edge in a battle where isolated moments were decisive to the outcome.
Tactical analysis and match report by Julian Chingoma.
At the top of the Serie A table, a clear tier of top sides had been established. Only seven points separated first from fourth with a decent cushion from those outside the top four. Entering this fixture, Napoli and Atalanta, both sitting behind the Milan clubs, comprised half of these sides at the forefront of the Scudetto race. After setting the pace early on, Napoli were now two points off the lead. Not far off them were Atalanta, who trailed by five points and were beginning to chip away at the leaders.
There was plenty of rotation for Luciano Spalletti as he shifted from Napoli’s usual 4-3-3 shape to more mirror Atalanta’s often-seen 3-4-3 formation. David Ospina was behind Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Amir Rrahmani and Juan Jesus. The midfield line had Kévin Malcuit, Piotr Zieliński, Stanislav Lobotka and Mário Rui while the attackers were Hirving Lozano, Dries Mertens and Elif Elmas.
Gian Piero Gasperini stayed with their 3-4-3 shape with Juan Musso in goal. The back three was José Palomino , Merih Demiral, and Rafael Tolói. The wing-backs, Joakim Mæhle and Davide Zappacosta flanked the duo of Remo Freuler and Martin de Roon. And continuing in attack, Matteo Pessina . . .