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Thursday September 24 2020
The sky's the limit for Atalanta

La Dea have maintained the core of the side that drew plaudits both at home and abroad last season, and Owen Diana believes they can do even better in 2020-21.

The dawn of a new campaign is always exciting for any football fan, but that is especially true when your team has resided in dreamland for the last two years. Consecutive third-placed finishes and a trip to the Champions League quarter-finals were unprecedented for Atalanta, but they seem well placed to follow up those historic feats with further success in 2020-21. Finishing in the top four and reaching the knockout stages in Europe’s premier cup competition should be the minimum aim. However, a tilt at domestic and continental glory is not out of the question.

As La Dea lack the financial might of an established elite club, they could have been forgiven for undertaking a fire sale of their top talent this summer. Yet, they have held onto all the key members of Gian Piero Gasperini’s juggernaut, with utility man Timothy Castagne the only notable departure.

Without breaking the bank, the Northerners have also reinforced smartly all over the pitch. Cristiano Piccini and Cristian Romero strengthen a rearguard that was the country’s fifth-best last time out, while rapid left wing-back Johan Mojica is the third Colombian on the books. Further forward, ex-PSV hit man Sam Lammers should provide crucial respite for Duván Zapata.

The most expensive signing was creative midfielder Aleksei Miranchuk, who arrived from Russian Premier League outfit Lokomotiv Moscow for €14.5m. The lanky 24-year old is an astute operator and is especially dangerous when cutting inside onto his wand-like left peg. He seems the perfect long-term replacement for Josip Ilicic, but the veteran Slovenian could ultimately prove to be the best off-season “purchase”.

After destroying defences up and down the peninsula for much of last season, Ilicic was on the periphery of proceedings post-restart before disappearing from view following the visit to Juventus on July 11. Personal problems caused the former Fiorentina and Palermo technician to miss out on the final six Serie A matches and the crunch tie against PSG. La Dea’s cruel elimination at the hands of the French champions could have played out very differently had the Balkan maestro been involved.

Ilicic will likely be brought back to competitive action slowly after returning to full training a few weeks ago, but Atalanta are experienced enough to make up for his absence. They are now accustomed to dealing with a crowded fixture list and are unlikely to slip up like they did early on in their maiden Champions League group stage adventure. Furthermore, they are well versed in Gasperini’s daring 3-4-1-2 system and should have no trouble recouping their high-octane brand of football from the first whistle.

That stability will be a boon to La Dea as they look to make up the five-point gap that separated them from Juventus last term. The Old Lady made a promising debut under new manager Andrea Pirlo, but it remains to be seen how the rookie tactician handles the pressure in Turin.

Meanwhile, Inter have bought well under Antonio Conte and promise to be serious contenders once again. Atalanta will be lying in wait if those two giants slip up, however, and a first-ever league title would represent the final step in this humble club’s rise from relegation candidates to the very top of Italian and European football.

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Have your say...
If they can reduce the number games in which they outplay/out shoot the opposition yet somehow manage to lose, then they have a great chance, particularly because they are relatively unchanged from last season. On this basis I also expect Napoli and Milan to also to be a lot stronger this campaign. It promises to be a great season.
on the 25th September, 2020 at 8:41am
Pity they couldn't get Thiago Silva for a year. He and Romero might help sort out their ropey defence

The goalkeeper isn't great either

But they've held on to their best players so far and added a few decent signings

22m for Castagne was pretty good considering he was often a sub. But they may need to replace him

They should be good for another top 4, and if it all clicks, they could even win it

Though it seems last season was the time to catch Juve - but amazingly none were good enough
on the 25th September, 2020 at 4:13am
Soon they will be back to mid table, after they sold their players and Gasperini retired
on the 25th September, 2020 at 3:40am
I think Bilan will be destroyed by Atalanta this season. In the end, Atalanta take 3rd or 4th spot and Bilan again in Europe League. Bilan in the gutter! LMAO
on the 25th September, 2020 at 3:35am
Seeing Atalanta winning the league would be a cherry top of this fairytale. However, I don't think Conte's gonna let anyone else do it, not even Rubentus - otherwise, he should, not just resign from Inter, but from football in general!
the biggest outsiders, who have REAL CHANCES to win it are definitely Napoli, but ONLY if they hold on to Koulibaly, then it's Milan, who ould, perhaps, also bring their own fairytale in the headlines!
Anyways, it's gonna be one of the best seasons in many years
on the 24th September, 2020 at 8:19pm
Juventus Inter Milan will win scudetto. Outsiders are Atalanta Lazio AC milan. Top 4 Juventus Inter Milan Lazio Atalanta OR AC Milan or Napoli. AC Milan and Napoli will compete for top 4 so Atalanta will get top 4 or top 6.
on the 24th September, 2020 at 3:33pm
My bet for next season:

Juventus
Inter
Napoli
Atalanta
Milan
Roma
Lazio
Fiorentina


I hope Atalanat soon finish their new stadium and the rest of the clubs build too.
on the 24th September, 2020 at 12:29pm

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