Cagliari v Atalanta – Sardinia Arena at 20:00 GMT live at Eleven Sports
Atalanta sit just one point outside the Champions League places in Serie A having played out a second remarkable 3-3 draw with Roma last weekend in an absorbing encounter in Bergamo.
Trailing 3-0 shortly before half-time, La Dea were rewarded for their enterprising battling efforts with a point to keep them within striking range of the top-four teams in Italy. It’s a stunning achievement from a club with a wage bill roughly one quarter the size that of Roma.
What’s more, Atalanta are just one of only two teams to have taken points off Juventus this season and showcased their tag as Serie A’s ‘great entertainers’ to wonderful effect last weekend. Undeservedly three goals down, the fearsome trio of Josip Ilicic, Duvan Zapata and Papu Gomez inspired the hosts’ comeback.
On the face of it, the match appeared to be a stereotypical game of two halves but head coach Gian Piero Gasperini dismissed such narratives post-match, when saying “We made lots of avoidable mistakes in the first-half, let’s be clear. But we played with the right attitude, maybe even creating more opportunities than we did in the second. You won’t get a second half like that if you don’t build a bit of self-belief and awareness in the first.”
Zapata may have missed a penalty to level proceedings but the Colombian made no mistake when being gifted a gilt-edged chance soon after. Atalanta’s man of the moment – the most prolific player in Europe’s top five leagues since the start of December – now has 14 goals in his last eight Serie A appearances.
The forward plays the lone striker role in Gasperini’s 3-4-2-1 and is thriving in the Bergamo outfits enterprising attack with Gomez operating in a free role behind. Atalanta are now the most prolific team in Serie A, outpacing even Juventus with 47 goals through 21 games.
However, issues still reside at the back. Local newspaper, L’Eco Di Bergamo, put things neatly when it described “an attack on fire, but a defence that cannot stop taking on water” after the Roma showdown and it’s this approach that suggests supporting Over 2.5 Goals at 1.80 this weekend is too good to ignore.
Goals on the agenda
Atalanta have scored at least twice in 10 of their last 13 tussles, nothing 14 goals in their most recent three encounters. Twelve of those contests paid out for Over 2.5 Goals backers as Gasperini’s group have recorded only five shutouts since the start of the 2018/19 season.
Admittedly, Cagliari aren’t anywhere near as prolific in the goals markets and our led by renowned organiser Rolando Maran. Nevertheless, the hosts have scored in all bar three of their 10 games at their Sardinian base this term whilst the Gialloblu have silenced their opposition only twice since October’s international break.
In five of Cagliari’s most recent seven Serie A outings they’ve shipped two or more goals so backing another high-scoring duel holds plenty of appeal on Monday evening.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 goals at 1.800
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
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