Atalanta vs Sampdoria: Make or Break for La Dea?

Monday’s tasty-looking encounter between underperforming Atalanta and relegation-battling Sampdoria at Gewiss Stadium will serve to round off Serie A Matchday 27. The home side’s hopes of landing a top-four finish for the fourth year running are hanging by a thread following a poor run of winless form.

Atalanta brushed Greek powerhouse Olympiacos aside with an overwhelming 3-0 win on Thursday to extend their Europa League journey into the round of 16. But despite remaining the only Serie A side left in the competition, La Dea are not enjoying the best of times in domestic proceedings. 

Since a scintillating 6-2 romping of Udinese in their inaugural Serie A fixture of 2022, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men have gone winless in their last five league matches on the trot (D3, L2). Another failed attempt to get all three points would see Atalanta go six consecutive top-flight games without winning for the first time since a run of seven in October 2018. 

Wheels Falling Off

What’s even more worrying is that they have failed to get on the scoresheet in three of their last five Serie A outings, scoring precisely one goal apiece in the other two. That very much contrasts Atalanta’s reputation as a free-scoring side, a right they are entitled to after topping the Serie A scoring charts in the last three league seasons. 

Even though they have netted only nine goals fewer than the Serie A’s most prolific team Inter (54), La Dea are unlikely to replicate their last season’s feat and hit a 90-goal landmark. Of course, unless they equal their seasonal tally of 46 goals in the final 12 rounds of fixtures. 

There is a more pressing matter to address at the moment, as even a narrow win would do for Gasperini’s side, given the circumstances. Juventus’ hard-fought 3-2 victory away to Empoli dropped Atalanta six points below the coveted fourth spot, throwing their Champions League ambitions into doubt. 

Sampdoria Should Not Be Underestimated

With two games in hand, including this one, Atalanta can ill-afford to drop more points, especially against a Sampdoria side they thumped 3-1 in the reverse fixture at Ferraris. That triumph made it four wins in six Serie A matches against the Blucerchiati (D1, L1), which sounds promising if you are a La Dea supporter.

But Gasperini must be aware his men have faltered against Sampdoria in their recent top-flight meetings in Bergamo. Atalanta have suffered three defeats in their last four league duels with the Genoa-based outfit at the Gewiss Stadium (W1), scoring one goal or fewer in each such fixture. 

Who Could Inspire Atalanta to Win?

Marquee January signing Jeremie Boga has yet to get off the mark in Serie A in the new shirt despite featuring in all three league matches since completing his club-record €22m arrival from Sassuolo this winter. The Ivorian winger has had a nightmarish season so far, as he has zero Serie A goals to his name in 2021/22. Now would be a good time to break the duck.

Watch out for Ruslan Malinovskyi, who had a stellar night in Greece on Thursday, notching up a master-class brace to hand Atalanta a clear-cut win. With the world awaiting the resolution of the terrifying war in Ukraine with bated breath, the Ukrainian playmaker could have an added motive to shine. 

Malinovskyi sent a piece message after scoring against Olympiacos as caught by the BT Sport