- Inter sit top of Serie A on goal difference
- Atalanta are the highest scoring team in the league
- Saturday’s San Siro clash is a huge moment in the races for the title and top four
Antonio Conte’s Inter are posing the first real threat to Juventus’ Serie A dominance in years. The majority of books are still favoring the Old Lady to win the title, but there’s no question Inter are serious challengers. Conte’s team are level on points with Juventus – their goal difference puts them top of the table.
Saturday night sees Inter host Atalanta at San Siro. A draw could be enough to move Atalanta from fifth into the Champions League places. After a slow start to the season, La Dea have hit form over the last few weeks, progressing from their Champions League group and winning four of their last five in Serie A.
Inter vs Atalanta Odds
|Inter||-0.5 (-104)||+104||Over 2.5, 3 (-129)|
|Atalanta||+0.5 (-124)||+215||Under 2.5, 3 (+109)|
Odds taken Jan. 9.
Atalanta are the top scoring team in Serie A – Inter have the third most goals. Both teams play a back three with forward players who have destroyed opponents this season. Inter’s Romelu Lukaku is the second-highest scorer in the league this season, Atalanta forward Luis Muriel sits fifth in the scoring charts just ahead of his teammate Josip Ilicic and Lukaku’s strike partner Lautaro Martinez. While their attacking productivity is similar, their method is different.
Conte’s teams are primarily counter-attacking sides. They absorb pressure with their full-backs dropping into a back five and hit long passes for their mobile forwards. Atalanta have the ability to produce blistering counter-attacks too, but their football isn’t as structured or defensively minded as Inter’s. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side have registered 38.51 non-penalty expected goals this season, almost seven more than any other side.
Atalanta are arguably the most entertaining side in European football this season, and they’re coming off the back of consecutive 5-0 victories over Milan and Parma. Inter’s front two are superb, but their football isn’t as wild as Atalanta’s. Conte’s team are efficient, and defensively solid (they have conceded the fewest goals in the league).
This match is a meeting of styles, a clash of Inter’s stern defense against Atalanta’s throw-everything-at-them attack.
Inter vs Atalanta Serie A Stats
|46 yellows, 1 reds||Cards||38 yellows, 2 reds|
|16.5||Shots per match||20.1|
|56%||Shots inside the area||58%|
|38.17||Understat expected points||35.39|
Hard to Beat
Inter might have been disappointing in the Champions League (a long-running issue for Conte’s sides), but they have been a force to be reckoned with domestically. They have won 14 of their 18 Serie A outings, with their solitary loss coming to Juventus back on October 6th. Draws with Roma and Fiorentina before Christmas represented a blip for the Milan club, though they bounced back with a ruthless counter-attacking display away to Napoli last weekend.
Atalanta humiliated Parma and Milan in their last two matches, but their previous away trip finished in a 2-1 defeat to Bologna. Alejandro Gomez and Ilicic were absent for that match, but both starred against Parma last time out and will start on Saturday night.
The visitors have only failed to score once in Serie A this season. Inter have kept seven clean sheets in the league. Even Inter’s defense will struggle to stop this Atalanta attack, however. Gasperini’s side will likely have the majority of possession and will be vulnerable to Inter on the break.
These are matches Inter need to win if they are to keep pace with Juventus. Atalanta are in good form, though, and they have the talent to take something from San Siro. Backing a high-scoring match is the way to go here.
Pick: Over 3.5 total goals, both teams to score (+184)
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