Atalanta can further consolidate their place in Serie A’s top four when they host Napoli at 6:30pm on Thursday.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s have undoubtedly been the most exciting side to watch in Italy’s top flight this season. Their 28 matches so far have involved 119 goals (80 for, 39 against). Atalanta’s performances have them looking comfortable in fourth, nine points clear of fifth-placed Roma, but the Bergamo-based club will have their eyes set on shortening the four-point gap between themselves and Inter Milan in third.
Their opponents this week are Coppa Italia holders Napoli, who have endured a tough season first under Carlo Ancelotti and then Gennaro Gattuso despite their recent cup win. The Partenopei are currently sixth in Serie A, some 12 points behind Atalanta with 10 games remaining, rendering any hopes of Champions League football far-fetched.
But Gattuso’s side will travel to Bergamo with the aim to claw back some of the distance, and in good form against their opponents, too. They have won their past two games away to La Dea.
Where to watch Napoli vs Atalanta on TV:
- UK: Premier Sports 1
- US: ESPN+
Where to live stream the game:
UK: Bet365* are streaming this match live for account holders. Those without a Bet365 account already who are interested in streaming Napoli vs Atalanta live can take advantage of this service by following the simple steps below.
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Atalanta & Napoli’s previous line-ups:
- Atalanta (vs Udinese): Gollini; Toloi, Djimsiti, Caldara; Hateboer, Freuler, Pasalic, Castagne; Malinovskiy*, Gomez; Zapata.
- Napoli (vs SPAL): Meret; Hysaj, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Rui; Fabian, Lobotka, Elmas; Callejon, Mertens, Insigne.
Ruslan Malinovskiy is suspended for Napoli after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season against Udinese, but otherwise both sides have no fresh absentees from their previous matches.
Players to watch:
Atalanta: Malinovskiy’s suspension means Gasperini will be forced to change his team for the visit of Napoli and one player who could benefit is Luis Muriel. The 29-year-old is Atalanta’s joint-top scorer in Serie A this season, netting 15 goals, despite having to make do with a cameo role throughout the campaign. Playing 993 minutes in total, Muriel has averaged a goal every 66.2 minutes in Serie A, and he showed how clinical he can be from the bench against former club Udinese last weekend. Coming on just after half-time with the scores level, Muriel scored twice to help Atalanta get all three points.
It came after Muriel had felt the wrath of Gasperini following a poor substitute appearances in the previous match against Lazio. Gasperini revealed after the win: “Muriel has been in excellent shape recently, whereas he came on against Lazio and looked half-dead. He even thought he’d done well in that game, so the day after I had a massive go at him. Today, he responded with two goals.”
The result of Gasperini’s pep talk is historic. Muriel has now scored nine Serie A goals as a substitute this season. According to Opta, this is the best such total since the competition switched to the three-points-per-win system in 1994.
Dries Mertens has now scored 123 goals in all competitions for Napoli with his first Serie A goal since February.
Easy as 1, 2, 3. pic.twitter.com/tq0QmXhMiC
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 28, 2020
Napoli: Dries Mertens. While Atalanta have been scoring for fun this season, Napoli have been slightly more reserved in netting 46 goals so far, and Mertens has been involved in 11 of those, more than any other player. The Belgian has spent the second half of the season with his Napoli future in doubt, amid links to Chelsea, but signed a new deal with the club in June, which would be a special month for Mertens. In helping the club win the Coppa Italia, Mertens became Napoli’s all-time record goalscorer, overtaking Marek Hamsik in the semi-final second-leg against Inter Milan. He added to his tally, now standing at 123, in the win over SPAL last weekend to extend Napoli’s winning league run to five games. And he will be looking to make that six against a team he enjoys playing, being directly involved in four of Napoli’s last eight goals against Atalanta, scoring three and adding one assist.
Scoreline prediction: Atalanta 3-1 Napoli
Serie A 2019/20 recent form:
- Atalanta: WWWWW
- Napoli: WWWWW