Atalanta | European Underdogs

For those that have yet to watch Atalanta play football, stop reading now and find a highlight reel on YouTube (then come back!). The Italian outfit have played all-out offensive football for the past two years to gather electric momentum across both their domestic and European campaign. In 2018-19, they lead Serie A in goals scored, rocketing a tally of 77 in 38 games to finish in Third Place. The entertainment value was undeniable, as they also conceded 46 (same as 8th place Lazio) and qualified for Europe through a brutally prolific strike force.


This season, they've entirely decimated their previous achievement and only furthered their reputation as a 'good watch'. They've scored 93 and conceded 43 (a worse defensive record than 9th place Verona) with have 5 games still to play. Obliterative in the final third, yet comically vulnerable at the back at times - Atalanta provide quite the spectacle. If you're interested in tactical analysis, click here for Tifo's explanation of Atalanta's style of football.


Atalanta are currently perched in second in Serie A, whilst they still have Champions League football yet to play. The last few fixtures in Italy look challenging enough to warrant caution - albeit comfortable enough given they are 10 points deep into Champions League qualification and 7 points from the title position. It's more than likely they'll be playing Champions League Football with the same ferocity again next year, and no doubt hope to make an impression on longstanding Champions of Italy, Juventus, in Serie A next season.


Champions League football is where Atalanta will find the eyeline of most traders. A formidable matchup against PSG is certainly not an easy task. Playing three at the back against the likes of Neymar and Mbappé could prove a long evening for the wing backs to cover ground going forwards and still fulfil their defensive duties.. However, Atalanta are well practiced, in form and are tactically playing their best football to date. PSG have only played half a competitive season and are facing one of the hardest, most dynamic attacking sides in Europe. On paper PSG look favourites. But it's undoubtedly tighter than one may think when you see how capable Atalanta are with the ball at their feet, and how menacing they are in front of goal.


Mario Pasalic has found fine form at Atalanta.

Investment Opportunities in Atalanta:


Media

Don't got there. Unless they're pushing into the final stages of the Champions League, which is still possible albeit unlikely, Atalanta will not find their players in the top of the media rankings very often. Don't invest if Media Dividends are a dealbreaker. It is a great story should they conquer, but British Media is more interested in Pogba's car than an Italian squad of underdogs. Even if they won the Champions League, we'd only expect a couple of pennies, tops, to fall their way in media dividends.


Performance Buzz


Goalkeepers

Admittedly, we have already mused at their defence and feel it's not the tightest ship. That said, Pierluigi Gollini has kept a clean sheet in 25% of his domestic fixtures. With Atalanta likely to trot between European grounds next season, the 1.25x multiplier may help his PB average bolster up. He's not the most well known yet, but he's also not a veteran shot-stopper facing capital depreciation. With keepers generally being older across the board, we as traders have not yet discovered where real value lies in this exciting new area of the market - nor have we discovered which keepers are the definitive PB dominants. Gollini doesn't look a terrible shout. He's challenging for dividends in the first TOTM ranking whilst he hasn't rocketed quite as much as other European keepers. One to watch if you fancy a piece of the GK action. Second choice GK, Sportiello, is rotated into the squad more often than plenty of other top teams. However, he's older and conceded more per game. His PB is not terrible by any means, but it's still an unattractive investment due to lack of gametime.


Defenders

Atalanta's backline aren't the most robust. A goal concession averaging 1.5 per game in Serie A is certainly a record to douse with caution when investing for PB. However, the number of mobile, ball playing options both centrally and as wing-backs offers an intriguing investment in some cases. Here's a few that standout for us:


Rafael Toloi is a Brazilian centre half, 29 years old, and a regular in the Atalanta back three. In his 29 Serie A appearances this season, he's produced 6 assists and a couple of goals. This was enough to win £0.08 TOP DEF on a gold day. His current top bid? £0.13 per share.


Robin Gosens is the buzz name in Atalanta's list of defenders. His links to bigger clubs, including Juve, have given him a little push in value this season. Very mobile and fluid in attack, Gosens averages 1.5 shots and 2.2 crosses per game. He's reached 10 goals and 7 assists across all PB competitions, making him an attractive investment at 26 years old. His market value sits at £1.13, with a tight spread - IS £1.03 at the time of writing. Having hit 200+ three times this season, he offers a decent PB shout going forward without drastic capital depreciation due to age.


Midfielders

The midfielders of Atalanta are the real unsung heroes of this team. Their movement and work rate fills the gaps when fullbacks and forwards take a dynamic change in shape to ensure that possession is kept and they're not open to counter attacks. This effort often goes uncredited in both the media and in the PB matrix, hence plenty of their midfielders are overlooked and very low in value as it's a small club without big stars. But the chances created as a result of a rotating midfield in unison means that over 90 mins they actually appear to make sufficient chances to rack up a decent PB score. When Atalanta face weaker static teams, there's a good chance their midfielders can score 180+ like many top tiered sides.


Martin De Roon is a 29 year old Dutch midfielder that has been a cog in Atalanta's system. On the index, he's not much of an investment due to age and lack of popularity. However, he's scored 200+ on three occasions. He may be seen as a holding type, but Atalanta require different members to take different positions to allow for their fluidity. Alas, De Roon occasionally finds himself in a dangerous pocket of space. He's made 5 assists, scored a couple and won TOP MID once this season. Not a lucrative shout, but his current IS is £0.26.


Mario Pasalic is arguably the best name to keep a tab on in Atalanta's entire side.

The central midfielder is a vital ingredient in the Italian outfit's ability to turn up the attack at will. Pasalic recently scored his first hat-trick in a 6-2 win against Brescia, where his 285 PB score was enough to win star matchday dividends. The 25 year old now has 9 goals and 5 assists in Serie A; 2 goals and 2 assists in UCL. Having only just been signed permanently from Chelsea, the Croatian looks to be finding form that justifies being one of the more expensive options on the team. His buy price is £1.13. Comparable players <25 years old with a PB history like Pasalic include Wylan Cyprien, Robert Skov, Dani Ceballos, Ricardo Orsolini and Dominic Berardi - all of which are between £1.65 and £2.00 market value..


Forwards

Atalanta have just 2 'forwards' listed on the index. Papu Gomez (Alejandro Gomez) is considered a winger, forward or CAM - Opta list him as a midfielder which is reasonable given his creative role. Josip Ilicic is somehow still listed by Opta has a midfielder, despite playing as a forward for the past two seasons. Nevertheless, he's winning a lot of PB dividends for his outstanding contributions to the side. At 32 years old, he's edging on the abyss of a capital depreciation cliff, so a highly cautious investment at this stage of his career. For those that have held him this season, he's put up a top 5 PB score of; 365, 350, 287, 287, 286. Unbelievable. His scores have won a total of £0.52 in matchday dividends this campaign. If he can follow up with another season like this one, he'll potentially hold his value for a little while longer.


The two 'forwards' to choose between on Football Index are Duvan Zapata at £1.12, and Luis Muriel at £0.72. Despite Zapata being more expensive, he's produced a lower PB max and fewer 200+ scores this season compared to Muriel. The latter has one £0.15 in PB - 20% yield, whilst the former just £0.04, a yield of 3%. Both are 29. Both feature regularly.


Zapata has scored 16 and assisted 6 in 23 Serie A appearances at an out-and-out centre forward. Luis Muriel, his fellow Columbian, has scored 17 in 29 appearances, though he's only started in 10 games. Let me just reiterate how impressive that is. 17 goals in 10 starts, returning a 20% ROI in PB dividends. Atalanta have prolific goal scorers sat on the bench for the majority of the season and can still return good dividends.


There's a whole host of reasons to onboard players at Atalanta, but most of them come with a catch that must be considered before putting money on the table.


Firstly, given their rapid rise to the summits of Serie A, they aren't all that well known. Football Index relies heavily on hype, legacy and anticipation. It takes time to build a legacy and be seen as a Top European Side.

It's the reason Arsenal players are more expensive than Burnley players - people are buying for the future careers, and consider a historically successful and wealthy club to always contend. It's sometimes a hurdle in traders' mentalities that needs to be overcome. Leicester won the league unexpectedly, but took 5 years further to build up a reputation as a regular contending team. Wolves were only promoted in 2018/19 and now are on the hunt for Champions League football. But it takes a good few years to rack up a legacy where traders see the players as 'stars' and not underdogs. Atalanta have players on the index significantly cheaper than the likes of Juventus, Napoli and Inter because they are not a fraction of the club in terms of historical success. In simple terms, Atalanta need to change traders' views of them as 'underdogs' to 'stars', much like what Klopp has done with Liverpool.


Secondly, their age. This team of 'average' players have bags of experience and relatively little youth. They rely heavily on veteran goalscorers, making it a hard investment to weigh up with the burden of capital depreciation. Ilicic is 32, Gomez 32, Muriel 29, Zapata 29. There are no regulars under the age of 24 in their matchday squad; Timothy Catagne being the 'youngster'. The index is admittedly overly biased to wonderkids, but when investors are looking to hold for 3 years of capital appreciation, Atalanta are not in the running at all.


So Atalanta must build to conquer a culture change, to show European Football Fans that they mean business at the top, in order for traders to consider them a more obvious side to invest in. They need to offer youth to excite traders and generate a buzz around what they are creating. Both of these elements will likely take time though, meaning for now, Atalanta are a well oiled-machine expiring in capital appreciation on the index.


If Atalanta can cause any upset, they still have a couple of years left in their old legs to perform at their standard. They'll also have more money to reinvest in a younger, deeper squad. All of this combines to form a team that certainly look cheaper on the whole than many others. If you're not fussed about media dividends, and want to enjoy PB on matchdays, Atalanta are the team to turn to when running on a budget.




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