Manchester City take on Atalanta in the Champions League on Tuesday as they aim to take another step towards last 16 qualification. City have won both of their matches so far, but the visitors are yet to record a point. Here, we take a look at the Italian debutants.
Atalanta qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history and faced a difficult group in the form of City, Shahktar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb. It’s fair to say the Italians have not found their first campaign easy, and visit the home of last season’s domestic treble champions.
Atalanta’s Serie A form is impressive though, winning five of their eight matches so far, and losing just the one, They have scored goals, but alarmingly, they have conceded 13, a record that is bettered by 14 teams, including relegation Brescia, who have conceded just nine so far this season, but sit in 16th place and only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
The Italians top scorer is Duvan Zapata, who has scored 7 goals so far this season and also has 2 assists. Luis Muriel is next with five goals, while Alejandro Gomez has scored 4 and provided three assists.
The Italians also signed former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel on a free transfer in August this year and he will bring vital Champions League experience to the newcomers.
Atalanta qualified for the Champions League by finishing third in Serie A last season, sealing their qualification on the final day of the season by beating Sassuolo 3-1 on the final day of the season. The win was vital for Atalanta as anything but a win would have seen AC Milan qualify instead.
In 1987, Atalanta were one of the giants of Italian football and were paired Merthyr Tydfil in the European Cup Winners Cup. The first leg was played in Wales and the Welsh cup winners produced a huge shock, winning the home leg 2-1, although Atalanta won the second leg 2-0.