Expect plenty of goals when Atalanta host Manchester City in their Champions League group stage encounter at the San Siro in Milan on Wednesday (8pm live on BT Sport).
Man City ran out 5-1 winners when they met in Manchester two weeks ago and matches involving these teams in this year’s competition have so far averaged over 3.5 goals. It is over four in Atalanta’s case. They are each the highest scorers in their respective domestic leagues.
Things have, though, turned out very differently for them in the Champions League to date. City sit top of Group C, with nine points from three wins out of three, 10 goals scored and just one conceded. Atalanta are bottom of the group, with zero points from three straight defeats, just two goal scored and a competition-high 11 conceded.
It hasn’t been the campaign Atalanta were hoping for in their first appearance in the top European competition. Gian Piero Gasperini has done an outstanding job since taking charge in 2016. Last season he led the club to the highest league finish in their history by coming home third, with the best scoring record in the division at over two goals per match.
They have started the new domestic season in a similarly successful and even higher-scoring vein, having scored 33 times in their 11 matches. Their rapid-fire attack and man-to-man press have produced less returns in Europe. They have found it harder to create a stream of good-quality chances, while opponents have been unable to disarm their press by winning more individual duels than their domestic opponents usually do.
All of which leaves Atalanta with an unprecedented task ahead of them if they still wish to progress. Since the switch to the current format in 2003/04, no team has advanced from the group stage after losing their first three matches. Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk have four points apiece in second and third respectively, but given their goal difference, they would still most likely need to win on Wednesday to keep their hopes alive.
That is something they are likely to struggle with, especially considering the absence of Duvan Zapata, scorer of 23 goals in Serie A last season. He has six goals in seven games this time around, prior to suffering a muscle tear on international duty with Colombia last month.
Man City have certainly not looked unbeatable this season. They have already lost twice in the Premier League, allowing Liverpool to open up an early six-point lead at the top, and they do look a bit easier to play through in transition than they did last season. The long-term injury absence of Aymeric Laporte has also weakened their defensive line.
Their Champions League record (along with their 8-0 thrashing of Watford in September) shows that they remain an awesome force in full flow, capable of demolishing teams who provide them with the scope to do so. They are on a five-match winning streak in all competitions coming into this midweek match, and have won 10 of their last 11, scoring two or more goals in each and every one of those victories.
Pep Guardiola’s side took their time in overcoming an early deficit at home to Southampton on Saturday, but eventually got their goals in the final 20 minutes of an encounter in which they had dominated their visitors in terms of both shot volume and quality. Sergio Aguero equalised on 70 minutes before Kyle Walker scored their 86th-minute winner.
Our Preview’s Atalanta vs Man City Betting Tips Verdict
The first match between these sides at the Etihad showed that City have the talent and system to outplay and comfortably outscore Atalanta. Aguero got the scoring underway on that occasion before Raheem Sterling sealed things with a second-half hat-trick. Atalanta have nothing to lose and can be expected to be just as bold on home soil, but unless Man City have a particularly bad night in finishing terms, they are likely to come away victorious.
- Bet on Manchester City to win in a match featuring over 3.5 goals @ best odds of 6/4 with BoyleSports.
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