Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta have been one of the most exciting sides in Europe this season. Gasperin’s side are in place to play in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, after scoring eight against La Liga side Valencia over two legs
Under Gasperini, Atalanta have largely set up in a 3-4-1-2 but their front three are often versatile forwards that can be deployed in a flat three but one of the main reasons Gasperini is enjoying his most successful spell as a manager is perhaps he’s got a bit of pragmatism about him now, often shown in his team selection.
Often Gasperini goes with his best front three, often flat with Papu Gómez and Josip Iličić off Zapata but against tougher opposition he distinctly goes with a 1-2, with an extra midfielder drafted in, usually Mario Pašalić for that extra protection offered by only leaving two up top for the counter rather than the three you’d see when deploying a 3-4-2-1.
32 year old Josip Iličić has been the keyman for Gasperini this season. The Slovenian has been directly involved in 20 Serie A goals this season. Duván Zapata goals were replaced by Papu Gómez & Josip Iličić when the Colombian went out injured earlier in the season. Gómez has chipped in with 10 Serie A goals and contributing to three Champions League goals.
In the final third, Gasperini’s men tend to attack in a lopsided 3-2-3-2 with Alejandro “Papu” Gomez in the hole as the side’s playmaker, Josip Illicic pulling into the right channel where he can operate as an inside forward, whilst Duvan Zapata uses his physicality and strength to lead the line as Atalanta’s target man where he looks to link Atalanta’s moves or finish them off.
How far will Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta go in the Champions League?