Preview: Bournemouth vs. Atalanta BC

Preview: Bournemouth vs. Atalanta BC

Bournemouth’s preparations for the 2023-24 Premier League campaign continue on Saturday afternoon, as Atalanta BC arrive on England’s south coast.

While La Dea have so far swatted aside two lower-league opponents in warming up for the new Serie A season, the Cherries edged out Southampton to record their second pre-season win earlier this week.

As life under new coach Andoni Iraola takes shape, Bournemouth secured success in their third run-out of the summer by beating Southampton 3-2 on Tuesday, despite letting a two-goal lead slip at St Mary’s Stadium.

A late David Brooks winner ensured Basque boss Iraola would have his second win since taking the reins from previous incumbent Gary O’Neil, after the Cherries had faltered when ahead through strikes from Dango Ouattara and Ryan Christie.

Though Bournemouth defied the odds to survive relegation from the Premier League last season – finishing 15th in the table and five points above the bottom three – O’Neil was replaced by the former Spain international and ex-Rayo Vallecano coach last month.

Having lost midfield regular Jefferson Lerma to Crystal Palace, several players have since arrived at the Vitality Stadium this summer, as Iraola aims to lead his new club to mid-table security in the upcoming campaign.

Hamed Traore has been secured on a permanent deal, while Milos Kerkez, Romain Faivre and Justin Kluivert also join a squad which started pre-season by beating Hibernian 4-0 and losing 1-0 to Maccabi Tel Aviv at a training camp in Marbella.

Next week, Bournemouth will tackle Lorient in their final fixture before beginning the new Premier League season at home to West Ham United on August 12.

Atalanta have also been tuning up for the 2023-24 campaign in recent days, and after returning to action with a 10-0 crushing of lowly Locarno at a training camp in Val Seriana, the Serie A side’s preparations stepped up a gear on Thursday.

A friendly with Serie C club Pro Vercelli predictably ended in another victory for Gian Piero Gasperini’s squad, who put six goals past their opponents without reply – new signing Michel Adopo finding the target and Ivorian striker Emmanuel Latte netting a hat-trick.

The Bergamo club may need Latte and others to step into the breach this year, as last term’s breakout star Rasmus Hojlund seems set for a switch to more high-profile surroundings, though Almeria’s El Bilal Toure is apparently close to signing up for the task of replacing the Danish sensation.

Having agreed to continue his long reign in Lombardy, Gasperini will also hope to hold onto teenage defender Giorgio Scalvini, who has already made his senior international debut for Italy, as Atalanta seek to improve on last season’s fifth-place finish.

Despite faltering in the latter stages of the 2022-23 campaign, they have not forgotten how to compete with Calcio’s big boys following an era of unprecedented success at home and in Europe, and they now near the start of another Serie A season.

Back in competitive action on August 20, when they travel to Sassuolo, the Nerazzurri wrap up their preparations in the German capital next weekend, with a friendly against Union Berlin at Alte Forsterei.

Bournemouth friendly form:

Atalanta friendly form:

We say: Bournemouth 2-2 Atalanta BC
With Atalanta in fine goalscoring form already this summer – albeit against lower-league opponents – an entertaining encounter could be in store on Saturday. Both sides should find the net at least once at the Vitality Stadium, in a contest between two highly-regarded coaches at either end of the experience scale.

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