Atalanta BC will be looking to put defeat against league-leaders Napoli behind them as their push for Champions League football continues in Serie A when they travel to face an out-of-form Lecce on Wednesday night.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s men have struggled against their rivals at the top of the league standings in recent matches, whereas Lecce have not tasted victory since the middle of September and look set for a relegation fight as they attempt to avoid an immediate return to Serie B.
Like so many teams that make the step up to Italy’s top flight, Lecce are finding life difficult amongst some of the elite sides in world football, with survival the sole aim for a club that has not had consecutive seasons in Serie A since the early 2010s.
Although relatively hard to beat – losing just six times so far in 13 matches – an inability to collect maximum points from games has hindered Lecce’s progress up the standings severely, with Marco Baroni’s men only managing a single victory to date in the league.
That solitary success against Salernitana in September is the only reason Wednesday’s hosts sit above the relegation places in Serie A, with just three points separating themselves and newly-promoted Cremonese who lie in 18th.
This midweek matchup with La Dea is Lecce’s final home assignment before the World Cup halts league proceedings until next year, with Baroni’s side yet to record a win at home, although they have been a tough nut to crack at Stadio Comunale Via del Mare, only losing twice in six home outings so far this season.
A lack of firepower goes a long way in explaining the Giallorossi’s troubles this campaign, with the side only netting 10 strikes in their opening 13 fixtures, a record that is bested by every other club in the division except basement-dwellers Sampdoria.
Goals were not in short supply when Atalanta last came to town, as the two sides played out an extraordinary nine-goal thriller in March 2020, although a repeat of that 7-2 loss for Lecce would be the last thing Baroni’s relegation-threatened team need on Wednesday night.
After finishing eighth last season and missing out on any form of European competition, Atalanta are well and truly back in the hunt for Champions League qualification this year in what looks set to be a highly-competitive race for those top-four spots in Serie A.
Gasperini’s men are currently fourth in Italy’s top flight having collected an impressive 27 points from the 13 games so far this campaign, however an unbeaten start from a formidable Napoli side means La Dea are eight points off the summit of Serie A heading into this midweek round of fixtures.
The Bergamo-based club have been exceptional travellers so far this season, winning five times and drawing once in their six away outings, with only Napoli boasting more away points at this stage of the campaign with 19.
No one can match Atalanta’s defensive record on the road with Gasperini’s side conceding just twice in six matches, with both of those goals allowed coming in a 2-2 draw at the Dacia Arena with Udinese at the start of October.
Ex-Everton youngster Ademola Lookman has assumed the role as leading marksmen at Atalanta this season, with the 25-year-old scoring six times in 13 matches since his permanent switch from German side RB Leipzig in the summer transfer window.
Lecce Serie A form:
Atalanta BC Serie A form:
We say: Lecce 0-1 Atalanta BC
Lecce have been in poor form of late and need to start picking up wins if they are to avoid being relegated to Serie B after just a season in Italy’s top flight.
Atalanta have a stunning away record and have only lost to title rivals so far this season, meaning it is hard to see anything other than an away win in this one.