Atalanta, with more rest days, seemed better prepared for the match after their last match against Udinese in the tenth round was postponed due to weather conditions. This was reflected in their performance in the match, where they played a good match tactically and were able to win with three goals.
This tactical analysis breaks down the tactics of the match between Atalanta and Fiorentina. With the use of match footage and data, this analysis unpacks what happened in Atalanta’s 3-0 win over Fiorentina.
Atalanta started the game with their usual 3-4-1-2 formation, Pierluigi Gollini as the goalkeeper, the three defenders were Rafael Tolói, Cristian Romero and Berat Djimsiti, and the midfielders were Remo Freuler and Marten de Roon formerly of EFL side Middlesbrough. Both Robin Gosens and Hans Hateboer were the wing-backs. The attacking trio consisted of Matteo Pessina, Ruslan Malinovskyi and Duván Zapata.
On the other hand, Fiorentina started the match with a 4-1-4-1 formation, Bartłomiej Drągowski was the goalkeeper, and the four-line defenders were Nikola Milenković, Germán Pezzella, Lorenzo Venuti and Cristiano Biraghi. The midfielders were Giacomo Bonaventura, Pol Lirola, Erick Pulgar, Sofyan Amrabat and Valentin Eysseric. And Dušan Vlahović was the striker.
Atalanta’s attacking diamonds and their positional rotation
As it is known for the way that Atalanta play under Gasperini, positional rotation is the main feature of their attacking performance.
Gasperini’s attacking idea is to always provide space and time to pass the ball in the best way, which helps the team to create more chances in the match, so in the offensive phase, he gives his players freedom to move in all spaces to create a lot of attacking diamonds in different areas of the field.
Attacking diamonds always allow his players to easily pass in the advanced areas in the best way because there is always a free player without pressure, which allows the ball bearer to pass to him and create another attacking diamond. Thus this helps for keeping the team in the offensive situation and creating a lot of opportunities in dangerous areas of the field.
Below is an example of this case, we can see that the Atalanta players were spread in all positions of the field without any regard for their starting positions, and each of them created a diamond with three other players in different areas of the field.
Here is another example of the positional rotation of Atalanta players in the offensive third, we can see that inside the box next to Zapata were both Gosens who played as a wing-back and Tolói who played as a defender. Gosens eventually managed to score a goal.
Fiorentina’s defensive issues and their transitions
The Fiorentina players were defending in theory 5-4-1, but they had two main problems executing this method perfectly.
When defending against an opponent that all of their players move everywhere on the field, your lines must be closely aligned and not leave a gap between your lines allowing the opponent’s players to move in it, which was what Fiorentina players missed in this match.
Below we show an example of this situation, where Fiorentina’s players didn’t line up well in the defensive situation and left spaces between their lines without pressure on the Atalanta players. There, Malinovskyi stood alone without pressure as was the case with Zapata too.
In the transitions to attack, Fiorentina relied on both sides of the field behind the two advanced wing-backs for Atalanta, with Vlahović entering the central channels to receive the ball.
Transitions are one of the most important solutions, of course, especially when you face an opponent whose players get ahead a lot and leave spaces behind them. In this match, many opportunities were provided to create good attacking movement, but Fiorentina’s players didn’t exploit them very much and did not score any goals from them.
Here is an example of this case, Pol Lirola moved from the right behind Gosens and Vlahović entered the central channels.
Fiorentina’s attacking phase
In the offensive situation, Fiorentina’s players relied on passing in the back of the advanced defenders to create dangerous opportunities.
Atalanta players always pay the tax of their continued progress. Their presence in the opponent’s half without paying attention to the spaces at the back would be used by the opponents’ players and create dangerous opportunities and score from them.
Below is an example of this situation where Pol Lirola passed the ball to Vlahović behind the defence of the advanced Atalanta players, but fortunately for them, Vlahović could not use it well to score a goal.
In the offensive phase, the Fiorentina players overloaded the box with a large number of players to confuse the opposition and give the ball bearer more chances to pass in dangerous areas inside the box.
Below is an example of this situation, where five Fiorentina players were inside the box, but they didn’t use this opportunity to score a goal either.
Here is another example of this situation, where Fiorentina players overloaded the box with six players but were unlucky enough to score a goal.
In a very exciting match, Atalanta managed to achieve their fifth victory of the season from Serie A with a win over Fiorentina by three goals after a great tactical match from the veteran coach Gasperini.
Atalanta’s players wonderfully applied the positional rotation, which enabled them to create many opportunities from which they scored a goal in addition to making good use of the free-kicks.
With this victory, Atalanta regain the opportunity to compete for the title again, especially after the draw of the leaders Milan. At the same time, troubles continue to haunt Fiorentina, who are in the 17th place with only two victories out of 11 games.