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Atalanta BC vs Paris Saint-Germain FC, free match prediction 13 Aug 2020

13 Aug 2020 | 00:30 | Lisbon, José Alvalade Stadium
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FREE-SCORING ATALANTA OUT TO UPSET FRENCH GIANTS IN SINGLE MATCH SHOOTOUT!

  • First match of the eight-team miniseries in Lisbon, Portugal – one-off ties from Quarters onwards
  • Atalanta have scored goals for fun this season
  • PSG boast the big-name stars, but may lack match practice due to Covid lockdown

PSG to win 2-1 to progress to the Semi-Finals!

  • Tournament: Champions League 2019-20
  • Venue: Lisbon, José Alvalade Stadium

Match Preview

Every year in the Champions League, there is one team that comes from nowhere to become surprise dark horses of the competition. 

Last year, it was Ajax, reaching the Semi-Finals. A few years back, an Mbappe-inspired Monaco. This year, the position sits on the shoulders of Italy’s Atalanta – only Man City scored more league goals than they did in 2019-20.

After a poor start to their debut Champions League season, they won their final two group games - only to then hammer Valencia 8-4 in the next round, courtesy of a four-goal masterclass by top scorer Josip Ilicic.

Their opponents, we know well. The enviable position of having the likes of Neymar AND Mbappe, Icardi AND Di Maria – all in the same team? Outrageous.

But despite spending more money on transfers and wages than most European leagues, they haven’t gone past the Quarters of the competition since 1994-95. They’re a big team who’ve never quite hit the big time.

Both teams attack like no tomorrow, and with the Quarter-Finals onwards played over just one leg, it’s a lot closer than their names suggest.

Teams Preview

Atalanta BC Preview

Form Guide (all comps.): D W D W L

Reasons to be cheerful:

  • Will fancy their chances in a one-off tie
  • Their free-flowing football can trouble PSG

Reasons to be fearful:

  • Top-scorer Josip Ilicic will miss the tie through personal leave
  • PSG will be desperate to progress to the last-four

Atalanta will be delighted with what is already a successful season. To reach the Champions League Quarter-Finals in their debut season, as well as secure their place for next year through their third-placed Serie A finish, is a fantastic achievement. To do it outscoring Italian champions Juventus by 22 goals shows just how scintillating their football has been and will put doubt in the French giant’s minds.

However, losing topscorer Ilicic will be a huge blow for the Italians. He shocked the Italian press by announcing his return to home country Slovenia, therefore ending his season.  Instead, Atalanta will turn to Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata, with 38 goals between them this campaign, to fire them past PSG. 

It’ll be a tall order to beat the French champions, but history has shown that fortune favours the brave.

Star Man – Luis Muriel

The Colombian will be the main man in Ilicic’s absence – his fast and tricky style of play can cause PSG all kinds of problems in top gear.

Paris Saint-Germain FC Preview

Form Guide (all comps.): W W W W W

Reasons to be cheerful:

  •  Kylian Mbappe hopes to be back from injury
  • Recent friendlies show good form

Reasons to be fearful:

  • Have a history of falling at the big hurdles
  • Only played two competitive matches since March

Even with PSG’s riches, they’ll be concerned at their growing injury list. Superstar Mbappe has a slim chance of being fit following a recent ankle sprain, while midfielder Verratti and defender Kurzawa will miss the trip. Cavani and Meunier have both now left the club.

They will still expect to have more than enough to outmuscle Atalanta, however.

Neymar has been in good form in the few matches he’s played since returning from injury, while loanee Mauro Icardi has 20 goals this season. The Parisians also boast the competition’s best defensive record so far. Their main issue will be the lack of competitive football lately. Other than two domestic cup finals last month – both won by PSG – their only practice comes in the form of three friendlies.

They’ve also failed to go past the Round of 16 since 2016.

Star Man – Neymar

With Mbappe’s participation in doubt, the Brazilian superstar will need to be at his influential best backed up by the likes of Icardi and Di Maria.

Winning Prediction

  • Both teams to attack with lots of scoring chances
  • Three goals or more likely in the match
  • Both teams to score

PSG will certainly be well-rested, but will they be match sharp? Their recent friendlies will have helped, but there’s no substitute for competitive action. They’ll be hoping they can click into gear straight away.

Atalanta has nothing to lose after a great season. They will play the only way they know how – by attacking and looking to outscore their opponents. If PSG isn’t fully-focused, there could be a surprise on the cards.

But even if Mbappe doesn’t play, PSG should have more than enough to edge what will hopefully be a great contest.

PSG to win 2-1 to progress to the Semi-Finals!

Author: Ross B.