Atalanta, declining after years on top
Atalanta doesn’t seem to find themselves lately, and the situation has gotten so bad they have lost the most recent Serie A game with Fiorentina, 0-1. Funny thing that this is a goal scored by Krysztof Piatek, the Pole likely having forgot what it feels like to score, since he’s been struggling to find the net ever since his second season in Milan right after his departure for Hertha Berlin. And now he scored 5 goals in 6 matches for Fiorentina, both in the cup and in the league. If we take into consideration that Fiorentina also kicked Atalanta out of Coppa Italia in the quarter finals literally just a couple of weeks before this game took place, you get 3 of Piatek’s Fiorentina goals being scored against Atalanta. It’s that feeling when Milan and Hertha’s biggest flop returns to Serie A to become Atalanta’s killer in just one month. However, the Nerazzuri have been accusing a lot of matches in which the referee was against them recently. At the end of the game with the Viola, Atalanta officials decided not to give any statement, as a protest against the refereeing, according to Italian football publication Tuttomercatoweb. However, like I said, Bergamo’s team isn’t making this accusation for the first time recently, having criticised the decision making against them in two of the previous three games, after 2-3 against Fiorentina in the Italian Cup and 1-1 against Juventus in Serie A. And to be fair, these accusations have some truth to them, as Atalanta aren’t completely fallen yet. They have succeeded in beating Olympiacos in the Europa League at the very least, so they could be trying to win that trophy since the Scudetto seems like a long shot now. It’s too bad though, given how good they started the season.
In the 64th minute of the game with Fiorentina, Atalanta’s coach Gian Piero Gasperini was sent off after protesting the referee decisions. Malinovsky scored a goal, but it was marked as offside by the referee. And although the Ukrainian was in a regular position, the referees that used VAR considered that Hans Hateboer, who was in the offside, would have influenced the phase, so the success was not validated. And I’m not gonna lie, that decision was pretty much what led to Fiorentina’s win, since it’s likely the Nerazzuri didn’t have as much drive as to actually aim to win the game after so many decisions taken against them.
Tho the future might look brighter from this point onwards. There was a speculation according to which Atalanta might become one of the richest teams in Serie A, and given how much the club succeeded in building a competitive team to reach European competitions, the objectives might get bigger now. According to journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, the owner Antonio Percassi would have been willing to sell 85% of the shares to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., for a huge amount: 350 million euros. Percassi, who bought the stakes in 2010, when the club was playing in Serie B, for only 14 million euros, would remain a minority shareholder in the club after the transaction. With the right men to direct Atalanta’s transfer campaign, since the American owners have next to no idea how “soccer” works (like, they pay a lot of money for cheap players), the Bergamo club might actually become one of the biggest forces in Italy.
Though, for the moment, Atalanta have fallen to 5th place, three points short of the last Champions Leauge spot occupied by Juventus. And the worst thing is that Lazio, Fiorentina and Roma are closing in on the European places, so at the end of the season they might miss Europe if their form doesn’t go up.