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Juventus vs Atalanta: preview: Juventus’ gamble on youth backfires in defeat to Napoli

Massimiliano Allegri’s decision to field his youngest starting lineup (average age of 26 years and 14 days) of the season backfired as Juventus slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Napoli on Sunday.

The result leaves Juventus with just one win in their last six Serie A matches (2 draws, 3 defeats) and their hopes of winning the Scudetto are all but over, as they begin this round 15 points behind leaders Inter Milan.

On the positive side, Juventus’ only win in that run came in their last home game against Frosinone (3-2), but top-four chasers Atalanta will be a much tougher proposition, especially as Juventus have not beaten them here since 2018 (4 draws, 1 defeat).

Another good attacking performance would certainly help Juve, and four games with at least three goals in their last six home games in all competitions suggests they are capable of producing one.

Atalanta looking to end poor away form

After two consecutive league defeats, the most recent of which saw Atalanta lose a halftime lead for the first time in Serie A this season in a 2-1 home defeat to Bologna, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men begin this round five points adrift of the top four.

They at least ended that poor run in midweek by earning a 1-1 draw at Sporting in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie, keeping their season alive on three fronts.

However, it is now three consecutive away games without a win in all competitions (2 draws, 1 defeat) for Atalanta, and their problems on the road go back even further, with just one victory in their last seven away trips in the top flight (3 draws, 3 defeats).

They cannot be faulted for effort, having hit the woodwork three times in midweek in Portugal, so perhaps some more clinical finishing will be enough for them to get back to winning ways here.

Players to watch: With Juventus’ top scorer Dušan Vlahović ruled out through a yellow card suspension, Juventus could look to Federico Chiesa late on. He has scored four of his last six goals after the 75th minute. In contrast, Gianluca Scamacca’s last three goals have all been scored before the break, including in midweek in Portugal.

Hot stat: Juventus have conceded before halftime in five consecutive matches, while Atalanta have scored in that period in 11 of their last 12 competitive outings.

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