Not that Friday night was ever the pinnacle of your footballing week to begin with – or at least until broadcasters began to think you couldn’t possibly go more than 10 minutes without a game – but there are two live games on television, and after what has clearly been a marathon of non-stop sport, you kind of feel somewhat robbed that you don’t have a full set of fixtures available for your viewing pleasure.
However, one of the benefits of there being only a couple of games for you to browse is that you can really focus on some storylines that catch your interest.
Atalanta are the big story here, and even if you want to keep your head among the brand-name clubs, should Atalanta fail to win tonight, then Juventus will be crowned Serie A Champions.
Forget about them, though. Atalanta are the story of European football in 2019/20.
Having scored 95 times in just 35 games, no other side has exceeded their xG more than the Italian sleepers. And to still have a chance at a title at this stage is remarkable.
Oh, and they’ve got PSG to contend with in the Champions League, too.
But first – they face AC Milan on Friday night. Here’s your three best bets.
These two aren’t exactly similar when it comes to their ruthlessness in front of goal – however both desperately need a win, albeit for totally different reasons.
Ironically, Atalanta traditionally would have bitten your hand off for Europa League success, while Milan were off competing for Serie A titles. But no. This time, it’s the opposite.
Atalanta have scored eight more times than any other side in the division away from home with 44 – an outrageous number in just 17 games.
But it does seem like you’ll be relying on them to find the net if you want to go over 3.5 goals here, as Milan have only mustered as many home goals (27) as 18th-placed Lecce. Now what does that tell you? We’re certainly far removed from the high-flying, attacking prowess of the past, but that’s a very sorry sight at the Giuseppe Meazza.
The bottom line here, however, is that I can’t see a scenario where Milan win this game. They’ve not won more games than they’ve won at the San Siro this season which is unheard of, and Atalanta being a touch above odds-against to win the game when a draw suits nobody does strike me as some level of value.
I certainly think when games are framed like this – where draws are pointless – it adds excitement, and in an up-tempo shootout, I will take Europe’s biggest surprise every single time.
He has scored a goal every 64 minutes this season.
I quite like this bet from a couple of perspectives. If he doesn’t get on the pitch, you get your money back and there’s every chance he actually starts this game because he netted the winner against Bologna in his last appearance.
Oh, and the reason you seem to think his name is familiar? He was that wonderkid in FIFA 12.
Tips for Friday’s Serie A action
- Man Utd deliver fax machines to Europe’s top clubs amid poor David de Gea form
- Peter Crouch’s guide to celebrating safely – in your bubble