PARMA, ITALY - OCTOBER 23: Maximiliano Moralez (L) of Atalanta BC celebrates his second goal with Matias Ezequiel Schelotto during the Serie A match between Parma FC and Atalanta BC at Stadio Ennio Tardini on October 23, 2011 in Parma, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Atalanta surprised many last season when the Serie A newcomers overcame a 6-point deduction and finished in 12th. Having kept the core of their squad, it's likely that the team from Bergamo will do even better this time around.
Are Atalanta, going into just their second consecutive season in Serie A, aiming for a European position? Or just to climb the table? Either way, their determination to hang on to the majority of their starting squad speaks to the fact that la dea plan on being in the first division for quite some time.
12th, Serie A. Absent a 6-point deduction at the start of the season, freshly-promoted Atalanta could have finished 9th, just above Bologna. Very impressive for a club just out of Serie B.
Atalanta appear to be operating on a "better the devil you know" policy. Manager Stefano Colantuono has been with the club since summer 2010, making him a venerable institution in Italian football. With the exception of bringing in centre-back Carlos Matheu as likely cover for captain Gianpaolo Bellini, Atalanta's starting XI looks like it will be about the same. Andrea Consigli will continue as one of the most underrated goalkeepers in Italy. Luca Cigarini has been officially signed from Napoli and will continue in midfield, alongside Ezequiel Schelotto, Giacomo Bonaventura and Carlos Carmona. La Dea have hung on to the adorable Maxi Moralez, who plays just behind goalscorer German Denis.
Keep An Eye On
Germán Denis and Maxi Moralez. Does the almost 31-year-old striker have the ability to replicate his 16-goal season? Fans of la dea certainly hope so, as otherwise they'll be relying on fellow Argentine Maxi Moralez to up his 6-goal tally. But Napoli and Udinese supporters must be thinking this version of Denis is just a blip, considering his production while at both clubs. What is it that Colantuono has done to coax the goals from the forward? Or is it simply his partnership with Moralez? If both improve this season, Atalanta could well be a force to contend with.
Solid midtable. Atalanta are not a huge club, nor are they rolling in dough. In a football world which seems to demand constant change, perhaps it's consistency that will allow this squad to aim higher.