Saturday, December 15, 2018

Prediction: Cagliari vs Atalanta

Verdict: Away win

Best Odds: 6/5

Bookmaker: William Hill

Cagliari head into the final game of the season knowing that a win would secure Serie A survival, but defeating Europa League hopefuls Atalanta will be no easy task even if Orobici have all but clinched another European qualification thanks to a last-gasp equaliser vs AC Milan last weekend.

Cagliari

Cagliari largely impressed on their return to the elite division, finishing the previous league campaign in 12th position, but the club went on to experience plenty of problems in the current campaign. Isolani enjoyed some good spells as well, but had several poor run of results that saw them slip into the danger zone, and they were in a very difficult position ahead of the final two Serie A fixtures.

However, despite taking just one point from previous four, Cagliari showed a great deal of character to defeat Fiorentina on the road, thus seriously improving their own survival hopes and at the same time ending Viola’s Europa League dream. Sitting just one point above 18th-place Crotone, Isolani need to defeat Atalanta in order to be sure of playing Serie A football next season as well, although even one point will be enough if their relegation rivals fail to defeat Napoli on the road.

Team News

The hosts will be without the suspended Joao Pedro, whereas Leandro Castan and Damir Ceter miss out through injury.

Atalanta

Atalanta may have failed to repeat last season’s fourth-place finish, but second successive Europa League qualification in one of Europe’s strongest leagues is definitely a worthy achievement for a relatively small club, no disrespect intended. Famous for their impressive youth academy, Orobici have finally started to impress in Italian Serie A and they enter the final game of the season with European qualification already in the bag.

But, even though there is not much to play for on Sunday, Atalanta will attempt to defeat Cagliari and finish in sixth, leaving AC Milan to trail in their wake in addition to sides like Sampdoria, Torino and Fiorentina. Orobici have been in fine form over the last few weeks, winning three straight league fixtures before back to back draws vs Lazio and AC Milan saw them secure a top 7 finish. With several first team regulars missing the trip to Sardinia, some back-up players will get their chance to shine.

Team News

Talented forward Musa Barrow looks set to continue up front, but Petagna, Cornelius, Spinazzola and Rizzo are injured, while Masiello and Toloi are banned.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Their last three meetings in Cagliari produced exactly three goals each
  • Isolani won two of those games, losing once
  • The two teams did not share spoils in any of their last seven meetings
  • Cagliari failed to score in three of last four home games (W1 D1 L2)
  • Atalanta won three of last six away games (D2 L1)

Conclusion

Cagliari will be under pressure to record a win even though they will probably avoid the drop in case of draw or defeat, and that is something relaxed Atalanta side can definitely exploit. Therefore, we are backing Orobici to end another successful season in style.

Verdict: Away win

Best Odds: 6/5

Bookmaker: William Hill

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