Roma v Atalanta: 3 opposition players to watch

Sitting nine points behind Roma, 10th placed Atalanta visit Rome this weekend with a speedy attack and a physical defense.

With the Giallorossi desperate to put Tuesday’s game against Barcelona behind them at the earliest opportunity, Wayne Girard picks out three Atalanta players Roma will need to look out for…   

Alejandro Gomez

The Argentine returned to Italy last season following a solitary year with Metalist. Still just 27, Gomez can make Roma pay from free-kicks, and is a talented dribbler who draws out opposing defenders. With three goals and two assists, he has featured in every match this season for the Nerazzurri and with an 82% pass completion percentage, he’s more than able to help his side keep possession in an opponent’s half.

Maxi Moralez

Also making his way from Argentina, Moralez has an almost identical height as Gomez, yet weighs in half a dozen kilograms less - which may explain his fantastic turn of pace. The experienced playmaker has been making Serie A pay for years now with his creativity and class at the forefront of Italian football.

Also featuring in every match this season for Atalanta, Moralez has four assists and one goal for his efforts so far. He averages almost three key-passes per match and is the man that makes the Atalanta attack tick. Though he rarely shoots from outside the box, Roma’s fullbacks will need to be on their guard as he likes to dribble and take players on at every opportunity.

Marco Sportiello

One of Italy’s hottest goalkeeping prospects, the 23-year-old measures in at 1.92 metres and has been playing first-team football for two years now. Starting every match this season, Sportiello’s concentration, tactical awareness and shot-stopping ability make him a difficult keeper to beat. In the last two matches he has only let up one goal and earned a clean sheet against Milan. However, with Atalanta missing their starting left-back, Boukary Dramé, Sportiello could face more trouble than usual thanks to the combined threat of Edin Džeko, Iago Falque and Juan Iturbe.