This weekend Serie A resumes action and on Sunday Roma travel to Bergamo – as they face off against Serie A’s surprise package of the season so far, Atalanta.
Atalanta have captured 18 of the last 21 points up for grabs, with manager Gian Piero Gasperini surpassing all expectations at his new club. as the campaign begins to hit its stride
The steadfast work of his players and synergy within the squad has put the rest of the league on alert – and our columnist believes these three players pose the greatest threat on Sunday…
The architect within the Nerazzurri’s offensive third, the Argentine attacker already has three goals this campaign. It is important to note the role Gasperini’s decision to switch Gomez to a central attacking role has had, diverting him from his typical left-sided outlet.
Gomez has completed 262 passes this season with an accuracy of 77% - of which 81% were forward passes. His push to drive the ball forward is complemented by his skillful footwork, in which he is often seen cutting through and attempting to turn his opponent to their back foot.
An in-form Gomez will mean complications for Roma’s defenders on Sunday, especially if he wriggles free and finds space around him in the middle of the park. But a concentrated, contained approach should be enough to compromise his influence.
Born in the home of former Friuli-powerhouse Triestina, the young centre forward has notched three goals and created two assists thus far this season. Petagna though is far from typical – he uses his big frame eloquently to find space behind the last defenders, and is also complimented by a very powerful left foot.
Late last month against Genoa, Petagna also demonstrated the ability to create – making two assists from within the box.
Most frightening of the 21-year-old is his shot accuracy of 88%. Given such deadly precision, all attention must be given to prevent Petagna from threatening the goalkeeper from clear-cut situations.
Still only 19 years old, Kessie is already showing all the makings to become a top player.
Typically deployed in defensive midfield, the Ivory Coast teenager is equally adapt at using both feet, and is relentless in leading play forward. This drive has rewarded him with four goals and one assist, while also earning penalty kick responsibilities for his side.
From the middle of the pitch, Kessie has completed 335 passes with an accuracy of 84%, of which 73% were forward passes. He has also increasingly proven his worth in defence, by averaging over one interception and tackle completed per match.
Given his little time playing on a professional level, Kessie is sometimes guilty of lacking discipline and committing fouls – not unexpected for a young, raw talent but nevertheless an area where Roma should be able to take advantage if they play a smart and collected game throughout the midfield.