Finally, four months after schedule, we’ve reached the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Will PSG, who’ve long been trying to break into Europe’s elite by going deep into this competition, reach the semis? Or will Atalanta, who’ve turned plenty of heads this term, continue to make history by extending their first ever season in Europe’s premier competition? On Wednesday, the pair lock horns at Estádio da Luz in Lisbon, Portugal where the rest of the UCL will play out (3pm ET).
Read on for our Atalanta vs PSG predictions and match preview, ending with our betting selection at the best of the odds from our elite band of recommended American bookies.
Earlier in the competition, PSG made light work of making it out of a group with Real Madrid, Club Brugge and Galatasaray, winning five and drawing one of their six matches, keeping an impressive five clean sheets in the process. Unlike their Parisian opponents, after losing each of their first three, Atalanta needed a late dash to squeeze their way through the groups.
During the last 16, PSG had to rely on a home turnaround after losing to Dortmund in the first leg, winning by three goals to two on aggregate, while Atalanta breezed through, beating Valencia both home and away, scoring no less than eight goals in the process.
La Dea grown in confidence
Their first ever Champions League campaign started off as a wobbly one, but little by little, Atalanta have got to grips with football at the highest level and are now starting to thrive. They showed themselves to be capable of keeping pace with the big boys when drawing with Manchester City before the turn of the year. Those not up to speed with the Italian game got to witness their attacking qualities, of which there are many, when Gian Piero Gasperini’s men scored for fun against Valencia during the previous round.
Psychological barrier for PSG?
PSG have long been one of the biggest spenders in the European game and it has been a while since they had a shortage of talent. However, to their embarrassment, they have never been further than the last eight of the Champions League. In fact, Les Parisiens haven’t been further than the last-16 since 2016, when they were beaten by three goals to two (on aggregate) by Manchester City. The fact that they have previously been unable to go deep into the competition will surely be playing on the minds of Thomas Tuchel and his troops. Will this have a negative effect? It has done in the past, that’s for sure.
Don’t be fooled by the odds
The early betting ahead of this match suggests that Paris Saint-Germain ought to go through without too much of a fuss, though bettors shouldn’t underestimate Atalanta. They have an incredible amount of firepower and have no problem going toe-to-toe with a big-named side.
Not only have the Italians avoided defeat against Manchester City this season, but they have also beaten the likes of Napoli, AC Milan and Roma and have drawn against both Inter and Juventus. Atalanta finished the 2019/20 Serie A campaign just five points off top spot and weren’t only the highest scorers in the league but were the best performers in terms of *expected goals (xG) too. La Dea scored a whopping average of 2.57 goals per 90 in Serie A last term, while they also averaged an impressive 2.26 expected goals.
PSG also produced extremely solid offensive numbers domestically, notching an average of 2.77 goals, creating an average of 2.83 expected goals, though they do so in an easier league. We’ve also seen that PSG are no strangers to fluffing their lines when considered warm favorites. Ligue 1’s financial giants failed to win five times when heavy favorites during the 19/20 campaign.
*expected goals (xG for short) equals the number of goals that should have been scored based on the number, type and quality of chances created in match.
Neither great at the back
As the above shows, both teams have plenty about them going forward, though neither are great at the back. Atalanta have conceded more goals than PSG in this competition this term, but in terms of chances given away, the pair certainly aren’t a million miles away. What’s more, in terms of shots conceded, there is not much in it either. PSG have surrendered 97 shots in the Champions League this term, while Atalanta have, coincidentally, conceded 97 too.
Atalanta vs PSG Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict: Atalanta the team to be on
With this being a one-off tie, and with both sides carrying a serious threat in the final third, coupled with the fact that neither regularly cover themselves in glory when push comes to shove defensively, this really could go either way.
Be that as it may, it’s hard to feel that PSG merit such strong favoritism. There’s not a lot between the two when we break it down, while Atalanta have tussled with some top sides this term, so much so that they look over-priced by the sportsbooks. On that basis, a punt on the Italians to get a positive result makes sense. Our Atalanta vs PSG predictions are: