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Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta have been Italy’s most pleasant surprise through twelve rounds and currently grasp one of Serie A’s coveted five European spots.

Over the course of five seasons, Juventus has cemented themselves as Italy’s most dominant club, winning five straight Scudetti. They have been tested — slightly — at times by the likes of Roma and Napoli but ultimately, remain in a class of their own. It’s the Bianconeri, then everyone else.

Juventus are the established favorites to hoist their sixth straight league crown, but the competition for spots two through five remains tighter than ever. Roma (26) sit four points behind The ‘Old Lady’ in second followed by A.C. Milan (25), Lazio (22), then surprise outfit Atalanta (22, behind on goal difference) who have exceeded the pre-season expectations placed upon them by outsiders.

La Dea’s current impressive run into mid-November has experts wondering what birthed this surge. Yes, their talented youth has earned heaps of praise, yet most were under the impression that a possible run at Europe was still a few years away. Many, however, had said the same about Serie A’s sweethearts Sassuolo last year before they sealed their first ever trip to a UEFA competition.

The Neroverdi, led by their commander in chief Eusebio Di Francesco, were a sheer delight to examine last season around Italy. A structure built on fledgling Italian youth and a sprinkling of journeymen was the formula for success and it was something even the biggest skeptics saw joy in.

The Città del Tricolore tenants are a minimally budgeted, Italian driven, well-oiled machine who overthrew one of Italy’s prestigious clubs, Milan. It was unlike anything we had seen over the last several years across peninsula, but at the same time, appeared to be an anomaly. That is until Atalanta came around of course.

While Atalanta still have a ways to go before they seize a spot in Europe, Bergamo’s beloved Goddess are demonstrating unique comparisons to Sassuolo’s 2015-16 performance twelve matches in.

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