Ederson the driving force behind Atalanta’s surge into Europa League semis

Ederson the driving force behind Atalanta’s surge into Europa League semis

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An early scare, but very little thereafter. Atalanta settled quickly enough against Liverpool in their Europa League quarter-final second leg after conceding a rapid penalty, and despite giving up possession for most of the match it was never really much of a contest – the damage was done in the first leg, as far as the Premier League side were concerned. For the Serie A outfit, it’s now all about reaching next season’s Champions League – and though they are fighting on two fronts to achieve that, it’s increasingly likely to be this competition they look to achieve it in.


By Karl Matchett


While there were naturally several big performers in the first leg – Gianluca Scamacca’s goals, Davide Zappacosta’s overlaps, Berat Djimsiti’s defensive awareness – arguably one player in blue stood out most, with two standout showings against the Reds.

That was Éderson Jose dos Santos Lourenço da Silva, thankfully known as simply Éderson for back-of-shirt purposes, who was dominant, energetic and ferocious in the first leg and controlled, decisive and effective in the second. Sat in the middle of the park, his role is part destroyer, part driving force, a magnet for the ball when the opposition have possession and facilitator for his more attack-minded teammates whether he plays in a double pivot or part of a three.

A 24-year-old Brazilian who remains uncapped, Éderson’s rise has not been a particularly high-profile one. He was part of the Cruzeiro squad as a youngster which was relegated for the first time in their history, he later signed for Corinthians before moving to Europe for the first time with Italian side Salernitana. Half a season there was enough to convince Atalanta, who landed him in summer 2022. It has been a very productive almost-two-years since then, with the young midfielder quickly making his presence felt at the Gerwiss Stadium.

In 2022/23, he played over 2,200 minutes for Atalanta – he tallied around the equivalent of 25 full matches – and ranked among the finest in Italy that year in plenty of key metrics for combative midfielders: ahead of 74% for tackles won and also for recoveries, in the top 87% for interceptions and fully ahead of 90% of all other midfielders for duels won. All that, with just four yellow cards across the season, too.

Into this term, it’s much more of the same and more impressive across the board. Indeed, the team is getting more out of him in an attacking sense, too, as his driving runs from deep come to the fore in a team which thrives on powerful transitions. Éderson has six Serie A goals and one assist, to go with being in or around the top 30 in the league for tackles won and interceptions made. Across all top-league midfielders, Éderson ranks as better than 70% of them for defensive actions and 81% of them for goals – quite the combination as an all-round star.

Which is exactly what Liverpool got to experience.

In the first leg he made seven defensive actions in total – no Liverpool player surpassed him in that regard – and it wasn’t even one of his best performances, numbers-wise. He was, though, one of several constant issues that the Premier League side never got to grips with: the infinite energy to step out of line, press the player in possession, stay with his man and force the home side backwards. They never found a way around that relentless marking approach and had nobody who could match Éderson in particular for mobility, athleticism and tactical diligence.

Back in Bergamo, much of the same – except the Brazilian was more involved in some of the build-up work. Three entries into the final third, six recoveries and a shot on target again highlighted his box-to-box capacity to influence games, but it was once more just as much his off-the-ball work which marked him out as a leader of the Atalanta side and a problematic opponent for Liverpool.

Atalanta now progress to play Marseille in the semi-finals, an eminently winnable tie given the French club’s ongoing Ligue 1 struggles, where they have lost three in a row and now sit ninth. The path to the Europa League final, then, looks very much open to Atalanta – and of course winning the competition yields a Champions League spot for 2024/25.

It may well be that there are five places in the end for Italian sides in that competition through their league form, but Atalanta sit sixth and the side ahead of them, AS Roma, are absolutely flying right now. European form, therefore, must remain the focus for Gian Piero Gasperini and his team; win that and they become immortals at their club as well as returning to the big time next year. If they manage it, you can guarantee who will be right in the centre of everything they achieve: the No.13 who dominates both halves of the pitch.


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every Atalanta game with xG, deep stats, and players ratings, on FotMob this season. Download the free app here.

Ederson the driving force behind Atalanta’s surge into Europa League semis

An early scare, but very little thereafter. Atalanta settled quickly enough against Liverpool in their Europa League quarter-final second leg after conceding a rapid penalty, and despite giving up possession for most of the match it was never really much of a contest – the damage was done in the first leg, as far as the Premier League side were concerned. For the Serie A outfit, it’s now all about reaching next season’s Champions League – and though they are fighting on two fronts to achieve that, it’s increasingly likely to be this competition they look to achieve it in.


By Karl Matchett


While there were naturally several big performers in the first leg – Gianluca Scamacca’s goals, Davide Zappacosta’s overlaps, Berat Djimsiti’s defensive awareness – arguably one player in blue stood out most, with two standout showings against the Reds.

That was Éderson Jose dos Santos Lourenço da Silva, thankfully known as simply Éderson for back-of-shirt purposes, who was dominant, energetic and ferocious in the first leg and controlled, decisive and effective in the second. Sat in the middle of the park, his role is part destroyer, part driving force, a magnet for the ball when the opposition have possession and facilitator for his more attack-minded teammates whether he plays in a double pivot or part of a three.

A 24-year-old Brazilian who remains uncapped, Éderson’s rise has not been a particularly high-profile one. He was part of the Cruzeiro squad as a youngster which was relegated for the first time in their history, he later signed for Corinthians before moving to Europe for the first time with Italian side Salernitana. Half a season there was enough to convince Atalanta, who landed him in summer 2022. It has been a very productive almost-two-years since then, with the young midfielder quickly making his presence felt at the Gerwiss Stadium.

In 2022/23, he played over 2,200 minutes for Atalanta – he tallied around the equivalent of 25 full matches – and ranked among the finest in Italy that year in plenty of key metrics for combative midfielders: ahead of 74% for tackles won and also for recoveries, in the top 87% for interceptions and fully ahead of 90% of all other midfielders for duels won. All that, with just four yellow cards across the season, too.

Into this term, it’s much more of the same and more impressive across the board. Indeed, the team is getting more out of him in an attacking sense, too, as his driving runs from deep come to the fore in a team which thrives on powerful transitions. Éderson has six Serie A goals and one assist, to go with being in or around the top 30 in the league for tackles won and interceptions made. Across all top-league midfielders, Éderson ranks as better than 70% of them for defensive actions and 81% of them for goals – quite the combination as an all-round star.

Which is exactly what Liverpool got to experience.

In the first leg he made seven defensive actions in total – no Liverpool player surpassed him in that regard – and it wasn’t even one of his best performances, numbers-wise. He was, though, one of several constant issues that the Premier League side never got to grips with: the infinite energy to step out of line, press the player in possession, stay with his man and force the home side backwards. They never found a way around that relentless marking approach and had nobody who could match Éderson in particular for mobility, athleticism and tactical diligence.

Back in Bergamo, much of the same – except the Brazilian was more involved in some of the build-up work. Three entries into the final third, six recoveries and a shot on target again highlighted his box-to-box capacity to influence games, but it was once more just as much his off-the-ball work which marked him out as a leader of the Atalanta side and a problematic opponent for Liverpool.

Atalanta now progress to play Marseille in the semi-finals, an eminently winnable tie given the French club’s ongoing Ligue 1 struggles, where they have lost three in a row and now sit ninth. The path to the Europa League final, then, looks very much open to Atalanta – and of course winning the competition yields a Champions League spot for 2024/25.

It may well be that there are five places in the end for Italian sides in that competition through their league form, but Atalanta sit sixth and the side ahead of them, AS Roma, are absolutely flying right now. European form, therefore, must remain the focus for Gian Piero Gasperini and his team; win that and they become immortals at their club as well as returning to the big time next year. If they manage it, you can guarantee who will be right in the centre of everything they achieve: the No.13 who dominates both halves of the pitch.


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every Atalanta game with xG, deep stats, and players ratings, on FotMob this season. Download the free app here.