Norwich ramp up Premier League preparations with visit of Atalanta
Pasalic and Zapata are key figures for Atalanta (photo: Getty Images)

Norwich ramp up Premier League preparations with visit of Atalanta

The Italian side finished third in Serie A and will contest in the Champions League this season.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

Norwich City will continue an action-packed pre-season schedule as they take on Italian side Atalanta following a 5-1 drubbing of Championship newcomers Luton at the weekend.

The Canaries have lost just one of their five summer fixtures thus far, scoring 14 goals in the process, but face stiff competition from the Serie A club that shocked Italy by finishing third last season.

Italians on tour

Daniel Farke's side have already produced an impressive performance against a club that have recently featured in the Champions League, defeating Schalke 2-1 on Norwich's tour of Germany.

A successful trip to the continent with two wins and a draw for the Canaries, Atalanta's visit to Great Britain has not started in similar fashion. Despite Josip Ilicic scoring as early as the fifth minute, Atalanta were defeated 2-1 in Swansea City's last pre-season friendly of their summer schedule.

The Italians, who are preparing for their first season of Champions League football and have only won major trophy, all of 56 years ago, will conclude their tour against Leicester City on Friday evening.

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Three players to watch

In a squad bereft of household figures, one familiar name comes in the form of Marten de Roon who was part of the Dutch side that defeated England in the UEFA Nations League semi-finals. After an unsuccessful spell at Middlesbrough, the midfielder returned to Atalanta in 2017 and has played a major role in their transformation.

Alongside de Roon in the engine room is Mario Pasalic who scored eight goals in 42 appearances on loan from Chelsea last season. Despite signing a new contract with the London club, Pasalic returns for his second year at Atalanta, as does striker Duvan Zapata.

A Colombian international, Zapata is midway through a two-season loan deal from Sampdoria with an option to purchase and he fired Atalanta up the table last year with 23 league goals in 37 games.

Norwich fans will be keen to see if their own hotshot, Teemu Pukki, recovers from a toe injury that has stunted his pre-season, although a hat-trick from new signing Josip Drmic at the weekend proves that the Canaries have options with firepower in front of a substantially creative midfield.

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