CL Quarter-final Review : Atalanta v Neymar (PSG)

In a game where most (not all) expected Neymar to step up and do the business for PSG in the absence of Mbappe, Di Maria & Veratti, he did just that. However, Atalanta did themselves proud, taking the lead in the 26th min through a wonderful goal from Pasalic, holding fast against the onslaught from PSG, right up until the 90th minute.

Champions League first-timers Atalanta will be back next season, but they have had an impressive run in their debut season. They can count themselves unlucky to have lost out so late on to PSG.

As we can see from the SofaScore attacking momentum chart, the PSG took control of the game when Kylian Mbappe came on around the hour mark.

Mbappe is a good place to start. He replaced the woeful Sarabia (mentioned below) in the 60th minute and paid out an excellent 37p. He had three shots on target and assisted former Stoke City man, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, for the winning goal. Readers may recall Choupo-Moting’s incredible miss against Strasbourg in April 2019 – on this occasion he was on hand and able to bundle the ball over the line to seal the win.

Listen to our analysis of this game & the other Quarter finals, along with Semi Final previews this weeks SportStack Weekly Analysis podcast

Naturally Neymar played the role of General for PSG, earning an 85p payout with just a single assist to his name. He had a massive base payout of 53p, and demonstrated his dribbling ability on more than one occasion – 16 occasions in fact, if we’re going by the Opta-powered SportStack scoring matrix. A prime example of this was in the 28th minute, where he took on two Atalanta defenders and shot just wide. He only earned 3p for this run of play because of the miss, but this is the sort of thing that makes watching Neymar so exciting! We’re interested in how Neymar performs in the semi final against Leipzig, with Mbappe surely set to start.

While Neymar was lively all night long, Pablo Sarabia was rather the opposite. A few traders made a profit off the Spaniard, who put in what can only be described as a woeful performance. He was available to short between 51p and 48p before kick off, but managed only 2p for ball recoveries, 2p for passes made. He also gave away a foul in the opening five minutes, leaving him with a payout of 24p. He got hooked on the hour mark which was later than many expected!

As we can see, it wasn’t just the PSG players who performed well. Mario Pasalic got the opening goal with a beautiful first-time shot that nestled in the top corner, leaving Kaylor Navas with absolutely no chance. He paid out 52p but without the goal, he’d have paid out just 32p, which goes to show that the pricing on him was about right, as he had very little involvement. As we can see, he registered just three ball recoveries, and less than 32 passes completed.
If you were brave enough to go long, you’d have profited to the tune of roughly 16p.

Presnel Kimpembe on the other hand, paying out 58p with out any favourable goal involvements, is absolutely nothing to turn your nose up at! He’s priced at 48p buy currently against Leipzig, and you’d imagine he’d be a little more involved defensively, given the amount of time PSG spent in Atalanta’s half.

He made14 ball recoveries, 4 CBIs and over 80 passes at centre-back. Adjusting for the negative points from that Pasalic goal leaves him with with a base payout of 38p – we normally say anything above 30-35p and you’re onto a winning trade!

It wouldn’t be an AlphaStack post without shooting ourselves in the foot. Cast your mind back to December 2019, when we wrote about shorting the substitute goalkeeper, and how based off previous Premier League data, it would be a viable trading strategy. Well, we think that’s still true, but this season would’ve cost you a lot by now! (Market makers have caught onto this, and so it’s not possible to short the substitute goalkeeper in any substantial volume anymore.)


Kaylor Navas got injured in the 79th minute, leaving Sergio Rico to make his 2nd Champions League appearance for PSG this season, thankfully for him, he had absolutely nothing to do at all!

He is likely to be starting for PSG in the Semi Final, priced at 38p buy, are you tempted by this long position at all?

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