Serie A returns this Friday as Empoli host Cremonese in what will be their last league game before the World Cup begins.
Venue: Stadio Carlo Castellani (Empoli)
Empoli have scored just a solitary goal in five of their last six SA home games (W2, D1, L3).
They have failed to score in three of their last four league games.
The hosts have picked up a solitary point after trailing in SA this campaign (D1, L6).
Cremonese have conceded 24 goals in the league this season. Only two teams, Spezia (25) and Verona (26) have conceded more.
The visitors have lost just one of their last five league games (D4).
They are the only team yet to win a Serie A game this season.
They have drawn the most matches in SA this season (seven) including four in a row on the road.
Head to head
In nine meetings between both sides, Empoli have three wins while Cremonese have one win.
Latest performances in all competitions
Empoli will look to get back to winning ways when they host Cremonese on Friday.
Despite a valiant effort, the ten-man hosts lost 2-0 to table-topping Napoli in midweek. The result consigned them to a third defeat across their last four games (W1) and kept them in 14th place, seven points ahead of their visitors who are occupying the last relegation spot in the table.
Although results have not lined up well for them, there are still some positives to be taken from their recent games, as all their last three losses came against Serie A top-four hopefuls, whilst keeping Napoli quiet for more than an hour prompted manager Paolo Zanetti to revere it as “a matter of pride.”
A win here would be the perfect way to cap that performance and go into the World Cup break with hopes raised of extending their two-season stay in the top flight.
However, any Empoli victory may be a tight one given each of their three league wins this season have come via a 1-0 scoreline. The hosts have also scored just a solitary goal in five of their last six league home games (W2, D1, L3), with that sequence accounting for 50% of their points this season.
Possible Empoli starting line-up
Guglielmo Vicario; Petar Stojanovic, Ardian Ismajili, Sebastiano Luperto, Fabiano Parisi; Nicolas Haas, Razvan Marin, Filippo Bandinelli; Tommaso Baldanzi; Martin Satriano, Nedim Bajrami.
Injured: Mattie Destro, Koni De Winter
Doubtful: Lorenzo Tonelli
Serie A newcomers Cremonese continued their slow, yet steady climb out of the relegation zone with another brave display in midweek.
The visitors snatched a point from their last outing when they held Scudetto holders AC Milan to a goalless draw at home. The win was their third stalemate in a row and has pushed them from the bottom of the table to 18th place.
And so, they come into this tie with the chance to climb above the red zone should they win here and Lecce loses their game. However, they are still looking for their first league win–the only side yet to win in this Serie A campaign.
But Massimiliano Alvini’s men have not been entirely dreadful as they have fallen on the wrong side of fine margins, having drawn the most matches in Serie A this season (seven) including four in a row on the road.
While they search to end that run and secure a first-ever top-flight win over Empoli (D5, L3), Cremonese may look for another quick start given their last three away team openers arrived before the 20th minute.
Possible Cremonese starting line-up
Marco Carnesecchi; Emanuel Aiwu, Matteo Bianchetti, Johan Vasquez, Paolo Ghiglione, Emanuele Valeri; Gonzalo Escalante, Michele Castagnetti, Soualiho Meite; Felix Afena-Gyan, Daniel Ciofani.
Injured: Cyriel Dessers
Doubtful: Ionut Radu, Vlad Chiriches
Empoli 2-0 Cremonese