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Sep 22, 2021 at 7.45pm UK

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Preview: Cagliari vs. Empoli - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Cagliari vs. Empoli - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Serie A clash between Cagliari and Empoli, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Newly-promoted Empoli will be looking to claim their second successive away victory in Serie A when they travel to Cagliari on Wednesday evening.

The hosts, meanwhile, have yet to claim all three points so far this season, accumulating just two from a possible 12 available.

Match preview

Despite enduring a difficult start to the new campaign, Cagliari can be pleased with the hard-fought 2-2 draw away at Lazio last weekend.

A looping header from Joao Pedro seconds after the restart cancelled out Ciro Immobile's first-half opener, before Balde Keita scored against his former club to give the visitors the lead midway through the second half.

Cagliari battled hard to keep hold of their narrow lead, however they eventually conceded in the 83rd minute when Danilo Cataldi rifled in from the edge of the penalty area.

Following the sacking of Leonardo Semplici last week, former Watford and Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri is now at the helm, and, although there were some positives to take from their last match, there is plenty his side can still improve on if they wish to climb the Serie A table.

Cagliari have an impressive home record against Wednesday's opponents Empoli, having never lost in seven top-flight meetings against them.

Victory in midweek would see them leapfrog Empoli and could move them out of the relegation zone if other results were to go their way.

Serie B champions Empoli suffered their third successive home defeat last weekend, when they were beaten 3-0 against Sampdoria.

Goals either side of half time from Francesco Caputo, as well as a 70th-minute strike from Antonio Candreva, helped the visitors claim a comfortable victory at the Stadio Carlo Castellani.

Empoli did not lose a single game on home soil in Serie B last season, but life in the top flight has been challenging for Aurelio Andreazzoli's side. Their only victory so far this campaign was surprisingly away at Italian giants Juventus, winning 1-0 last month.

The Blues travel to Cagliari on Wednesday evening after failing to win any of their last six visits to the Sardegna Arena, conceding 12 goals in the process.

Empoli have never lost four of their opening five Serie A matches, so they will be keen to avoid another defeat in midweek.

Cagliari Serie A form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D

Cagliari form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D

Empoli Serie A form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Empoli form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Team News

After being shown a red card in stoppage time against Lazio, Cagliari defender Gabriele Zappa will serve a one-match suspension.

Riccardo Ladinetti (heart condition) and Marko Rog (knee) remain long-term absentees for the hosts, while Paolo Farago (hip), Kevin Strootman (thigh), Damir Ceter (calf) and Diego Godin (knee) are also on the treatment table but could be back by the end of this month.

Mazzari could be tempted to pick the same starting lineup on Wednesday, which would see Uruguayan midfielder Nahitan Nandez – who has been linked with Tottenham Hotspur – play alongside Razvan Marin and Alessandro Deiola in the middle of the pitch.

As for Empoli, Lorenzo Tonelli (knee) and Riccardo Fiamozzi (muscle) are the only injury concerns for Andreazzoli's side.

The Blues have used a 4-3-1-2 formation in each of their first four league matches and are expected to stick with this system on Wednesday.

Leonardo Mancuso, who scored the winning goal against Juventus last month, is set to start again up front alongside Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee Patrick Cutrone, while Albania international Nedim Bajrami will likely operate in the number 10 role just behind the front two.

Cagliari possible starting lineup:
Cragno; Carboni, Ceppitelli, Lykogiannis; Caceres, Nandez, Marin, Deiola, Dalbert; Pedro, Keita

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Stojanovic, Ismajli, Luperto, Marchizza; Haas, Ricci, Henderson; Bajrami; Mancuso, Cutrone

We say: Cagliari 2-2 Empoli

Both sides will be keen to put together a good run of form in the coming weeks and will view Wednesday's fixture as a good opportunity to claim all three points.

However, with little to separate the two teams struggling in and around the relegation zone, an entertaining score draw could be on the cards at the Sardegna Arena.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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