Collect News Data
Aug 21, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
Bandinelli (4')
Stojanovic (38'), Ismajli (89')
FT(HT: 1-3)
Milinkovic-Savic (6'), Lazzari (31'), Immobile (41' pen.)
Leiva (29')

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

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

Having seen a club legend depart their dugout during the summer, Lazio start the new Serie A season with a trip to promoted Empoli on Saturday.

Following Simone Inzaghi's switch to champions Inter, now Maurizio Sarri is the man charged with ensuring the Biancocelesti contest a top-four place, while the home side are also finding their feet under new management.

Match preview

A tumultuous 2020-21 campaign at Lazio came to a relatively quiet end, as the capital club comfortably sealed a Europa League place ahead of city rivals Roma - thereby achieving their minimum target after a period racked with injury, illness and controversy.

However, Antonio Conte's departure from Scudetto-winning Inter left behind a vacancy for an intense tactician favouring a 3-5-2 formation at San Siro, so Biancocelesti boss Simone Inzaghi decided to cut his long-standing ties with the club he served both as a player and primavera coach.

Lazio then turned to an old hand to steer them back into contention for the major placings this year, after last term's journey to the Champions League knockout stages whetted the appetite for more European experiences.

While Maurizio Sarri can offer much in terms of his teams' style when singing off the same hymn sheet - not always the case at Chelsea or Juventus - the former Napoli coach also brings with him valuable experience of continental football; the highlight being his Europa League triumph with the Blues in 2019.

Sarri can count on Ciro Immobile, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Francesco Acerbi to again form the spine of a side that had finished in the top five of the table on four out of the last six seasons before last term, but further recruitment has been thin on the ground for a cash-strapped club.

Nonetheless, opening the new campaign at Stadio Carlo Castellani could offer the ideal start to his time in charge - following three draws and a win in Lazio's last four friendlies - as the Roman side have dominated Empoli in recent years. In fact, they have enjoyed five consecutive victories over the Tuscan outfit since 2016 and will expect to extend that supremacy this weekend.

Having cruised to the Serie B title in style last term, Empoli will hope that an enforced change of management will not hamper their hopes of staying afloat at the top level in 2021-22.

Former boss Alessio Dionisi made quite an impression during his year at the helm, before having his head turned by the prospect of replacing Roberto De Zerbi at ambitious Sassuolo earlier this summer, so experienced campaigner Aurelio Andreazzoli has now been brought back for a third spell at Castellani.

Empoli have reinforced the promotion-winning squad by adding Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Patrick Cutrone on loan, with the former Milan man aiming to resurrect a drifting career by helping last year's top scorer Leonardo Mancuso to fire the Azzurri to safety.

Mancuso, once of Juventus, led the way with 20 goals in the second tier and was on target again as Andreazzoli's men ran out 4-2 winners in the first round of the Coppa Italia last week, against Vicenza.

Nearly letting a three-goal advantage slip versus lower-ranked opposition, though, should serve as a warning ahead of the coming challenges - as after hosting Lazio on Saturday, Empoli visit Juventus the following week.

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

Lazio form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D

Team News

Former Empoli coach Maurizio Sarri visits his old club with a full squad at his disposal, as Lazio are expected to have everyone fit and available for the trip to Tuscany.

As expected, the Biancocelesti will transition from Simone Inzaghi's ingrained 3-5-2 - which was such a feature of their success in recent times - towards Sarri's preferred 4-3-3. Therefore, Manuel Lazzari and free signing Elseid Hysaj - who has joined up with his old Napoli boss - should start as full-backs.

Meanwhile, Euro 2020-winner Ciro Immobile is set to be joined by two wide strikers - one of whom could be Felipe Anderson, who rejoins after a failed spell at West Ham. Amid strong interest from several other sides, Joaquin Correa is a contender to be the third member of the attacking trio, but Pedro - another former Sarri pupil, who this week made the rare switch from bitter rivals Roma - is not expected to feature yet.

Empoli are also expected to give league debuts to several players, including Patrick Cutrone - who should join Leonardo Mancuso up front - Petar Stojanovic and Riccardo Marchizza, all of whom have joined on loan.

Aurelio Andreazzoli's side lined up in an adventurous 4-3-1-2 formation for the cup win over Vicenza last week, but it has been suggested that the hosts' coach could possibly switch to a more cautious three-man back line for Lazio's visit.

Despite returning to training this week, young full-back Fabiano Parisi will not feature in that defensive unit, though, as he edges closer to his return from a broken leg.

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Stojanovic, Romagnoli, Ismajli, Marchizza; Ricci, Stulac, Zurkowski; Bajrami; Cutrone, Mancuso

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Reina; Lazzari, Felipe, Acerbi, Hysaj; Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Alberto; Anderson, Immobile, Correa

We say: Empoli 1-3 Lazio

If Lazio's experienced squad can take on board Maurizio Sarri's demands, they may be ready to prove their alliance is one made to last - not a mere marriage of convenience due to lack of other suitors.

Certainly, the prospect of an Empoli side who generally preferred the front foot last term should please the visitors' rapid forwards - as space to exploit is exactly what Immobile, Correa and company thrive upon. For the hosts, a tough start to top-flight life beckons.

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

body check tags ::

amp_article__459867 : Collect and Make Data not in DataBase  : 
last updated article - 2021-08-19 14:54:46:
html db last update - 2021-08-19 10:40:08 :

ex - 7200 : read : write cache and make html
Read more!

This page is available in multiple languages
Share this article now:

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!
Serie A Table
2Inter Milan22007166
4AC Milan22005146
9Atalanta BCAtalanta21102114
17Hellas VeronaHellas Verona200236-30
Scroll for more - Tap for full version

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Brasileiro Table
1Atletico Mineiro18123327131439
8Atletico GoianienseAtletico GO186751517-225
9Athletico ParanaenseAthletico PR187382321224
15Sao Paulo185761520-522
17America MineiroAmerica Mineiro184681522-718
18Sport RecifeSport19388814-617
Scroll for more - Tap for full version
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We value your privacy

A part of our GDPR compliance we need to ask for your consent. We and our partners use technology such as cookies on Sports Mole to personalise content and ads, provide social media features, and analyse our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology on Sports Mole.