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Oct 23, 2021 at 2pm UK
Ranieri (48'), Ismajli (55' og.)
Ranieri (76')
FT(HT: 0-4)
Pinamonti (2', 45' pen.), Cutrone (11'), Strandberg (13' og.)
Stojanovic (33'), Haas (53'), Marchizza (86')

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

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

Two promoted clubs clash on Saturday, as Salernitana welcome Empoli to Stadio Arechi with the sides having experienced contrasting starts to the Serie A season.

While the hosts - who switched managers in midweek - have won just once so far and sit rock-bottom of the standings, their visitors from Tuscany have adapted better and occupy a mid-table spot.

Match preview

After starting their first season back in the top flight for 23 years with only four points from eight matches, Salernitana took early action this week, as head coach Fabrizio Castori was relieved of his duties, to be replaced by former boss Stefano Colantuono.

The ex-Atalanta coach resigned first time around, in 2018, after three consecutive defeats left the promotion hopefuls adrift of the Serie B playoff places. Having been away from the touchline since, instead working as a technical director, Colantuono has a sizeable task on his hands to keep the Granata afloat this term.

Last Saturday's 2-1 loss at fellow strugglers Spezia - in a game where they had taken the lead late in the first half, only to blow that advantage at Stadio Alberto Picco - proved the final act in Castori's reign.

Their former manager endured great difficulty in getting his team to keep the back door shut, and Salernitana have faced nearly 17 shots per game on average in Serie A this season - only Granada and Leeds United have fared worse across the top five European leagues. Furthermore, they have already conceded 17 times, compared to their own paltry tally of six league strikes.

At least summer signing Simy got off the mark last time out, though the rangy striker remains well off his pace of last season, when he surprised many by going on to become a Capocannoniere contender and managed a streak of seven successive scoring games in early spring.

Colantuono, then, will hope last week's strike will herald a similar run for the Nigerian forward in the coming weeks, as the new man in charge looks to steer his side away from the foot of the table.

Though the last time they visited Salerno they were beaten 2-0 by the home side, Empoli still ended the season as Serie B champions, and they have come out on top in three of their previous four meetings with Salernitana - including a comprehensive 5-0 win at the start of the year.

Sitting 11th following their impressive return to the top tier of Calcio in the summer, Empoli have gained six points from their three road trips in Serie A this season, and will be confident of adding a further three to their tally against opponents whose adaptation has not gone so well.

However, the Tuscan side have lost their last two outings - both against top four contenders - to temper expectations which rose following the famous win over Juventus several weeks ago. A 2-0 reverse to Roma at Stadio Olimpico before the international break was followed, last week, by a chastening 4-1 loss to Atalanta on home soil for Aurelio Andreazzoli's men.

Nonetheless, the Azzurri now travel south in the unusual position of being hot favourites to take maximum points, as they seek to capitalise on one of their easier fixtures on paper - before facing champions Inter in midweek.

Salernitana Serie A form:
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L

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

Team News

Though he has failed to score so far this month, on-loan striker Andrea Pinamonti is set to start up front for Empoli on Saturday, and the Inter prospect should join either Federico Di Francesco or Patrick Cutrone in the forward duo.

Albania international Nedim Bajrami is hoping for a recall in an advanced midfield role for the visitors, after spending most of the past few matches on the bench, but has stiff competition from Liam Henderson, who started last weekend.

Both midfielder Samuele Ricci and back-up goalkeeper Jacopo Furlan are set to stay sidelined due to injury, and the Empoli XI should otherwise remain relatively unchanged.

Meanwhile, ahead of Stefano Colantuono's return to the Arechi dugout, Salernitana have seen midfield regular Mamadou Coulibaly join their list of players struggling with muscular issues.

His fitness will be evaluated during the build-up to the game, but Luka Bogdan, Matteo Ruggeri and Leonardo Capezzi are expected to miss out once again. Frederic Veseli tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from international duty with Albania and is still out of contention.

Not only that, but Lassana Coulibaly, Norbert Gyomber, Joel Obi - who started in La Spezia - and Norwegian defender Stefan Strandberg are also believed to be carrying knocks.

After breaking his duck last week, Simy should start up front with support from Milan Djuric, though Federico Bonazzoli provides another option for the hosts' new coach. Veteran winger Franck Ribery could be back from an ankle injury to take a place on the bench.

Salernitana possible starting lineup:
Belec; Gyomber, Strandberg, Gagliolo, Ranieri; Kastanos, Obi, Schiavone, Di Tacchio; Djuric, Simy

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Stojanovic, Viti, Romagnoli, Marchizza; Haas, Stulac, Zurkowski; Bajrami; Pinamonti, Di Francesco

We say: Salernitana 1-2 Empoli

Though the sudden impact of a managerial change may lift spirits in the Salernitana camp, they can be crushed instantly by an Empoli outfit who only had their positive start ended by a pair of Serie A heavyweights.

The visitors are a much better prospect to retain their elite-level status next May, and can keep their former Serie B colleagues in the mire with a win on Saturday.

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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