Friday, November 5
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Oct 26, 2021 at 5.30pm UK
Sirigu (66' og.)
Bastoni (55'), Provedel (85')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Criscito (86' pen.)
Biraschi (60'), Kallon (65'), Caicedo (79'), Masiello (89')

Preview: Spezia vs. Genoa - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Two sides at the wrong end of the Serie A standings meet on Tuesday evening, as struggling Spezia host a Genoa side who have won only once all season.

Both teams lost again at the weekend and have picked up just three points from their last five fixtures, so will be keen to boost their meagre tally against a potential relegation rival.

Match preview

Last week's comeback win against promoted Salernitana may have helped Spezia out of the Serie A relegation zone, but their joy at posting a second league victory of the 2021-22 campaign was short-lived, as they failed to build on that success on Friday night.

The Aquilotti's hosts, Sampdoria, were well deserving of a 2-1 win over their fellow Ligurians at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, consigning them to a sixth defeat from nine league matches.

Samp's veteran winger Antonio Candreva was instrumental in their victory, as he was involved in an own goal by Spezia's Emmanuel Gyasi before netting the crucial second just before the break. Daniele Verde's stunning 94th-minute strike was nothing but a consolation for the visiting side, who remain embroiled in a battle at the bottom of the table.

Head coach Thiago Motta may have been dealing with a series of injuries of late, but has yet to impress as successor to the popular Vincenzo Italiano, who departed for Fiorentina during the summer.

The former Azzurri star's only previous managerial experience in Serie A came during a brief spell at Spezia's next opponents Genoa, in the winter of 2019. While in charge at the Marassi, Motta oversaw just two wins from his ten games before being fired during the festive season.

Now he has a similar record to show for his time in the hot-seat at Stadio Alberto Picco, and is under severe pressure to help his current club record a first top-flight victory over the Grifone, following two defeats last term. A second Ligurian derby defeat within the space of a week would surely give the Spezia board further cause to consider his future.

Another manager under severe scrutiny at the moment is one of Motta's successors at Genoa, the troubled Davide Ballardini, who saw his team's winless streak extended to a sixth successive game last time out.

Angered by several basic errors in a 3-2 defeat to Torino on Friday evening, Ballardini refuted suggestions his tenure at Marassi could be coming to a close - not an unfamiliar experience for the four-time Grifone boss - but also admitted that defensive deficiencies must be resolved if Genoa are to improve.

Like Spezia, situated 100 km along the Ligurian coast, Genoa have already conceded more than 20 goals this term - undermining the excellent work of top scorer Mattia Destro at the other end of the pitch.

Against Torino, the ex-Roma striker was on target for the sixth time in as many matches this season, following a streaky campaign last year, when his 11 goals played a significant part in keeping the Grifone up.

His input - and perhaps that of his similarly experienced colleague Felipe Caicedo, who also netted last Friday - is likely to be needed once more in La Spezia, as Genoa seek their first win since the middle of September.

Spezia Serie A form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Genoa Serie A form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L

Team News

Ahead of his former club's arrival, Thiago Motta is set to be without up to eight squad members, as Spezia's injury list stubbornly refuses to shorten.

The Aquilotti named only seven substitutes at the weekend, as Kevin Agudelo - with a foot injury - joined Jacopo Sala on the sidelines. Midfielders Mehdi Bourabia and Leo Sena are also among those still doubtful for Tuesday's game.

Mercifully for Motta, most of his attacking options remain fit and well, and M'Bala Nzola should start up front, supported by Emmanuel Gyasi, while Daniele Verde will expect a recall following his spectacular intervention from the bench against Sampdoria.

Meanwhile, the visitors' main injury concerns relate to the defensive positions, as Zinho Vanheusden, Mattia Bani and Nikola Maksimovic are expected to be missing again.

Partly due to a shortage of personnel, Davide Ballardini switched to an unfamiliar four-man back line versus Torino - to little effect - so may opt to revert to a 3-5-2, which could see Stefano Sabelli come back in to the side at wing-back.

Having scored on his second outing of the season last Friday, Felipe Caicedo will hope to join Mattia Destro in the front pair - though promising forward Yayah Kallon and grizzled veteran Goran Pandev provide other options for the Genoa coach.

Spezia possible starting lineup:
Provedel; Ferrer, Hristov, Nikolaou, Bastoni; Maggiore, Kovalenko; Gyasi, Verde, Strelec; Nzola

Genoa possible starting lineup:
Sirigu; Biraschi, Vasquez, Criscito; Sabelli, Toure, Behrami, Rovella, Fares; Caicedo, Destro

We say: Spezia 2-2 Genoa

Neither side can claim to be confident about preventing the other from scoring at the Picco, so it could be an open affair, with both searching for an elusive three-point haul.

However, the game could end all square at the final whistle, due to the teams sharing similar strengths and weaknesses.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data

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