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Jan 23, 2022 at 5pm UK at Stadio Carlo Castellani
2 - 4
Pinamonti (55'), Bajrami (72')
Tonelli (63'), Benassi (83')
FT(HT: 0-4)
Abraham (24', 33'), Oliveira (35'), Zaniolo (37')
Mancini (52'), Cristante (85')

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

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

Seeking to improve their awful away form and get back in the race for a top four place, Roma visit faltering Empoli on Sunday evening.

While the Giallorossi have won back-to-back matches in league and cup, they will arrive at Stadio Carlo Castellani having slipped seven points adrift of the Champions League places - sitting just six above their mid-table hosts.

Match preview

Having recovered from the shattering blow of their late collapse against Juventus by scraping a win over Cagliari last weekend, Roma added Coppa Italia progress to those three Serie A points in midweek.

Top scorer Tammy Abraham's 54th-minute goal put the capital club in front after a going a goal down to Serie B side Lecce on Thursday, and they ultimately went on to seal a 3-1 win which sees them into the quarter-finals, where they face Inter next month.

After a short period of adaptation, the former Chelsea striker has now racked up 15 goals in 29 appearances across all competitions for Jose Mourinho's side - scoring eight in Serie A so far - and has started to strike up a rapport with the club's committed fans.

However, Abraham's integration has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise unconvincing campaign, and Roma sit seventh in the standings - predominantly due to their lack of points accrued on the road.

Far from a novel occurrence under Mourinho's leadership, since the start of the 2020-21 season only Spezia have lost more away games than the Giallorossi in the Italian top flight: a total of 16 defeats from 29 matches.

Before undertaking the trip to Tuscany this week, though, Roma remain unbeaten in their last 11 league encounters with Empoli since February 2007, including a 2-0 victory in October's reverse fixture.

In all, Empoli have lost 19 of their 27 Serie A matches against Sunday's visitors, so precedent as well as recent form will count against them before kickoff.

Having alternated between draws and defeats in their last five league games, the last time they went on a longer Serie A streak without a win was in February 2019, when they later fell through the trapdoor into the second tier.

Returning as Serie B champions last year, the Azzurri started off at a great pace during the autumn and virtually assured survival even before the winter break. However, last week's 1-1 draw with fellow promoted side Venezia means they have picked up just two points in 2022 and leaves them inside the bottom half of the table.

Veteran coach Aurelio Andreazzoli - whose first 15 games as a Serie A manager came with Roma back in 2013 - has also seen his side exit the Coppa Italia in recent days, as league leaders Inter edged them out in extra time at San Siro.

That brave defeat represented the latest in a series of impressive away showings, but Empoli's home form has been short of such standards: before welcoming Roma to the Castellani this week, they have won there just three times in the league - conceding at a rate of almost three goals per game.

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

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

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

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

Team News

Jose Mourinho has not only bolstered his squad by signing Sergio Oliveira and Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan this month, but will also have both injury-plagued defender Chris Smalling and forward Stephan El Shaarawy back at his disposal on Sunday, after the pair returned to full training.

The latter - who should start on the bench - has missed seven of Roma's last nine matches due to calf problems, but has been directly involved in four goals in his five previous matches for the club against Empoli.

Tammy Abraham will lead the line up front, having scored five goals in his last six outings, while Oliveira will expect to retain his place in midfield despite competition from Bryan Cristante and Jordan Veretout - the former returning from last week's suspension.

Empoli, meanwhile, are expected to switch to a single striker up front, which would most likely see Patrick Cutrone drop to the bench and Andrea Pinamonti starting.

Both full-back Fabiano Parisi and midfielder Nicolas Haas remain sidelined until next month through injury, but much-admired youngster Mattia Viti is back from a ban and is in contention to start in the visitors' back four.

Regulars including Petar Stojanovic, Nedim Bajrami and goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario were rested in the midweek Coppa Italia defeat, but are all set to return to the first XI.

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Stojanovic, Romagnoli, Ismajli, Marchizza; Zurkowski, Ricci, Bandinelli; Bajrami, Henderson; Pinamonti

Roma possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Smalling, Mancini, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Cristante, Oliveira, Mkhitaryan, Vina; Zaniolo; Abraham

We say: Empoli 1-2 Roma

Winless for weeks, Empoli have been unable to pick up many points at home, while hit-and-miss Roma are often below-par away.

The visitors' increasing options, following further recruitment in the current transfer window, mean that they can edge a close-fought game by a one-goal margin - at least keeping them in the top-six mix.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 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.Over 2.5:data

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