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May 14, 2022 at 2pm UK at Stadio Carlo Castellani
1 - 1
Cutrone (31')
Henderson (74'), Vicario (76'), Bajrami (90+1')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Bonazzoli (76')
Radovanovic (75'), Ederson (85')

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

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

With their 'Great Escape' from Serie A relegation just two games from fruition, Salernitana tackle their final away game against Empoli on Saturday.

After both sides were promoted together just over a year ago, they have experienced contrasting fortunes, as this week's hosts started spectacularly before slumping down the standings, while their visitors have won four of their last six to finally haul themselves out of the drop zone.

Match preview

On the cusp of a fifth victory since their stunning revival started in mid-April, Salernitana were cruelly denied an important three points last weekend, as relegation rivals Cagliari fought back to equalise in the ninth minute of second-half stoppage time at Stadio Arechi.

Still a point clear of their Sardinian counterparts in the standings, though, after a win over rock-bottom Venezia three days beforehand, the Granata have their destiny in their own hands before taking on Empoli and then Udinese - both of whom have relatively little left to play for - in the final two rounds.

Going unbeaten in six games - quite a feat for a side more accustomed to weekly defeats since their top-flight return last summer - a run of 14 points from a possible 18 has helped survival specialist Davide Nicola to steer his men to within touching distance of Serie A salvation.

Having previously kept both Genoa and Torino up against the odds, Nicola has recently engineered victories over Sampdoria, Udinese and Fiorentina. As a result, Salernitana fans can dream of extending their stay among the elite to a second season, after suffering more than two decades in the lower leagues.

If they can now gain a measure of revenge for their 4-2 defeat to Empoli last October by winning Saturday's reverse fixture, then the Granata faithful really can plan a party at the Arechi next week.

After a spirited effort against Scudetto hopefuls Inter ultimately ended in failure last weekend, Empoli remain 14th on 37 points, which will be enough to keep them afloat in Serie A.

Though the Azzurri have now won just once in their last 20 games, they actually found themselves 2-0 ahead at San Siro, and at one stage looked set to cause an almighty shock with profound implications for the title race.

On-loan striker Andrea Pinamonti netted his 13th goal of the season, but did not celebrate scoring against his parent club, before the visitors then doubled their advantage through Kristjan Asllani's 28th-minute strike. However, the champions were back on level terms just before the break, and consigned Empoli to a 4-2 defeat by the final whistle.

Despite returning empty-handed from Milan, Aurelio Andreazzoli's side have lost only seven of their 18 away fixtures in the top flight this season, and have actually fared worse at home than on the road; picking up five points fewer at Stadio Carlo Castellani while conceding a bucketful of goals.

Though mathematically safe from relegation, which was surely the Tuscan club's main aim after last year's promotion, a long tail to their 2021-22 campaign has left something of a bitter taste. Therefore, posting just a fifth home victory of the season would at least sweeten the pill on Saturday.

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

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

Team News

With survival assured, Aurelio Andreazzoli may be tempted to make some changes to his Empoli side, and squad members such as Liam Henderson and Patrick Cutrone will therefore hope to break into the starting XI.

The form of Andrea Pinamonti, who has netted 13 goals in the league this season, has kept the latter largely on the bench for most of the campaign, and he has now become the first under-23 player to score at least that many for a promoted team since Paulo Dybala (with Palermo back in 2014-15). Indeed, the first of two braces during his successful loan spell came against Salernitana in the reverse fixture.

Experienced centre-back Lorenzo Tonelli and midfielder Nicolas Haas remain out of action for the hosts due to injury, but Andreazzoli otherwise has a full squad available, as Petar Stojanovic returns from suspension.

Meanwhile, Davide Nicola must make at least one alteration to his lineup, as Emil Bohinen will be absent due to a one-match ban; bringing to an end a fine run of form which played a part in Salernitana's recent revival.

Another midfielder, Mamadou Coulibaly, remains the Granata's only injury concern, but veteran winger Franck Ribery received a red card while on the bench against Cagliari, and faces a subsequent suspension.

Simone Verdi should start in support of Milan Djuric up front, having scored three goals in the last five games, making the current season his most productive in that regard since racking up 10 goals and as many assists for Bologna four years ago.

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Stojanovic, Romagnoli, Luperto, Parisi; Bandinelli, Asllani, Zurkowski; Henderson; Cutrone, Pinamonti

Salernitana possible starting lineup:
Sepe; Gyomber, Radovanovic, Fazio; Mazzocchi, Ederson, L. Coulibaly, Kastanos, Ruggeri; Verdi, Djuric

We say: Empoli 2-2 Salernitana

As Empoli have already conceded the most goals in home matches during any single Serie A season (43 so far), Salernitana will surely fancy their chances of success, given recent results.

The hosts boast some attacking prowess of their own, though, and should be expected to score at least once in a potentially open affair.

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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