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Sep 19, 2021 at 11.30am UK

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

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

Sampdoria go in search of their first win of the Serie A season on Sunday afternoon, as they visit Empoli at Stadio Carlo Castellani.

Though they picked up a first point of the campaign against reigning champions Inter Milan last time out, the visitors will be keen to take advantage of more modest opposition, who last week were defeated by one of their fellow promoted sides.

Match preview

Having got off the mark in terms of league goals with a 2-2 draw at home to Inter last Sunday, now Sampdoria are hoping to pull themselves up the early-season standings by earning a first victory, before meeting Napoli and then Juventus in the coming week.

The Blucerchiati twice fought back from behind to hold the 2020-21 Scudetto winners, with goals either side of half-time by Maya Yoshida and Tommaso Augello enough to secure a valuable point.

A tally of just one point from the opening two rounds had made for a tough start to life at Marassi for new coach Roberto D'Aversa, who succeeded Claudio Ranieri in the summer, but a battling performance against the Nerazzurri should at least boost confidence in the camp.

A curious selection in many observers' eyes, D'Aversa has now won only one of his last 25 matches as a manager in Serie A; drawing seven times and losing on 17 occasions - predominantly with his recently relegated Parma side.

Given the last time his new club started a top-flight season without winning any of their first four games was back in 2013, the pressure will certainly be on to produce the goods against a team freshly returned to the Italian elite.

Upon the resumption of domestic football after the international break, Serie B champions Empoli welcomed Venezia - who were promoted alongside them through the playoffs - to the Castellani last Saturday.

As Aurelio Andreazzoli's men had impressively downed Juventus in their previous league fixture, they were expected to make it back-to-back wins against their Venetian counterparts, who remained goalless and pointless at the foot of the table.

However, the Tuscan outfit were unexpectedly beaten 2-1, after first falling behind in the 13th minute, and now have just three points from their opening three games.

Their consolation goal was netted by Albanian playmaker Nedim Bajrami from the spot, and no player has completed more dribbles than the Empoli number 10 in Serie A this season (nine). He has also registered 10 shots so far and only the Napoli and Cagliari captains - Lorenzo Insigne and Joao Pedro respectively - have managed more.

Intent on retaining their top-flight status next spring, the former Swiss youth international will be integral to Andreazzoli's plans, along with loan strikers Patrick Cutrone and Andrea Pinamonti, who will both be aiming to find the net for the first time on Sunday.

Empoli Serie A form:
  • L
  • W
  • L

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

Sampdoria Serie A form:
  • L
  • D
  • D

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

Team News

Empoli are apparently considering a first start for young Inter loanee Andrea Pinamonti this weekend - after he played the last half-hour against Venezia - as current strikers Leonardo Mancuso and Patrick Cutrone have just one league goal between them so far.

Head coach Aurelio Andreazzoli generally favours a 4-3-1-2 formation, and the personnel making up his first XI should otherwise be similar to last time out.

Only Riccardo Fiamozzi will be missing for the home side, who are likely to name former Sampdoria defender Lorenzo Tonelli on the bench.

The visitors, meanwhile, still have doubts over Albin Ekdal, who is suffering from a back injury, while Manolo Gabbiadini and Ronaldo Vieira are both definitely ruled out.

Italian international striker Francesco Caputo made his Samp debut last week after joining from Sassuolo on transfer deadline day, and he should join two other Azzurri old boys in the Blucerchiati attack this time out; partnering Fabio Quagliarella up front, with winger Antonio Candreva providing service from the right flank.

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Stojanovic, Tonelli, Luperto, Marchizza; Haas, Ricci, Henderson; Bajrami; Mancuso, Pinamonti

Sampdoria possible starting lineup:
Audero; Bereszynski, Yoshida, Colley, Augello; Candreva, Thorsby, Silva, Damsgaard; Caputo, Quagliarella

We say: Empoli 1-2 Sampdoria

Sampdoria must surely get off the mark this weekend, as there are tougher tests ahead in the next few days and they need to make some commendable performances start to count.

Their greater experience and final-third guile could be enough to snatch the points, but Empoli are sure to cause them problems at the other end and cannot be discounted - as Juventus fans will testify.

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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