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Mar 6, 2021 at 2pm UK
SpeziaSpezia
1-1
BeneventoBenevento
Verde (71')
Bastoni (25'), Erlic (80')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Gaich (24')
Improta (44'), Barba (72'), Sau (79'), Dabo (90+1')

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

:Headline: Preview: Spezia vs. Benevento - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:437726: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Spezia and Benevento, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two promoted sides with a fighting chance of Serie A survival meet at Stadio Alberto Picco on Saturday, as Spezia go head-to-head with faltering Benevento for three precious points.

While the Ligurian club have failed to win in their last three games, Pippo Inzaghi's men have fared even worse in recent weeks, with just one league success since the turn of the year.


Match preview

Ahead of their crucial clash with the side that comfortably beat them to the Serie B title last term, Spezia have posted only one point from their last three top-flight games. Though the Bianconeri currently have a five-point lead over Torino, who occupy the last spot in the relegation zone (the Granata have two games in hand), the path to securing a second straight season at the elite level remains a treacherous one.

Seemingly revelling in the big occasion - after wins against both Napoli and Milan in their debut Serie A campaign - the Aquilotti again put in a strong first-half performance versus Juventus in midweek, but were unable to make their pressure and possession count, ultimately losing 3-0 in Turin.

Nonetheless, with their most prolific player M'Bala Nzola - on nine goals so far - returning from injury and a supply of scorers now coming from elsewhere in the lineup, there appears every chance that Spezia can disprove the doubters and stay afloat come May.

Taking advantage of Benevento's current woes could be one more vitally important step towards the magic 40-points barrier that indicates Serie A salvation.

Twice relegated as a player having posted 39 points, their highly-regarded head coach Vincenzo Italiano knows that his side are certainly not guaranteed safety yet, despite some attention-grabbing displays. Their mediocre home form must surely improve then, starting this weekend.

Since beating Cagliari at the beginning of January, Benevento have steadily slipped down the Serie A standings, losing five matches and drawing four, most recently going down 3-0 to Verona on Wednesday.

Having suffered their fourth away loss in five away to Lazio last weekend, the Streghe were beaten by the well-drilled Venetian outfit at Stadio Vigorito. Hellas dominated throughout the 90 minutes against Pippo Inzaghi's confidence-drained team and there could easily have been a more punishing scoreline by the time the final whistle put them out of their misery.

In recent weeks particularly, it has been a struggle at both ends of the field for the Campanian side, as they have netted just 25 goals in Serie A so far - only the bottom pair, Parma and Crotone, have fared worse. In fact, Benevento have now failed to score in their last three league games, as both leading scorers Gianluca Caprari (with five) and Gianluca Lapadula (four) have gone stone cold in the final third.

Inzaghi's defence has conceded at a rate of 1.88 per game too, so keeping the back door bolted against Spezia's capable attack must be a priority for the Giallorossi if they are to emerge triumphant in this classic case of a 'six-pointer'.

Spezia Serie A form: LWWLDL

Benevento Serie A form: LDDDLL


Team News

Vincenzo Italiano's injury list has cleared in recent days, with only Riccardo Saponara, Federico Mattiello and goalkeeper Ivan Provedel (COVID-19) definitely ruled out for Spezia on Saturday. Dutch international Jeroen Zoet is therefore set for a rare start in Provedel's absence.

Both Julian Chabot and Simone Bastoni are vying for a return to the team, with Martin Erlic and the versatile Riccardo Marchizza - despite impressing offensively versus Juventus - most at risk of stepping out of the back four. Meanwhile, in midfield, on-loan Tommaso Pobega's condition will be assessed ahead of kickoff and the Milan-owned starlet could come in for Leo Sena if fully fit.

The once-familiar attacking trident of M'Bala Nzola, Diego Farias and Emmanuel Gyasi has been re-established in the last week and should continue to lead the way in Italiano's 4-3-3 formation.

Benevento's Gaetano Letizia is set to miss out after leaving the field in tears during the midweek defeat to Verona, so Federico Barba could return from suspension to slot in at left-back for the visitors.

Captain Nicolas Viola is expected to come back into the midfield, while Gianluca Caprari will again compete with Roberto Insigne and Marco Sau for one of two advanced roles in support of lone striker Gianluca Lapadula, after being dropped in midweek.

Spezia possible starting lineup:
Provedel; Vignali, Terzi, Chabot, Bastoni; Maggiore, Estevez, Ricci; Gyasi, Nzola, Farias

Benevento possible starting lineup:
Montipo; Improta, Glik, Caldirola, Barba; Hetemaj, Schiattarella, Ionita; Viola, Caprari; Lapadula


We say: Spezia 2-1 Benevento

Level on points in the lower echelons of the Serie A standings, few would have backed both Spezia and Benevento to stay up at season's end, but salvation is in sight if they can hold their nerve as established outfits Torino and Cagliari seek to overhaul them.

The visitors' prospects, though, are somewhat worse, given a lamentable record during the past two months, so a Spezia side who have remained relatively buoyant all season long should have the edge when it comes to confidence in the final third.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home 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 Win:data



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last updated article - 2021-03-05 19:34:29:
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
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2 38247774413379
3 38239690474378
4 38239677383978
5 38245986414577
6 38215126155668
7 381881268581062
8 381711106456862
9 38157165254-252
10 381112154648-245
11 381012164758-1142
12 381011175165-1441
13 38913164759-1240
14 381010184258-1640
15 38912175272-2039
16 38910194359-1637
17 38716155069-1937
18 38712194075-3533
19 3865274592-4723
20 38311243983-4420
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