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May 1, 2021 at 2pm UK
Hellas VeronaHellas Verona
Salcedo (46')
Zaccagni (15'), Dawidowicz (38'), Sturaro (40'), Ilic (69'), Tameze (71'), Faraoni (84')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Saponara (86')
N'Zola (13'), Chabot (50')

Preview: Hellas Verona vs. Spezia - prediction, team news, lineups

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

In danger of sinking into the bottom half of the table after a terrible run, Hellas Verona welcome relegation-threatened Spezia to Stadio Bentegodi on Saturday.

While the hosts have now lost five of their last six following defeat to unstoppable Inter last time out, a streak of one point from a possible nine has seen the Aquilotti's drop fears renewed.

Match preview

Though they fell to a fourth consecutive defeat last weekend, it took a hard-fought 90 minutes from champions-elect Inter to seal victory against Verona at San Siro - with the away side having an equal share of possession and as many shots on goal.

Wing-back Matteo Darmian was the unlikely scorer of the game's only goal, firing home in the 76th minute to end any Hellas hopes of a taking a point back to Veneto.

A second-half collapse at Sampdoria had previously brought about a second straight defeat for the Scaligeri - who shipped three goals to their closest rivals in the Serie A standings - before a disappointing reverse to Fiorentina saw them slip down to tenth in the table.

In all, the Venetians have now lost seven of their last eight top-flight outings and currently have the lowest goals tally of any club in the top half of the standings - highlighting undoubtedly their most fundamental flaw.

January buy Kevin Lasagna has failed to shake off his unproductive spell at previous club Udinese, while fellow striker Nikola Kalinic has spent much of the season on the treatment table. Furthermore, much-admired playmaker Mattia Zaccagni had been involved in 10 goals during the first half of the campaign, but in the second half so far, he has not yet scored or laid on a single Gialloblu goal.

Verona have, though, got precedent on their side this weekend, as they have won their last four Serie A fixtures against promoted teams and lost only one of their last nine against Spezia - beating the Ligurians 10 times out of 15 at the Bentegodi.

After hanging on for a famous draw versus table-topping Inter last week, just days later that euphoria was sharply expelled from the Spezia camp, as Vincenzo Italiano's side went down to a 2-0 defeat at mid-table Genoa.

That reverse took their tally to six straight losses on the road, as any hopes of a remarkable top-half finish have foundered - to be replaced by fears for their future in the top flight.

Having surprised many with their admirable approach and ability to pick up points from unlikely places - such as both Milan clubs - their debut Serie A season is now in danger of ending with demotion back to the second tier.

Spezia's relegation rivals - such as in-form pair Cagliari and Torino - have started to catch up ground lost to the Ligurians earlier in the campaign and, heading into a potentially pivotal weekend, Italiano could see his team sink into the bottom three if results go against them.

Having picked up just one point from their last three to sit two points clear of the drop zone, the Aquilotti are in need of a positive result against ailing opposition - and with Napoli and Roma still to face in their final four games.

Hellas Verona Serie A form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

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

Team News

Verona coach Ivan Juric still has several availability issues to contend with, in addition to his side's alarming loss of form.

Though on-loan midfielder Stefano Sturaro returns from suspension, centre-back Federico Ceccherini will be banned for yellow card accumulation and Matteo Lovato has missed out recently due to a thigh injury, so will have to be assessed ahead of the game.

Ronaldo Vieira is still absent from the squad as he recovers from a thigh issue of his own, while club captain Miguel Veloso has had surgery on a neck injury and remains sidelined. Fellow midfielder Daniel Bessa has found favour of late, but Mattia Zaccagni may be re-introduced to Juric's starting XI in the hope he can rediscover his sparkling form of 2020.

Spezia, meanwhile, make the trip to Veneto with no injury concerns to hinder Vincenzo Italiano's selection, so a similar team to that which lost against Genoa could be fielded.

While Italiano's customary midfield trio has two near-certain starters - Matteo Ricci and Giulio Maggiore - Milan loanee Tommaso Pobega, Leo Sena and Nahuel Estevez will fight it out for the remaining place. In attack, Daniele Verde is expected to challenge Diego Farias for a spot on the left flank, in support of out-of-form top scorer M'Bala Nzola.

Hellas Verona possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Dawidowicz, Gunter, Dimarco; Faraoni, Tameze, Ilic, Lazovic; Zaccagni, Barak; Lasagna

Spezia possible starting lineup:
Provedel; Vignali, Erlic, Ismajli, Bastoni; Sena, Ricci, Maggiore; Verde, Nzola, Gyasi

We say: Hellas Verona 1-1 Spezia

Either side has found finishing a problem of late - with both scoring just twice in their last three games - and the pair are sinking fast down the Serie A standings.

A close-fought encounter should be expected, then, as even though a point apiece does little to satisfy either manager, it would at least keep their teams in contention to reach their respective aims of a top-half finish and staying in the top flight.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 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 1.5:curl

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Serie A Table
1 38287389355491
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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Championship Table
1 462910775363997
2 462710963303391
3 462415779423787
4 4623111256391780
5 46239145850878
6 4622111373462777
7 461913146254870
8 4618141466491768
9 461911165755268
10 461810185553264
11 461517144752-562
12 461711184152-1162
13 46187214956-761
14 461515165052-260
15 4615121965541157
16 461413194961-1255
17 461216183745-852
18 461313203761-2452
19 46156254668-2251
20 461213215071-2149
21 461111243658-2244
22 461110253969-3043
23 46119264460-1642
24 461211234061-2141
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