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Bologna logo
Serie A | Gameweek 7
Sep 17, 2022 at 2pm UK
Stadio Renato Dall'Ara
Empoli logo

0 - 1

Kasius (90+2'), Dominguez (90+5')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Bandinelli (75')
Grassi (89'), Henderson (90+2'), Fazzini (90+6')

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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Bologna and Empoli, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Starting a new era, having made a bold change in the dugout, Bologna welcome Empoli to Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on Saturday afternoon.

Having earned their first victory of the Serie A season last weekend, just days after Sinisa Mihajlovic's departure, the hosts will target three more points against winless opponents.

Match preview

Spezia head coach Thiago Motta pictured on September 22, 2021© Reuters

Having made the difficult decision to part ways with their long-serving manager so early in the season, Bologna went in search of their first league win of the 2022-23 campaign against Fiorentina last Sunday, but seemed set to miss out once more when they fell behind early in the second half.

A quickfire response from forward pair Musa Barrow and Marko Arnautovic - the former becoming the first Rossoblu player other than Arnautovic to score this term - soon turned the game on its head, and caretaker coach Luca Vigiani steered the hosts to an overdue success.

By then, it was already an open secret that former Spezia boss Thiago Motta would take over from Sinisa Mihajlovic, who departed Dall'Ara for a second time last week.

The ex-Italy international cites Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho and Gian Piero Gasperini as major influences on his coaching style, and his first chance to implement change comes this weekend, against struggling opponents.

Occupying 12th place in the table approaching Serie A's seventh round, Bologna have only been beaten by Milan and Lazio so far, and having lost just one of eight home games against Empoli in the past, precedent is certainly on Motta's side.

Filippo Bandinelli celebrates scoring for Empoli on September 12, 2022© Reuters

A switch in the dugout has yet to pay dividends for Empoli, in their second season back among the Italian elite, as Paolo Zanetti still awaits his first victory after seven competitive games.

For the only time since the 2003-04 campaign - when they were ultimately relegated - the Tuscan club have failed to win any of their first six matches in a Serie A season, and continuing an awful calendar year to date, they have won just one of their last 14 away fixtures before heading to Emilia-Romagna this weekend.

They did, though, put up a brave fight against Roma on Monday night, and were able to haul themselves level before the break after going a goal down early on. However, opening scorer Paulo Dybala later laid on Tammy Abraham's close-range winner for the visitors at Stadio Carlo Castellani.

That denied the Azzurri a fifth straight draw, and the cause of their malaise remains acutely apparent - they have scored only five times so far in Serie A.

Sitting in the bottom six, and having already exited the Coppa Italia, Zanetti's return to the club he once represented as a player has been underwhelming to this point. If he is to avoid being fired for the second time in a matter of months, then, Empoli must find a first win before long.

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

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

Team News

Venezia coach Paolo Zanetti on September 22, 2021© Reuters

Seeking to finally end his team's drought, Paolo Zanetti may make changes to the Empoli side narrowly beaten by Roma, with Nedim Bajrami a strong candidate to replace Marko Pjaca behind a front two of Sam Lammers and Martin Satriano.

Mattia Destro may miss out against one of his former clubs once again, having done so on Monday, while Lorenzo Tonelli and Tommaso Baldanzi are also set to be sidelined.

Summer signing Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro must serve a suspension following his late dismissal last time out, but Liam Henderson and Alberto Grassi provide other options should Zanetti decide to freshen up the visitors' midfield.

Their hosts, meanwhile, are still without injured defender Adama Soumaoro, so Kevin Bonifazi and Stefan Posch will compete to feature in Thiago Motta's first lineup as Bologna boss.

Due to injury, Nicola Sansone is again expected to miss out in the contest to support Marko Arnautovic up front: last week, the latter became the first Rossoblu player to score more than five goals in the opening six games of a Serie A season since 1970. However, he came off injured and faces a race against time to start on Saturday.

If the Austria international is passed fit, Joshua Zirkzee, Riccardo Orsolini and Musa Barrow are set to battle it out for selection alongside him, unless Motta implements a change from Bologna's established three-man defensive setup.

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupski; Posch, Medel, Lucumi; De Silvestri, Aebischer, Schouten, Soriano, Cambiaso; Barrow, Arnautovic

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Stojanovic, Ismajli, Luperto, Parisi; Haas, Grassi, Bandinelli; Bajrami; Lammers, Satriano

SM words green background

We say: Bologna 1-1 Empoli

After securing maximum points for the first time and installing fresh management, Bologna should have the edge over an ailing Empoli side - however, they are notoriously leaky at the back and their visitors remain competitive despite a winless start. Therefore, a score draw could be on the cards at Dall'Ara.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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