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Bologna logo
Serie A | Gameweek 7
Oct 1, 2023 at 11.30am UK
Stadio Renato Dall'Ara
Empoli logo

3 - 0

Orsolini (21', 66', 90+2')
Corazza (44'), El Azzouzi (58')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Cacace (10'), Walukiewicz (39'), Ranocchia (45+3'), Cancellieri (81')

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

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

After recording three scoreless draws to end September, Bologna kick off a new month on Sunday, when they welcome struggling Empoli to Stadio Dall'Ara.

While the Rossoblu played out another stalemate during Serie A's midweek round, their Tuscan visitors finally got off the mark with a first win just days after changing their coach.

Match preview

Bologna coach Thiago Motta on May 28, 2023© Reuters

Following a 0-0 draw in Monza this week, Bologna have now produced that same result in three straight league matches for the first time since early 2016, and still they have just five goals on the board for 2023-24.

Two of those came in a season-opening Coppa Italia win over Cesena, and nearly a month has passed since Giovanni Fabbian scored late on in a 2-1 win over promoted Cagliari - still Bologna's most recent goal.

Replacing maverick forward Marko Arnautovic - the Rossoblu's talisman for the past two years - has proved challenging, with Dutch forward Joshua Zirkzee and his supporting cast so far failing to take up the slack.

Having already tied four times already this term, no team has drawn more Serie A home games than Thiago Motta's side since the start of last season (10 of 22, level with Udinese); but they will be keen to produce more points from their upcoming fixtures at the Dall'Ara.

Bologna host Empoli and top-flight new boys Frosinone either side of a trip to San Siro, where they will meet Motta's former club Inter, so six points from six must be the aim if they are to move up the Serie A standings.

Empoli coach Aurelio Andreazzoli reacts on September 24, 2023© Reuters

Sunday's hosts, though, lost both games against Empoli last season, and could now suffer three successive top-flight defeats to the Tuscan team for the very first time.

Indeed, Empoli have won seven of their last 11 league matches versus Bologna, losing only one, so at least history is on their side this weekend - recent form is certainly not.

While Bologna have lacked goals of late, the Azzurri have scored only once in Serie A this season; should they fail to score at Stadio Dall'Ara, they would become just the third team this century to have one goal or fewer after their first seven Serie A matches.

Nonetheless, that sole success came in the first game of Aurelio Andreazzoli's fourth spell in charge, as he took over from predecessor Paolo Zanetti ahead of Wednesday's drought-ending 1-0 win over Salernitana.

Befitting his status as Empoli's bright new hope, Tommaso Baldanzi finally found the net at Stadio Castellani, as his team moved off the foot of the table, inching one point above rock-bottom Cagliari.

Bologna Serie A form:

Empoli Serie A form:

Team News

Bologna's Lewis Ferguson celebrates scoring their first goal with Nikola Moro on May 28, 2023© Reuters

Given the short window between midweek action and their fourth home game of the season, Bologna could make some personnel changes on Sunday, although Thiago Motta is set to stick with misfiring striker Joshua Zirkzee up front.

Midfielders Remo Freuler and Nikola Moro are both hoping to earn promotion from the bench, but Milan loanee Alexis Saelemaekers blew his chance of a start by getting sent off for a second bookable offence in Monza - he must now serve a suspension.

As Adama Soumaoro, Jhon Lucumi and Stefan Posch are all injured, summer signing Sam Beukema should continue at centre-back. The latter has made the most successful passes in Serie A this season (402) and is also one of only two Bologna players - along with goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski - to have played every single minute.

Empoli, meanwhile, could again turn to Albania Under-21 international Stiven Shpendi to lead their attack, as veteran striker Francesco Caputo - 16 years Shpendi's senior - is still struggling with a calf problem.

Elsewhere in the Azzurri's front line, Nicolo Cambiaghi is experiencing his longest Serie A scoring drought (nine appearances in a row) and has yet to score since last May, when he netted in three games on the spin - including one in a 3-1 win over Bologna.

Fellow forward Daniel Maldini is absent again, while defensive duo Ardian Ismajli (flexor) and Bartosz Bereszynski (muscular) are both major doubts; left-back Giuseppe Pezzella has just been ruled out of action until next year.

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupski; De Silvestri, Beukema, Bonifazi, Kristiansen; Freuler, Aebischer; Ndoye, Ferguson, Karlsson; Zirkzee

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Berisha; Ebuehi, Walukiewicz, Luperto, Cacace; Fazzini, Grassi, Maleh; Baldanzi, Cambiaghi; Shpendi

SM words green background

We say: Bologna 2-1 Empoli

As Empoli have won only one of their last 17 away fixtures in the league, and two of Bologna's four draws this term were with Calcio heavyweights Juventus and Napoli, the hosts should secure maximum points from Sunday's early kickoff.

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

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data

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Napoli's Victor Osimhen celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on August 27, 2023
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