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Empoli logo
Serie A | Gameweek 5
Sep 24, 2023 at 11.30am UK
Stadio Carlo Castellani
Inter logo

Empoli
0 - 1
Inter Milan


Pezzella (33'), Maleh (62')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Dimarco (51')
Acerbi (26'), Bastoni (65')

Preview: Empoli vs. Inter Milan - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Having followed derby delight with a creditable draw in Europe, Inter Milan return to Serie A duty on Sunday, when they visit rock-bottom Empoli.

While Inter have won all of their league games so far, the hosts were thrashed by Roma last weekend and swiftly responded by sacking their manager.


Match preview

Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring their second goal with Alessandro Bastoni and Marcus Thuram on September 3, 2023© Reuters

Although it took a late intervention from captain Lautaro Martinez to salvage a point for Inter in their Champions League opener, last season's runners-up came away from Spain with a 1-1 draw against Group D rivals Real Sociedad.

'El Toro' was on hand in the 87th minute to score the visitors' equaliser in San Sebastian, preventing Inter from losing their first fixture in Europe's top club competition since falling just short in June's final.

His close-range strike kept the Nerazzurri's unbeaten streak going strong, after they started their Serie A campaign with four straight wins - including last week's pitiless destruction of arch-rivals AC Milan in the Derby della Madonnina.

The clubs' clash at San Siro was also billed as a battle for top spot in the table, and Inter beat their old foes black and blue thanks to a Henrikh Mkhitaryan brace and goals from Marcus Thuram, ex-Milan man Hakan Calhanoglu and substitute Davide Frattesi.

As a result, Simone Inzaghi's side can now join Antonio Conte's crop of 2019 in winning each of their first five matches in a Serie A season - something achieved only three times before in club history.

Perhaps the perfect opponents appear on the schedule this weekend, as Inter will aim to win for a 15th time in 17 league meetings with Empoli, averaging two goals per game and recording 10 clean sheets in the process.

Empoli coach Paolo Zanetti before the match on May 22, 2023© Reuters

In fact, Empoli have failed to find the net in any of their last eight home games against the Nerazzurri in the league - the Tuscan club's most recent strike versus Inter at Stadio Castellani was a Marco Materazzi own goal back in April 2006.

They enter Sunday's fixture amid a sense of turmoil and even a little desperation, after becoming only the third team in Serie A history to have lost each of their first four games of the season without scoring following a 7-0 thrashing by Roma last week.

No team has lost five without finding the net to kick off an Italian top-flight campaign, but with coach Paolo Zanetti summarily sacked after his side's humiliation at Stadio Olimpico - and Aurelio Andreazzoli hurriedly returning for a third spell at the club - such a prospect now looms large.

Also knocked out of the Coppa Italia by second-tier Cittadella, it has been a woeful opening to the 2023-24 campaign for the Azzurri, and a long and arduous fight against the drop seems inevitable.

Although veteran coach Andreazzoli - who replaces 40-year-old Zanetti in the dugout - previously guided Empoli to the Serie B title and later kept them up during a second spell in charge, his latest task could be the toughest of all.

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

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


Inter Milan Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Inter Milan form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D


Team News

Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi on August 19, 2023© Reuters

After making several changes to the side that started Inter's derby win for their Champions League game on Wednesday, Simone Inzaghi is likely to recall a number of familiar faces at Stadio Castellani.

Marko Arnautovic and Kristjan Asllani failed to impress on their first starts of the season, but Benjamin Pavard could continue in the visitors' back three having made his club debut in San Sebastian.

Asllani may make way for Hakan Calhanoglu, who is set to return after missing out through injury in midweek, leaving Stefano Sensi and Juan Cuadrado as Inter's likely absentees - both should be back in time for next Wednesday's game against Sassuolo.

Up front, Lautaro Martinez and Marcus Thuram could be reunited: the former has been directly involved in more Serie A goals than anyone else this calendar year (23 - 19 of his own and four assists), while the latter has produced two goals and two assists during his first four league appearances.

Meanwhile, Empoli may shuffle their pack following their nightmarish visit to Rome last week, with Aurelio Andreazzoli seeking to put his stamp on a struggling squad.

Elia Caprile and Daniel Maldini are still sidelined, but the hosts' new coach still has several options to choose from. In particular, veteran striker Francesco Caputo and young talent Tommaso Baldanzi were benched against Roma, but both should now return to the first XI.


Empoli possible starting lineup:
Berisha; Ebuehi, Luperto, Ismajli, Pezzella; Fazzini, Marin, S. Bastoni; Baldanzi; Caputo, Cambiaghi

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Pavard, Acerbi, A. Bastoni; Dumfries, Frattesi, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Martinez, Thuram


SM words green background

We say: Empoli 1-3 Inter Milan

Empoli can get off the mark with an overdue goal this weekend, though even if they end their drought Inter simply boast too much firepower for them to handle. A change of management may eventually have some effect on the Azzurri's ailing fortunes, but their Milanese counterparts will take charge of proceedings in Sunday's early kickoff and post a fifth league win on the spin.


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


Top tip

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


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Game History

How you voted: Empoli vs Inter Milan

Empoli
8.8%
Draw
5.9%
Inter Milan
85.3%
68
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rhs 2.0
Today's games header
Tables header RHS
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CInter Milan37296287206793
2AC Milan37228773462774
3Bologna371814554302468
4Juventus371814552312168
5Atalanta BCAtalanta362061067392866
6Roma371891064442063
7Lazio371861348381060
8Fiorentina371691258441457
9Torino371314103633353
10Napoli371313115548752
11Genoa371113134345-246
12Monza371112143949-1045
13Hellas VeronaHellas Verona37910183649-1337
14Lecce37813163254-2237
15CagliariCagliari38812184268-2636
16FrosinoneFrosinone37811184468-2435
17Udinese37519133653-1734
18Empoli3789202753-2633
RSassuoloSassuolo3778224274-3229
RSalernitana37210252978-4916


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