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Empoli logo
Serie A | Gameweek 21
Jan 9, 2022 at 1.30pm UK
Stadio Carlo Castellani
Sassuolo logo

1 - 5

Henderson (16')
Viti (60')
Viti (60')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Berardi (13' pen.), Raspadori (24', 71'), Scamacca (67', 90+2')
Berardi (49'), Kiriakopoulos (69'), Lopez (79')

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

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

Sunday's long list of Serie A action includes a mid-table clash between Empoli and Sassuolo at the Carlo Castellani.

The hosts will be looking to recover from their heart-breaking draw when they returned to action on Thursday, whilst the visitors will be hoping to finally turn some draws into wins following another last time out.

Match preview

Empoli's Patrick Cutrone celebrates with Nedim Bajrami after the match on August 28, 2021© Reuters

Empoli's return to action following the Italian winter break could not have been much more dramatic on Thursday, with Aurelio Andreazzoli's side playing out a 3-3 draw at Lazio.

However, after racing into an early two-goal lead at the Stadio Olimpico, and leading 3-2 heading into stoppage time, Andreazzoli and his side will have been devastated that they were unable to claim all three points.

Guglielmo Vicario saved a Ciro Immobile penalty inside the final few minutes as Empoli looked set to hang on despite a barrage of pressure from their hosts, but Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's goal in the third minute of stoppage time meant that they had to settle for a point.

Prior to the game, a draw at Lazio would certainly have been viewed as a positive result, but following the positions that Gli Azzurri found themselves in during the thrilling contest, they will be disappointed to have dropped two points.

Nevertheless, the fact that the newly-promoted side have come away from the Stadio Olimpico disappointed with a draw displays once more the strides they have taken upon their return to Serie A.

Thursday's point leaves Empoli in ninth place at the time of writing, just four points off Fiorentina in the European places, and an incredible 15 points above Cagliari in the drop zone, in what has been a remarkable first year back in the Italian top flight.

Sassuolo's Domenico Berardi celebrates scoring their third goal on November 28, 2021© Reuters

Meanwhile, Sassuolo's 1-1 draw at home to 19th-placed Genoa on Thursday has certainly been viewed as two points dropped by Alessio Dionisi's side.

Although the result means it is now just one defeat from their last eight fixtures - a 3-0 loss at home to Bologna in their final match of 2021 - it was also Sassuolo's fifth draw over the same period.

A home tie clash versus a struggling opponent was the perfect opportunity to finally turn one point into three in midweek, but after falling behind inside six minutes of their first game of 2022, Domenico Berardi's equaliser shortly after half time was the best it got for I Neroverdi.

Despite a staggering 28 shot attempts that yielded just the single goal, it was Sassuolo's inability to keep a clean sheet once more that effectively cost the mid-table side the victory.

In fact, Mattia Destro's goal for Genoa was the 14th straight game that Sunday's visitors had conceded, and with both teams clinical in front of goal heading into their encounter, it could be an entertaining affair for the neutral.

With 12 points between Sassuolo and the drop zone, there is little pressure on them to solve their defensive issues at this stage, but if they are to cut the seven-point gap to the European places, then Dionisi must continue to search for a style that plugs the gaps.

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

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

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

Team News

Sassuolo's Filip Djuricic celebrates scoring their first goal on September 12, 2021© Reuters

Empoli will be without left back Fabiano Parisi for several weeks, following the 21-year-old's hamstring injury that forced him off in the first half at Lazio.

First-choice option Riccardo Marchizza replaced him from the bench in midweek, and after collecting an assist in his appearance, he looks set to start from the beginning on Sunday.

Nicolas Haas' unavailability until the end of February is the only other absence though, so Andreazzoli has almost a fully-fit squad to choose from once more.

As for the visitors, Hamed Junior Traore will definitely be missing from their forward line once more, with the 21-year-old representing Ivory Coast at AFCON this month.

Filip Djuricic could return from the hamstring injury that has kept him sidelined since October, although he would only be expected to feature from the bench were he available.

Edoardo Goldaniga and Federico Peluso are unavailable due to COVID-19, whilst Pedro Obiang and Filippo Romagna remain out as well.

Matheus Henrique and Gianluca Scamacca could be set to return though, to boost the options available to Dionisi following his requirement to field several youngsters on his bench against Genoa.

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Stojanovic, Ismajli, Luperto, Marchizza; Henderson, Ricci, Zurkowski; Bajrami; Pinamonti, Di Francesco

Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Toljan, Chiriches, Ferrari, Rogerio; Harroui, Lopez; Berardi, Raspadori, Kyriakopoulos; Defrel

SM words green background

We say: Empoli 2-2 Sassuolo

These two sides appear very evenly matched heading into this encounter, demonstrated by their positions in the table and form in their previous matches too.

With both teams leaky in defence but clinical in front of goal as well, this one could be an entertaining clash with plenty of goals, so we are predicting a score draw.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 2.5 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 2.5:data

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Data Analysis

Our analysis of all available data, including recent performances and player stats up until an hour before kickoff, suggested the most likely outcome of this match was a Empoli win with a probability of 41.12%. A win for Sassuolo had a probability of 36.6% and a draw had a probability of 22.3%.

The most likely scoreline for a Empoli win was 2-1 with a probability of 8.35%. The next most likely scorelines for that outcome were 1-0 (5.49%) and 3-1 (5.01%). The likeliest Sassuolo win was 1-2 (7.84%), while for a drawn scoreline it was 1-1 (9.27%). The actual scoreline of 1-5 was predicted with a 0.6% likelihood.

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