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Serie A | Gameweek 25
Mar 4, 2023 at 2pm UK
U-Power Stadium
Empoli logo

2 - 1

Ciurria (19'), Izzo (67')
Birindelli (45+2'), Pessina (49')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Satriano (51')
Parisi (34'), Akpa-Akpro (45+1'), Marin (53')

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

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

Both beaten last time out, mid-table rivals Monza and Empoli meet on Saturday afternoon, when a win for the visitors would take them above their hosts in the Serie A standings.

After a fine unbeaten streak to start 2023, the Biancorossi have now lost their last two games, while their Tuscan counterparts became Napoli's latest victims last weekend.

Match preview

Monza coach Raffaele Palladino on September 18, 2022© Reuters

The first significant bump in the road for Raffaele Palladino since taking charge in September saw Monza's rookie boss suffer successive defeats to end February on something of a down note.

After their 1-0 home loss to neighbours Milan, last year's Serie B playoff winners were well beaten by struggling Salernitana last Sunday, as they returned north empty-handed following a 3-0 defeat.

When half-time substitute Giulio Donati was sent off late on - having picked up two bookings in less than 10 minutes - a bad day at the office was well and truly complete, and since completing a historic double over Juventus at the end of January they have scored only three times in four subsequent fixtures.

In fact, Monza are now within 90 minutes of failing to find the net in three straight league games for the first time since promotion - when including the club's spells in Serie B, they last did so back in 1998.

Nonetheless, Palladino will take such setbacks in the context of his side still sitting some 12 points clear of the bottom three with nearly two-thirds of their debut Serie A season done and dusted.

Back in October, when the Biancorossi last met Empoli, a 1-0 reverse at Stadio Carlo Castellani left them languishing inside the relegation zone, but victory on Saturday could even take them into the top half of the table.

Empoli coach Paolo Zanetti reacts on November 8, 2022© Reuters

Unbeaten in their last seven league encounters with Monza, a recent run of five league games without a win has seen Empoli slip below their Lombardy counterparts in the standings, so they will be particularly keen to leapfrog them by winning on Saturday.

Paolo Zanetti - along with fellow 40-year-old Thiago Motta of Bologna and his opposite number this week, 38-year-old Palladino - is one of Serie A's three youngest coaches, and each has enjoyed some success this season against vastly experienced tacticians such as Max Allegri and Jose Mourinho.

It has been Empoli's propensity for draws which has slowed their promising progress, and they have taken a single point from more Serie A games in 2023 (five) than any other side. Indeed, no team across the top five European leagues has drawn more often so far this year.

The Azzurri have not won once since shocking Inter at San Siro back in January, and they were always unlikely to end that drought last week, when they hosted distant league leaders Napoli. A 2-0 defeat at Stadio Castellani - despite having a one-man advantage for more than 20 minutes after ex-Empoli man Mario Rui was sent off - sees Zanetti's men occupying 13th place in Serie A.

Following another failure to find the net on that occasion, only the division's bottom four have scored fewer than Empoli, and with a record of just two wins and 10 goals from 12 previous road trips this term, their record in that regard also leaves a lot to be desired.

Monza Serie A form:

Empoli Serie A form:

Team News

Monza's Patrick Ciurria celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 29, 2023© Reuters

Although Marlon and Samuele Birindelli both return to the Monza squad this weekend following suspension, Giulio Donati now misses out due to a ban, having been sent off as a substitute against Salernitana.

While Marlon may come straight back in to replace Luca Caldirola in the hosts' back three, Birindelli is likely to be benched - Carlos Augusto and Patrick Ciurria have proved a particularly productive wing-back duo since promotion.

After scoring three goals in his first three Serie A games against Empoli, Gianluca Caprari has failed to find the net in the following four against them. More recently, the Monza striker has not scored or assisted in any of his last five league starts - only once in the last six seasons has he suffered a longer run.

Meanwhile, Empoli's Francesco Caputo is yet to score in three meetings with promoted teams this season, after racking up 14 in 15 such matches previously.

The 35-year-old should start up front for the away side, though Roberto Piccoli is also in contention to partner Martin Satriano; fellow veteran Mattia Destro remains absent through injury, while young Nicolo Cambiaghi may also miss out.

Paolo Zanetti welcomes back midfield pair Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro and Filippo Bandinelli from one-match bans, with both now in contention to feature from the start.

Monza possible starting lineup:
Di Gregorio; Marlon, Mari, Izzo; Ciurria, Machin, Sensi, Augusto; Pessina, Caprari; Petagna

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Ebuehi, Luperto, Ismajli, Parisi; Haas, Marin, Bandinelli; Baldanzi; Caputo, Satriano

SM words green background

We say: Monza 2-1 Empoli

With a squad featuring more routes to goal than their visitors, Monza can recover quickly from their slip-up in Salerno and score twice to pull further clear of Empoli in the standings.

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 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.Under 2.5:data

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