MX23RW : Saturday, December 4 16:16:19| >> :120:17238:17238:
Oct 27, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Carlo Castellani
EmpoliEmpoli
0-2
Inter MilanInter Milan

Luperto (29')
Ricci (52')
FT(HT: 0-1)
D'Ambrosio (34'), Dimarco (66')
de Vrij (24'), Brozovic (59'), Gagliardini (75')

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

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

Denied in the Derby d'Italia at the weekend after conceding a last-gasp penalty, Inter Milan travel to Empoli on Wednesday, looking to immediately bounce back from their disappointment.

As they also lost to Lazio a week earlier, expectation lies heavily on the champions to take maximum points, but they will face a home side who have exceeded expectations since claiming the Serie B title.


Match preview

Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic celebrates scoring their first goal against Lazio on October 16, 2021© Reuters

Ahead of the biggest game in the Serie A calendar, Inter had finally recorded their first win of their Champions League campaign, against surprise package Sheriff, and a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Simone Inzaghi's former club Lazio was firmly in the rearview mirror.

They welcomed old foes Juventus to San Siro, seeking to establish their supremacy after a year in which they finally ended the Old Lady's domestic dominance by lifting the Scudetto.

For the vast majority of the match, all was following Inzaghi's carefully laid plans, until a controversial VAR intervention in the 89th minute handed Juve the chance to equalise Edin Dzeko's early opening goal - a tap-in, following up on Hakan Calhanoglu's thunderous strike which rattled the right-hand post.

Paulo Dybala kept cool under intense pressure to convert a penalty awarded for minimal contact on Alex Sandro by Inter's Denzel Dumfries, and the Nerazzurri had to settle for a 1-1 draw. To add insult to injury, Inzaghi was then sent off for his angry reaction to the referee's decision to change award the spot-kick after consulting the pitchside monitor.

Nonetheless, Dzeko's goal was his ninth in 13 appearances since joining as Romelu Lukaku's replacement in the summer, and Inter remain the league's top scorers - sitting third in the table following the weekend's events.

They are, though, now seven points adrift of leaders Napoli and their city rivals at the top of the standings, so will be eager to take six points from six against Empoli and Udinese during the coming week, before they meet Milan in the season's first Derby della Madonnina next month.

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

Having adapted better to the rigours of the top flight so far - occupying a mid-table spot after wins over Juventus, Bologna and Cagliari - there was no doubt that Empoli entered Saturday's clash with fellow promoted side Salernitana as favourites to prevail.

The Tuscan outfit lived up to such expectations at Stadio Arechi, as they enjoyed complete domination of the first half; going in front within two minutes and finding themselves 4-0 up at the break, largely thanks to a double from promising Inter striker Andrea Pinamonti.

While Salernitana eventually gave the scoreline a respectable gloss by pulling a couple of goals back in the second half, a resounding 4-2 win provides the latest evidence that Aurelio Andreazzoli's men possess the wherewithal to not only stay up but even thrive in Serie A this term.

Sitting 11th in the table with a quarter of the campaign done, Empoli now face perhaps their toughest test to date, as they welcome the Scudetto holders to Stadio Carlo Castellani, where they have lost four of their five league fixtures.

Yet to draw a match this season, it tends to be a case of win or bust when the Azzurri take to the field, so they will hope to confound probability and make it the former against a club they have lost to on seven consecutive occasions since 2015.

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

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

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



Team News

Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi on October 19, 2021© Reuters

Amid a hectic three-week period between international breaks, Inter are mercifully unaffected by major injuries at the moment, as Hakan Calhanoglu returned to the side on Sunday and fellow midfielder Stefano Sensi is also back from a knee problem.

Simone Inzaghi may decide to rotate his squad a little, given the short turnaround between games, so Ivan Perisic could make way for Denzel Dumfries as one of the wing-backs and Matteo Darmian would then shift to the left side of the Nerazzurri's tried and tested 3-5-2 formation.

The versatile Federico Dimarco is another strong option to feature, possibly in the back three, while Alexis Sanchez continues to vie for a place up front alongside either top scorer Edin Dzeko - who has scored three times in the last four matches - or Lautaro Martinez, who has not hit the net during that same period of time.

Empoli, meanwhile, are similarly clear of significant absences, with only back-up goalkeeper Jacopo Furlan expected to be sidelined due to injury, so the hosts' starting XI should remain relatively unchanged.

Patrick Cutrone seized his opportunity when starting up front in Salerno, but has competition from Leonardo Mancuso and Federico Di Francesco, who was left out at the weekend due to a minor injury.

Aurelio Andreazzoli seems to have settled on a system of two strikers and former Celtic midfielder Liam Henderson - recently preferred to playmaker Nedim Bajrami - in support. However, it remains to be seen whether he will continue in such a bold manner against the champions, given his side have conceded at a rate of two goals per game so far.

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Stojanovic, Luperto, Romagnoli, Marchizza; Haas, Bandinelli, Ricci; Henderson; Pinamonti, Di Francesco

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Dimarco; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Vidal, Darmian; Dzeko, Martinez


SM words green background

We say: Empoli 1-3 Inter Milan

Having leaked goals freely - particularly at their Tuscan home - Empoli are set to be unpicked an experienced attacking unit on Wednesday.

Inter sorely need to take the points to avoid drifting further behind the early pacesetters, so will not lack motivation, and are sure to be fired up by the hotly-disputed climax to the Derby d'Italia.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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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How you voted: Empoli vs Inter Milan

Empoli
11.2%
Draw
8.1%
Inter Milan
80.7%
161
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Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic celebrates scoring their first goal against Lazio on October 16, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1AC Milan16122235181738
2Napoli1511313292336
3Inter Milan15104136152134
4Atalanta BCAtalanta1594232171531
5Roma158162416825
6Fiorentina158072420424
7Juventus157352016424
8Bologna157352124-324
9Lazio156452929022
10Hellas VeronaHellas Verona155552825320
11Empoli156272328-520
12SassuoloSassuolo155462423119
13Torino155371916318
14Udinese153752024-416
15Sampdoria154382129-815
16VeneziaVenezia154381225-1315
17SpeziaSpezia1532101534-1911
18Genoa151771729-1210
19CagliariCagliari151681629-139
20Salernitana1622121133-228

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