MX23RW : Tuesday, May 18 13:44:07| >> :600:265478:265478:
Apr 17, 2021 at 5pm UK at Stadio Alberto Braglia
Berardi (59' pen., 62' pen.), Lopez (75')
Traore (13'), Lopez (45+1'), Muldur (70')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Bonaventura (31')
Castrovilli (15'), Milenkovic (28'), Biraghi (68'), Eysseric (81'), Pulgar (90+1')

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

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

Having picked up just five points from their past six games, Fiorentina travel to Sassuolo on Saturday in danger of sleepwalking into relegation trouble.

Their hosts, meanwhile, have all but assured a top-half Serie A finish following Monday's 11th win of the campaign and will be favourites to add another at Stadio Artemio Franchi this weekend.

Match preview

Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic pictured on March 3, 2021© Reuters

After a seemingly inevitable home defeat at the hands of high-flying Atalanta last time out, Fiorentina continue to be mired in mediocrity, with only the performances of some young stars offering light amongst the gloom.

The distant threat of relegation still lingers on for Beppe Iachini's men following their 3-2 reverse to the Bergamo side, as they face the final eight games of the season some eight points clear of Cagliari - who sit just below the dotted line - but in dire form.

Requiring perhaps two more wins to secure their top-flight place for next season, the Viola take on an entertaining Sassuolo outfit this weekend with Iachini and company still to face five of the top nine during the run-in.

Ahead of the trip to Emilia-Romagna, their record on the road is better only than bottom two Parma and Crotone, with a paltry two successes from 14 games outside of Florence. Not only that, but the Tuscan team have also kept only two clean sheets away from home all term.

The tale in attack has been little better: of their modest 38 goals scored in Serie A, 15 have been plundered by impressive Serbian centre-forward Dusan Vlahovic - comfortably the club's top scorer. The clinical 21-year-old once again confirmed his status as one of the best young players in Italy by bagging a brace against Atalanta, but to no avail.

His compatriot Nikola Milenkovic has been another to draw admiring glances from clubs across the continent this term and both could be set for an exit this summer, given the apparent lack of direction at their current employer.

Sassuolo manager Roberto De Zerbi pictured in November 2020© Reuters

Taking a totally different path to this week's visitors, Sassuolo's Roberto De Zerbi has not only established his club as a regular feature in the top half of Serie A standings, but also built a reputation for enterprising football, even against the top sides.

Though they are well set for another such finish this season, in recent weeks the Neroverdi had started to stall, before a narrow win over struggling Benevento at the start of the week ended a three-game winless run and brought a first away success since early February.

Now far distant from the European places, the only remaining goal for De Zerbi this term is to contest eighth spot with Verona. To secure yet another top-eight finish next month, his side must surely improve an underwhelming record at their Emilian headquarters though - starting on Saturday.

At the Mapei Stadium, Sassuolo have won only one of their last six games - though that run did include hard-earned draws against Napoli (3-3) and Roma (2-2) - and they have actually picked up more points away (24) than at home (19) this season.

Still missing integral attacking components Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo - both of whom are in the running for a place in Italy's Euros squad this summer - the Neroverdi must also overcome a dismal record against their Florentine opponents on home soil, as they have beaten them only once before in Sassuolo.

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

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

Team News

Domenico Berardi pictured in October 2018© Reuters

Top-scoring pair Domenico Berardi (thigh) and Francesco Caputo (back) - who have 22 goals between them - may be ruled out once again for Sassuolo, with French forward Gregoire Defrel (thigh) also a major doubt this weekend.

Turkey international Kaan Ayhan is set to be absent too, as he quarantines due to COVID-19 infection, but midfielder Mehdi Bourabia returned from a hamstring injury to make the bench on Monday and could feature.

Partly due to the lack of other options, local boy Giacomo Raspadori should continue up front for the hosts, with in-form Hamed Traore poised for a return in support after returning from suspension. On-loan Maxime Lopez this week confirmed his stay will be made permanent in the summer, though could make way if Traore returns.

Fiorentina's Franck Ribery and Erick Pulgar return from suspension on Saturday, but January signing Aleksandr Kokorin and Brazilian defender Igor are both set to miss out with thigh strains, as the away side travel at close to full strength.

Midfielder Sofyan Amrabat covered for Pulgar against Atalanta, so will hope to keep his place ahead of the Chilean in Beppe Iachini's customary 3-5-2, while young Christian Kouame is in contention to start alongside Dusan Vlahovic up front, having impressed in Ribery's absence.

Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Muldur, Marlon, Ferrari, Kyriakopoulos; Locatelli, Obiang; Djuricic, Lopez, Boga; Raspadori

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Dragowski; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Martinez Quarta; Caceres, Castrovilli, Amrabat, Bonaventura, Biraghi; Ribery, Vlahovic

SM words green background

We say: Sassuolo 1-1 Fiorentina

Though Fiorentina are still in need of points to secure Serie A football next term, their away record has been particularly woeful this season, while their mid-table hosts can play without fear or restriction.

Only the absence of key attacking personnel might undo Sassuolo's pursuit of a win, as they continue to establish themselves as a top-half mainstay in the Italian top flight.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw 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.Home/Draw:data

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Nikola Milenkovic in action for Serbia in March 2021
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