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Jan 16, 2021 at 5pm UK at Stadio Olimpico

Preview: Torino vs. Spezia - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Following two defeats in a matter of days, toiling Torino face Serie A surprise side Spezia on Saturday evening at Stadio Olimpico di Torino.

The hosts took AC Milan to 120 minutes plus penalties in a midweek cup defeat, after also losing to the same opponents last weekend, while a well-rested Spezia outfit could take time to bask in the glory of back-to-back wins.

Match preview

Bremer in action for Torino on July 13, 2020© Reuters

Torino coach Marco Giampaolo returned to the scene of his greatest managerial disappointment - so far - as he took his underperforming outfit to San Siro for successive encounters with table-topping Milan in league and cup.

Their 2-0 defeat last weekend left the Granata entrenched within the relegation zone on 12 points, some five behind promoted Spezia.

Coppa Italia heartbreak then followed, as a much-changed selection went out in the last 16, when Tomas Rincon missed from the penalty spot in a tense shootout.

Nonetheless, defeat versus the Rossoneri carries no shame this season and embattled Giampaolo must now rally his troops to get back on track in the league.

Strengthening the defence by switching to three men at the back last month, Torino have recovered some equilibrium after leaking 30 goals - at a hideous average of 2.5 goals per game - in their first dozen matches of the campaign.

Since slumping to the bottom of the standings, in their last five outings Il Toro have rallied, conceding just five goals and picking up half of their accumulated points so far. Therefore, a first home league win of 2020-21 must surely be around the corner.

Still, both Torino's tallies of 12 points and 35 goals against have only once been worse at this stage of a season - and they were relegated on both occasions.

Spezia manager Vincenzo Italiano pictured in November 2020© Reuters

Triumph in the Ligurian derby with Sampdoria last week brought Spezia a first home win of their own - though they had previously been hosting games without success in Cesena until last month's re-opening of Stadio Alberto Picco.

A second win on the spin - after a superb backs-to-the-wall victory at Napoli - sees morale sky-high for Vincenzo Italiano's team.

After eight winless games either side of the winter break, six points from six has lifted the Aquilotti to 14th in their debut top-flight campaign.

During both matches, unheralded French striker M'Bala Nzola netted crucial penalties with a confident air befitting his new-found status as one of Serie A's most clinical marksmen.

In fact, among the players that have scored nine or more goals in the top five European Leagues this term, Nzola has attempted the fewest shots on target - just 12 - and since October, only Cristiano Ronaldo, Ciro Immobile and Cagliari's Joao Pedro have bagged more than the Spezia forward's nine league strikes.

While Italiano's undoubted commitment to attack has certainly benefited the ex-Trapani striker, whose form has drawn Premier League interest, things could still improve from a defensive point of view for the Bianconeri.

Without a clean sheet in nine consecutive games, the promoted side will encounter a more well-organised Torino setup than would have been the case some weeks ago. So they must tread the line between defence and attack with care in Turin - and particularly in their upcoming Coppa Italia clash with relentless Roma next week.

Spezia's historic first league meeting with Torino could be as entertaining as it is crucial to both sides' modest dreams of mid-table mediocrity.

Torino Serie A form: LDDWDL
Torino form (all competitions): DDWDLD

Spezia Serie A form: DLLLWW

Team News

Torino coach Marco Giampaolo reacts on January 9, 2021© Reuters

After ringing the changes for their cup exit in midweek, Marco Giampaolo will most likely reunite Simone Verdi and Andrea Belotti in attack, with Jacopo Segre, Sasa Lukic and Karol Linetty in midfield due to the suspension of stalwart Tomas Rincon and Soualiho Meite's possible move to Milan.

Ricardo Rodriguez should return on the left wing for Cristian Ansaldi, with injured Mergim Vojvoda dropping out on the right to be replaced by Wilfried Singo. Salvatore Sirigu is back in goal, ahead of Vanja Milinkovic-Savic.

Spezia have Matteo Ricci, Gennaro Acampora and Simone Bastoni absent after testing positive for COVID-19 last week, though all three will be re-tested pre-game. If unavailable, midfielder Ricci would again be deputised for by on-loan Lucien Agoume.

Vincenzo Italiano has some minor concerns in attack, as chief goal threat M'Bala Nzola received an ankle knock against Sampdoria and was replaced late on, but should be fit to start.

Both new signing Riccardo Saponara and Kevin Agudelo - subbed versus Samp due to a muscle strain - will be assessed before kickoff, with Diego Farias standing ready to fill in.

Torino possible starting lineup:
Sirigu; Izzo, Lyanco, Bremer; Singo, Lukic, Linetty, Segre, Rodriguez; Verdi, Belotti

Spezia possible starting lineup:
Provedel; Vignali, Terzi, Chabot, Marchizza; Estevez, Agoume, Pobega; Gyasi, Nzola, Farias

SM words green background

We say: Torino 2-2 Spezia

Torino (24) and Spezia (22) have conceded the most goals in the second half of Serie A fixtures this season, so expect this game to ignite in the final 45.

With the Aquilotti's dedication to going forward rather than sitting back, it is likely that Torino can breach their back four more than once, but it remains an open question whether Giampaolo's side can keep the back door shut themselves.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at 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


Who will win Saturday's Serie A clash between Torino and Spezia?

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