Empoli v Fiorentina – Stadio Carlo Castellani at 11:30 GMT+1 live at Premier Sports
Empoli head coach Aurelio Andreazzoli has conceded his side are now running out of chances to clamber out of the bottom three in Serie A following last weekend’s defeat at Bologna. The Tuscan team had taken the lead through a looping Marko Pajac strike, but were overturned to lose 3-1 in the second half.
The Azzurri remain four points adrift of top-flight survival with four tough-looking games to play. Empoli host Fiorentina on Sunday before top-half outfits Inter Milan, Torino and Sampdoria prepare to play the strugglers before the campaign reaches its conclusion at the end of the month.
Andreazzoli said, “It’s natural that the longer the season goes on, the fewer opportunities we have to make up the gap. There is a reason why we keep allowing comebacks and it’s because we don’t deal with situations in the right way. We had the chances to go 2-0 up or draw 2-2.”
The Empoli boss criticised the officials in Bologna and also bemoaned his squad’s injuries, saying, “Unfortunately, when we lose in intensity late on, it allows the qualities of the opposition to emerge stronger. Bologna are a very good side and you just need to look at the players they leave on the bench, whereas we’ve got limited resources and all our first three choice defenders are injured.”
Opportunity for Empoli?
Empoli have W3-D4-L12 in Serie A action since mid-December with 11 of those 13 points earned at their Stadio Carlo Castellani base. The hosts are actually ranked in mid-table when only viewing results at home and Andreazzoli will be hopeful a return to familiar ground will inspire a reaction this weekend.
Opponents Fiorentina arrive in their own slump. Returning boss Vincenzo Montella confessed his team’s performance in the 1-0 defeat to Sassuolo was “not worthy of Fiorentina” following Monday night’s meek effort. Jordan Veretout had a penalty save but La Viola were dominated throughout.
Montella continued, “This was a defeat we could’ve done without. The last few games we played with spirit and determination, but I saw none of that today.” The result followed Fiorentina’s Coppa Italia semi-final exit to Atalanta, which has effectively left the Florence-based club with little left to play for 2018/19.
Goals on the agenda
Fiorentina have picked up just three triumphs from 17 on their league travels this term, offering Empoli a great opportunity to clinch maximum points. However, a more appealing play would be to support a goal-heavy game between the regional rivals, with Over 2.5 Goals available at 1.74.
Empoli’s encounters are averaging 3.21 goals with 24/34 (71%) beating the two-goal line and 14 (41%) even breaking the Over 3.5 Goals barrier. At the Stadio Carlo Castellani, the Azzurri have seen 3.35 goals per-game with the hosts seeing 12/17 (71%) matches produce successful Both Teams To Score bets.
No Serie A side has kept fewer clean sheets than Empoli’s tally of four and with 12 of Fiorentina’s 17 away trips returning profitable BTTS selections, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see this game end in a high-scoring shootout. Indeed, Over 2.5 Goals has landed in all bar four of Empoli’s last 24 Serie A outings.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 goals at 1.740
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.