Fiorentina performed well last weekend to collect a decent 2-2 draw at in-form Sampdoria but La Viola remain out of the running for European qualification and head coach Paolo Sousa’s role remains under scrutiny.
Supporters of the Florence club haven’t taken to the Portuguese boss since he arrived on the scene at the start of last season and although Fiorentina made their mark in the Europa League last season, they’ve often failed to convince when it matters most.
Fiorentina’s home comforts
Nevertheless, La Viola are almost impenetrable at home and their Stadio Artemio Franchi record deserves maximum respect.
In 2016/17 Fiorentina have W8-D7-L0 in Serie A outings here, including beating both Juventus and Roma. It’s 19 victories in 34 fixtures at the Franchi overall under Sousa in league action with 15 clean sheets kept.
The hosts have been at their best when welcoming the league’s lesser lights and I fully expect La Viola to enhance their already impressive W6-D2-L0 record against bottom-half clubs with a routine victory on Saturday.
Top goalscorer Nicola Kalinic is back fit and ready to start having began last week’s stalemate on the bench and Fiorentina’s massively improved defensive record should stand them in fantastic stead against the league’s worst attack.
Empoli have failed to score on 19 occasions already this season, have averaged fewer than three shots on-target per-game – landing only 39 in 15 away days – and no Serie A side has attempted fewer efforts at goal.
The Azzurri arrive having picked up just two points from a possible 30 since late January, scoring six goals. And on their travels the Tuscans have accumulated only four points when excluding their trip to rock-bottom Empoli (W0-D4-L10).
Azzurri’s rotten goalscoring record
But again, it’s hard to ignore Empoli’s hopeless goalscoring return in games as guests. The visitors have failed to find the back of the net in 12 of those 14 games that don’t involve Pescara, meaning the Azzurri have scored just two goals across 21 hours of action outside their own ground.
Empoli’s record at top-eight teams won’t inspire travelling supporters, either. The visitors have W0-D1-L12, losing ‘to nil’ in eight matches, including five of six away.
Азиатский угол гандикапа
Giovanni Martusciello’s the latest man to be given the gig in the hope of keeping Empoli afloat but last weekend’s home draw against Pescara saw the Azzurri land only four efforts on-target whilst facing 17 shots, which is hardly a ringing endorsement for a tough assessment in this Tuscan derby.
I’m backing Fiorentina to cruise towards a comfortable victory with the -1.5 Asian Handicap available at a very fair 1.99 on Saturday.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Fiorentina -1.5 Asian Handicap (1.99)
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