Empoli v Atalanta
Atalanta’s trip to Tuscany to take on Empoli in the early Sunday kick-off will see Gian Piero Gasperini’s side in a position they’ve not found themselves in yet this season in having to bounce back from a loss. Last time out they fell to their first defeat of 2022/23 at home to Lazio.
The Tuscans claimed a shock 1-0 win over La Dea back in May, and they could now win back-to-back matches against Atalanta for the first time in their Serie A history. Having shut them out in that game as well, they’re aiming for consecutive clean sheets against the Bergamaschi for the first time since 2007.
That task will be made considerably more difficult by Atalanta’s returning players though. Duvan Zapata has finally returned to being available and is contention to start, meaning Empoli’s backline will be all the more at risk of being exploited. Marten de Roon, though, will be a big loss.
Gasperini’s side aren’t the same team that they had been in previous seasons this year, and the goals aren’t as free flowing this term. That said, the game against Lazio wasn’t just their first loss, but the first time they’ve failed to score as well in 2022/23. They’ll expect to right that wrong in Tuscany, though it’s hard to see this being a goal-fest.
While Atalanta should have enough about them to win, it remains to be seen how they’ll recover from a defeat.
Cremonese v Udinese
Having been Serie A’s surprise package for the first eight weeks of the season and troubling the Champions League places, Udinese are now winless in three and will want to get back on track away at newcomers and bottom placed Cremonese this weekend.
The Zebrette’s draws with Atalanta and then Lazio saw their form slow down while still being impressive results but losing to Torino last time out has a lot of people keen to see how they recover. They couldn’t have asked for more favourable opponents to do so.
While the two haven’t met in Serie A since February 1996, the Zebrette have the historical upper hand over their hosts, losing just one of their last eight games against them.
The Lombardia side already look like they are the weakest team in the top flight this season, and that is reflected by them being only one of two sides without a win in Europe’s top-five leagues this season – along with La Liga outfit Elche. The last three times a side went winless for the first 11 Serie A matches, they were always relegated – Verona 2015/16, Benevento 2017/18, and Chievo Verona 2018/19.
Although Cremonese have to win eventually, Udinese should have too much for the struggling newcomers.
Lazio v Salernitana
Lazio will be more confident than ever having ended Atalanta’s 10-game unbeaten run last time out and will be keen to build on their own impressive form at home to Salernitana in Matchday 12.
Maurizio Sarri’s side are not only playing a brand of football that is easy on the eye and delivering results, but they’ve also got a tight defence as well. Goalkeeper Ivan Provedel – who didn’t even start the season as first choice – is unbeaten in 569 Serie A minutes and will have Luca Marchegiani’s 1997/98 record of 745 minutes unbeaten in his sights.
Lazio have kept a clean sheet in their last six in Serie A, with the record being Marchegiani’s seven in 97/98 in Serie A. Fernando Orsi has the overall league record, chaining together eight clean sheets in 1982/83 in Serie B.
But Sarri’s Lazio have the second-tightest defence in Europe’s top-five leagues after only Barcelona, so Salernitana won’t have it easy trying to score in the capital on Sunday. They have conceded an impressive five goals in 11 Serie A matchdays so far.
Of course, their run has to end eventually, but the Biancocelesti should have enough about them to see of Salernitana this weekend and they’ll be confident of extending their run of clean sheets in the process.
Verona v Roma
The capital city’s other club, not that they’ll like being introduced as such, are in action in Veneto on Halloween evening as Roma take on Verona at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi.
Having lost there last season, Jose Mourinho will be a little cautious about their trip north while also being even more determined to take three points back to the Eternal City. It should be noted that this is not that same Verona side, and the Gialloblu have lost a lot of the players that earned them wins over Roma, Lazio, Juventus and Atalanta last season.
The Bentegodi should be close to a sell-out for this one, with 23,000 tickets having been snapped up by Saturday morning, and it’s not an easy place to go for any away side when packed as the atmosphere created is rivalled by few other sets of fans.
Verona, though, have only scored 10 times this season and are second from bottom in Serie A. Even Roma, despite being fifth, have scored just 13 goals in their 11 games and conceded 10, so it’s hard to see this one being a goal-filled game.
Should both sides score it’s hard to see a winner being found, and Mourinho will no doubt take a 1-0 away win. So, under 2.5 goals is a tempting one.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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