Juventus will look to put their European heartbreak behind them to beat Empoli and consolidate second place in Serie A.
Paolo Zanetti will not want his team to take their handbrake off despite securing safety from relegation following their recent good form. Their draw away from Sampdoria took them to the 39th point mark, keeping them safe from the danger zone.
But before that, three wins from their last four home games allowed Empoli to build a platform towards securing a third successive season in the top flight. Those included wins over Salernitana and Bologna. Zanetti will hope his side continues with their momentum and finish the season strongly, as mathematically, they could still chase down 13th-placed Sassuolo.
Empoli host Juventus in this latest round of Serie A fixtures. For Zanetti, the aim would be to improve their record against the Turin giants, against whom they have only one victory in their last 19 games, losing 16 of those.
Massimiliano Allegri will have had a session with his squad to regroup and lift their spirits after a European heartbreak. The Europa League represented the only available trophy this season for the Bianconeri, who will now finish the campaign without any silverware.
Grazie a tutti i Bianconeri. pic.twitter.com/Ma1q6RfwgQ
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) May 18, 2023
It was an enthralling game in Spain, as substitute Dusan Vlahovic opened the scoring and Juventus were half an hour away from the final in Budapest. However, an equaliser from Suso six minutes later proved enough to take the tie into extra time.
Erik Lamela made himself the protagonist in extra time as he struck what proved to be the game-winner. Juventus could not push Sevilla beyond their limits and ended the game disappointedly. While they are out of Europe, there is still some work to be done before they can secure Champions League football next season.
Juventus remain in second spot on the Serie A table but are yet to consolidate their final position. A win over Empoli would guarantee them a top-four place. But losing the tie would put tremendous pressure on Allegri’s men that could also see them lose their second spot to Lazio.
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Paolo Zanetti will be without Juventus loanee Koni De Winter and Tommaso Baldanzi, with the latter called up for Italy’s Under-20 World Cup campaign. Marko Pjaca, who was on Juventus’s books for the last six seasons, could join the team.
📸📸📸📸 Al lavoro questa mattina al Sussidiario; domani ultima seduta prima della gara con la Juventus 💪 pic.twitter.com/9pIYvArL9R
— Empoli Football Club Official (@EmpoliFC) May 20, 2023
Roberto Piccoli will hope to find a place in the starting eleven following his goal against Sampdoria. But Zanetti will plan without the attacker for this clash. Francesco Caputo and Nicolo Cambiaghi are in contention to play a part in the final third, and the manager might stick with the duo.
Caputo will lead the line, while Cambiaghi will play from the left-hand side of the attack. Liam Henderson will play the advanced role, with Pjaca completing the attacking four with a place on the right wing.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Vicario; Ebuehi, Ismajli, Luperto, Parisi; Haas, Grassi; Pjaca, Henderson, Cambiaghi; Caputo
Juventus have plenty of problems, and Massimiliano Allegri will likely change his setup. Juan Cuadrado and Danilo remain suspended for this clash, while Nicolo Fagioli has a fractured collarbone that will see him miss the remaining games.
Verso gli ultimi tre impegni stagionali 🗓️
✈️ Udinese pic.twitter.com/Hpc5KcmNQG
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) May 20, 2023
Leanardo Bonucci, Paul Pogba and Mattia De Sciglio are also out for the season. Alex Sandro could replace Danilo in central defence, with one of Tommaso Barbieri or Samuel Iling-Junior to replace Cuadrado as the right wing-back.
Federico Chiesa may end up on the bench again after another underwhelming cameo; the attacker will hope to feature at some stage to make his 200th Serie A appearance. Meanwhile, Fabio Miretti could replace Fagioli in the right midfield berth, while Leandro Paredes could keep his place at the base.
Adrien Rabiot and Filip Kostic will complete the five-man midfield setup. Dusan Vlahovic will lead the line again but could have Arkadiusz Milik as his partner in the front two.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Szczesny; Gatti, Bremer, Sandro; Barbieri, Miretti, Paredes, Rabiot, Kostic; Milik, Vlahovic
- Juventus have won ten of their last 11 matches against Empoli in all competitions.
- Juventus have scored at least two goals in eight of their last ten away matches against Empoli in all competitions.
- Empoli have seen over 2.5 goals in their last four home matches against Juventus in all competitions.
- Empoli have one victory in their last 19 meetings with Juventus.
- Empoli are unbeaten in their last five matches played on a Monday.
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There was the peculiar impact one expected from a striker of Vlahovic’s quality against Sevilla. While the Serbian striker was unfortunate not to start, he did make a great contribution until the Spaniards turned the game on its head.
Reports suggest Vlahovic could leave Juventus in the summer, and there are still questions about whether it will come down as a club decision or one from the player. Either way, the Serbian striker has a few games to save his Juventus career and will have to perform at his best against Empoli.
Empoli 1-3 Juventus
Massimiliano Allegri will hope for an emphatic response from his players, who have been criticised for their lack of goalscoring prowess this season. The heartbreak at Seville will be something the manager will like to push on to his players and get away with a win over Empoli.
Comparing the quality of players on both sides, Juventus are the overwhelming favourites to come away with all three points in this clash. Empoli, for their efforts, have already secured safety from relegation and which could ease the pressure off them.
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