Juventus vs Empoli Preview and Lineups – Serie A Round 11 –

It is the Allianz backyard where Juventus and Empoli go head to head in the mid-table Serie A clash on Friday. Only five points separate the two teams before kick-off, which speaks volumes enough about the hosts’ poor start to the league.

No stranger to overcoming the odds in Turin, Empoli claimed an unforgettable 1-0 win in this matchup last season to halt an embarrassing 17-game winning streak in Serie A (D2, L15). Another similar result could put the final nail in Massimiliano Allegri’s coffin at Juventus after his side’s very troublesome start to the 2022/23 campaign.

In addition to being on the cusp of a Champions League group stage elimination on the back of a disastrous 2-0 defeat to Maccabi Haifa, Juventus are already six points behind the Serie A leaders. Dusan Vlahovic’s heroic goal in last weekend’s 1-0 derby win over Torino 3 Allegri is the lifeblood of Turin, but every game you must win now.

Fans have grown more vocal in their efforts to hasten Allegri’s departure, urging Bianconeri Presidents to relieve the Italian director of his duties. Such a toxic atmosphere at the Allianz Arena is the last thing Juventus need amid the club’s desperate attempt to reignite their top-four display. But Empoli could take advantage of the current situation in Turin to boost his bid for the first half.

Paolo Zanetti’s men are set to battle a season-long battle against relegation, and they excelled early in the season, amassing 11 points in the first 10 rounds of Serie A. Safely in the middle of the table, they have nothing to lose in Turin, while a repeat of last season’s turmoil could hurt Allegri’s future at Juventus. So fasten your seat belt, Mr. Max.

Match preview

Juventus

Vlahovic’s aforementioned goal against Torino helped end his team’s frustrating streak of 2-0 defeats in all competitions, including a 2-0 loss to fierce rivals Milan two weeks ago. However, consistency remains the most important factor in the room, with Juventus alternating between winning (2) and losing (2) in their last four Serie A matches.

By extension, none of their last 10 home runs have seen the same result twice in the trot (W5, D4, L1). Unless Juventus break the trend here, a 3-0 victory for Bologna in their last Serie A match at Allianz Stadium would be meaningless.

Juventus won back-to-back league matches at home in March, so it’s not hard to imagine Empoli showing Allegri. But the only bright side in Serie A’s nightmare campaign was a solid defense that kept five clean sheets in 10 league games. This may be the best weapon against the visitors’ quiet frontline.

Empoli

Nicholas Haas’ 11th-minute goal propelled Empoli to a narrow 1-0 home win over Serie A newcomer Monza last weekend, ending a two-game winning streak in the league (D1, L1). However, the recording was not Azure Strong suit this season. They have scored one goal or less in nine of their first 10 league games, including the last five in the jump.

But despite his meager return of goals, Empoli have been undefeated in four consecutive away matches in Serie A (W1, D3) since losing 1-0 at Spezia on their inaugural Serie A trip. Much of the credit for Zanetti’s impressive start to his side was due to his defensive resilience. They have conceded just 11 goals in the first 10 rounds of the league, contributing to the club’s second best defensive start in the history of the First Division.

Empoli’s decent level at home is no less than what you’d expect from a team that earned more Serie A points on the road (24) than on the pitch (17) last season. This sudden transition from the home-oriented side to loyal travelers must sound intimidating in Allegri’s point of view.

Possible Juventus lineup against Empoli

Juventus (3-5-2): Wojciech Szczesny; Danilo, Leonardo Pucci and Alex Sandro; John Squire, Weston McKinney, Manuel Locatelli, Adrien Rabiot, Philip Kostick; Dawson Vlahovich, Moses Kane.

Empoli (4-3-3): William Vicar Petar Stojanovic, Connie de Winter, Sebastiano Loberto, Fabiano Baresi; Nicholas Haas, Alberto Grassi, Liam Henderson; Marco Bajaca, Martin Satriano and Sam Lammers.

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