AS Roma will be looking to make it a third win in the space of seven days as they travel to Tuscany to take on an Empoli side who have exceeded expectations this season in Serie A.
With the Serie A win last weekend against a depleted Cagliari side, Roma took on Leece in the third round of the Coppa Italia on Thursday evening. The winner would take on Inter Milan in the quarter-final of the Coppa Italia at the San Siro. After a sloppy and turgid first thirty minutes, Roma got their act together and won the game quite comfortably in the end 3-1. Thus booking a reunion for Jose Mourinho as Roma will travel to Inter Milan at the San Siro for the quarter-finals.
The first-half performance was quite laboured and to be honest quite poor, but Roma stepped it up at the end of the first half and looked the better side after Marash Kumbulla equalised from a set-piece. The second half was a different story, Roma with three substitutions introduced at half time looked a different side for the better. If it were not for the Lecce substitute goalkeeper Gabriel, it really could have been a different story. It was a constant battle in the second half of Gabriel vs Nicolo Zaniolo and the Brazilian goalkeeper came out on top. Nicolo Zaniolo was excellent when he came on and looked back to his best, it has been a struggle, and that is understandable after two ACL injuries in two years on both knees.
PREDICTED XI | ROMA (4-2-3-1)
Rui Patricio, Karsdorp, Mancini, Ibanez, Vina, Cristante, Oliveria, Zaniolo, Mkhitaryan, Felix, Abraham.
Empoli have been the best of the three promoted sides from Serie B this season, they are currently in 11th in the Serie A league standings with twenty-nine points from twenty-two games. They are comfortably in mid-table in Serie A and are edging closer to forty points target which would guarantee safety in Serie A.
It was either feast or famine for Empoli at the start of the season, six defeats and four wins to start the opening ten games. It has not changed since the opening ten games of the season, Empoli have been fun to watch. There is a side to watch out for in the last few years in Serie A. It was Atalanta for a couple of years, then Sassuolo, but this season it has been both Tuscan sides in Empoli and Fiorentina.
The last six games have been unflattering for Aurelio Andreazzoli‘s side, one win three draws, and two defeats in the last six games. The sole win was that fantastic shock win away in Naples. The two defeats were both at home against AC Milan (2-4) and a humbling defeat by Sassuolo (1-5) The three draws were a 1-1 draw away at Spezia. An entertaining 3-3 away draw in the capital against Lazio on epiphany. The third and final draw was last weekend’s away draw in Venice against Venezia which ended up 1-1. On Wednesday night, Empoli took Inter Milan to extra time in the Coppa Italia and were beaten 3-2. They were denied the win thanks to a late Andrea Ranocchia acrobatic volley in injury time which made it 2-2 and took the game into extra time.
PREDICTED XI | EMPOLI (4-3-1-2)
Vicario, Stojanovic, Romagnoli, Viti, Marchizza, Zurkovski, Ricci, Henderson, Bajrami, Cutrone Pinamonti.