Serie A Atalanta-Empoli Preview and Prediction

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Empoli visit Atalanta as they look to keep their survival hopes alive in the Serie A.

Atalanta have their eye on Champions League football for next season. Their last game was a goalless draw with Inter Milan, which kept them in the hunt for a top-four finish. They are in sixth place in the Serie A table, and three points behind fourth-placed Milan. As it stands, Atalanta will qualify for the Europa League, but coach Gian Piero Gasperini will have higher ambitions.

Gasperini has impressed at the club, and his youthful side has played some stunning attacking football this season. They are unbeaten in their last seven league games, winning four of them. Alejandro Gomez is their main creative weapon, and the play-maker has flourished under Gasperini. The likes of Duvan Zapata and Josip Ilicic have been in the goals lately, and they will be hopeful of continuing that against Empoli.

Zapata is his side’s top scorer, and he has scored 20 goals this season. Ilicic is second with 11 goals, and five of those have come in the last five home matches. Atalanta have scored 64 league goals this season, which is bettered by just Juventus who have one more. Though their defense has been average, a mighty attack has carried them so far.

Empoli are on the other side of the table, and they are in a relegation battle. Currently, in 18th place, they are three points off safety. Coach Aurelio Andreazzoli will be hopeful of climbing above the likes of Bologna, Udinese, and Genoa. Rivals Udinese defeated Empoli in their last game, despite playing for half an hour with ten men. Empoli will be keen to bounce back from that result.

They have lost three out of their last five games, but they have faced heavyweights Napoli, Juventus, and Roma in that time. The fixtures smoothen up considerably now, which helps their survival bid. Francesco Caputo has been a significant source of their goals this season, and he will be crucial to their hopes against Atalanta. But Empoli are yet to win on the road this season, and they will go into the tie as massive underdogs.

Head-To-Head

It is pretty close in terms of the head to head record. Atalanta lead the way 6-5 but lost the reverse fixture in December. Empoli won 3-2 on the day, as Matias Silvestre scored a late winner after Ilicic was sent off for Atalanta. A similar result seems unlikely though, given Empoli’s poor away record. Atalanta’s attack is formidable, and they should take care of the relegation-threatened side.

Atalanta-Empoli Prediction

Top-scorer Caputo has failed to score in his last eight away games, and Atalanta could bag a clean sheet as well. Atalanta should claim the home win, and they could go level on points with Milan if they do that. Zapata is a strong candidate to score the goals for them, as he has been in stunning form. Expect more than 3 goals in the match at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia.

Total Goals: Over 3 @ 1.76 at Pinnacle Sports

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