Empoli vs Inter: Serie A Preview, Potential Lineups & Prediction

Sunday’s Serie A action gets underway with a lopsided contest between bottom-half Empoli and top-four-bidding Inter at the Stadio Carlo Castellani. Time has recently become a sensitive mission for the downtrodden Nerazzurri as their top-four pursuit suffered a huge blow on Thursday. 

Not long ago, Empoli dreamed of securing a first top-half finish in Serie A since 2015/16. However, an underwhelming run of one win in their last 11 league matches (D4, L6) quashed the club’s lofty ambitions. With eight points separating them from tenth-placed Udinese at the start of this round, Gli Azzurri will likely have to settle for another bottom-half finish.

Goals have been at a premium for Empoli of late. Paolo Zanetti’s men have failed to find the net in four of their last eight league outings, netting precisely once in the other four. While a scoring blank in a heroic 0-0 draw at Milan a fortnight ago didn’t bother the home support, an underwhelming 1-0 defeat at dead-last Cremonese last weekend raised some eyebrows.

Staring down the barrel of a three-game scoreless run in Serie A for the first time since 2017, Empoli take on out-of-sorts Inter. A dismal 1-0 home loss to top-flight debutants Monza last time out condemned Simone Inzaghi’s side to a fourth defeat in five league games (D1). More importantly, with Juventus getting the 15 points back on Thursday, they are now five points adrift of the top four.

In these tumultuous times for Inzaghi, guiding Inter to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2009/10 offered a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. After a 2-0 win in Lisbon last week, the Nerazzurri held Benfica to a goal-glutted 3-3 home draw in the return leg of their quarter-final tie on Wednesday to set up a mouth-watering last-four tie against arch-rivals Milan.

Match Preview


This fixture falls on an unfavorable time slot for Empoli. They have failed to score in four of their last five Serie A matches played on Sunday at 12.30, unsurprisingly going winless in all five (D2, L3). Worryingly for Zanetti, before squeaking past Lecce 1-0 in their most recent home outing, his side had gone four consecutive league games at the Castellani without a win (D2, L2).

Speaking of unwanted trends, Gli Azzurri have registered just four wins in 29 top-flight meetings with Inter (D3, L22). To Empoli’s credit, they defied tradition earlier this year as they stunned the Nerazzurri 1-0 at Giuseppe Meazza in the reverse fixture, courtesy of Tommaso Baldanzi’s second-half winner. But they’ve never defeated them in consecutive Serie A encounters before. 

Player to Watch: Tommaso Baldanzi

Not only has he scored the only goal in the reverse H2H, but he is also leading the scoring charts at Empoli with four goals. Interestingly, each strike served as a match opener. 


A below-par five-match winless streak in Serie A accounts for Inter’s worst spell of form in the top flight since a run of eight December 2017 and February 2018. However, it’s the least of Inzaghi’s problems. His men have developed a habit of wasting chances, resulting in three scoring blanks across their last four league games. 

One goal could do the trick here, considering Inter haven’t conceded on their last seven visits to Empoli in Serie A, including victories ‘to nil’ on the four most recent. But they cannot afford to underestimate their hosts, particularly in the midst of a rotten four-game winless league run on the road (D2, L2). To make things worse, three of them were against bottom-half sides.

Player to Watch: Lautaro Martinez

The Argentine is one goal away from becoming the first Inter player to score 15+ goals in three successive Serie A seasons since Mauro Icardi. Despite failing to hit the net with his last 19 shots in the league, he returned to the scoresheet against Benfica on Wednesday.

Team News

In addition to the first-choice goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario, Empoli will be without Albania international Ardian Ismajli and up-and-coming center-back Koni De Winter. Zanetti is still sweating over Lazio loanee Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro’s fitness, but he could recover in time to make the matchday squad.

As for Inter, Milan Skriniar is the only high-profile absentee. Forced to undergo back surgery, the Slovakian may miss out on the rest of the season ahead of his imminent switch to Paris Saint-Germain. 

Empoli vs Inter Potential Lineups

Empoli (4-3-1-2): Samuele Perisan; Tyronne Ebuehi, Sebastian Walukiewicz, Sebastiano Luperto, Fabiano Parisi; Bandinelli, Razvan Marin, Jacopo Fazzini; Tommaso Baldanzi; Roberto Piccoli, Francesco Caputo.

Inter (3-5-2): Andre Onana; Danilo D’Ambrosio, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni; Dumfries, Nicolo Barella, Marcelo Brozovic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Federico Dimarco; Lautaro Martinez, Romelu Lukaku.

Empoli vs Inter Prediction

Taking into account Wednesday’s Coppa Italia fixture and exhausting efforts in the Champions League, Inter may be perceived as susceptible to yet another defeat in the league. Nonetheless, they have been dominant in recent times at the Castellani, and Empoli’s incapacity to pose a threat in front of goal should work in their favor.

Prediction: Inter Win

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