Empoli vs Milan Preview and Lineups – Serie A Round 8

Saturday’s Serie A action rounds off at Stadio Carlo Castellani as bottom-half Empoli and title-bidding Milan meet in contrasting circumstances. While the hosts aim to build on their first league win of 2022/23, the visitors are looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the new season.

It took Empoli seven matchdays into the 2022/23 Serie A campaign to get off the mark. Paolo Zanetti’s men eked out a morale-boosting 1-0 triumph at Bologna on the stroke of September’s international break. After putting a disastrous six-game winless league start to bed (D4, L2), Gli Azzurri will turn on a confident mood this weekend. 

Unlike their hosts, Milan succumbed to a 2-1 home defeat to fellow Scudetto rivals Napoli last time out. Having seen a six-game unbeaten start (W4, D2) to their Serie A title defense go out of the window, Stefano Pioli’s men will be out to get back on track. Nothing’s lost for the Rossoneri yet, as they sit just three points adrift of the summit. 

Back to the familiar comfies of Carlo Castellani, Empoli will be searching for back-to-back Serie A wins for the first time since December 2021. But the awareness that another failed attempt to obtain all three points would derail their hopes of landing another league title will drive Milan’s effort to return to the win column.

Match Preview


Playing at home was not Empoli’s strong suit last season. They won just 17 Serie A points at Carlo Castellani in 2021/22 compared to 24 on their travels. That, combined with their poor return of just one home league victory in 2022, promises another troubling Saturday for Zanetti’s men.

Moreover, Empoli have picked up just one win in their last 11 Serie A meetings with Milan (D4, L6), courtesy of a 2-1 away triumph in April 2017. But they have lost three consecutive top-flight H2Hs on home turf and could make it four defeats on the trot in this fixture for only the second time in the club’s history. 

Much of the home team’s hopes of staging an upset here will hinge on their defensive showing. After keeping Bologna at bay last time out, Empoli could register back-to-back shutouts in Serie A for the first time since January 2017! But that could be easier said than done.


Standout forward Rafael Leao returns to the fold after serving a one-game ban against Napoli. The Portuguese winger has been the visitors’ driving force this season, racking up three goals and three assists in his first six Serie A appearances in 2022/23. 

With Leao back, Milan will feel confident about their effort to maintain a 100% unbeaten ratio on the road this term (W1, D3). But the Rossoneri’s three away stalemates this season represent as many draws as in their previous 20 matches on the road in all competitions (W14, D3, L3).

Stretching back to last season, Milan are unbeaten in 15 consecutive Serie A games outside San Siro (W10, D5), bolstering their hopes of clawing their way back to winning ways. But if you’re looking for an omen, their last top-flight defeat away from home came in Tuscany as Fiorentina outscored them 4-3 in November 2021. 

Empoli vs Milan Potential Line-ups

Empoli (4-3-1-2): Guglielmo Vicario; Petar Stojanovic, Sebastian Walukiewicz, Sebastiano Luperto, Fabiano Parisi; Nicolas Haas, Razvan Marin, Filippo Bandinelli; Nedim Bajrami; Sam Lammers, Mattia Destro. 

Milan (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Davide Calabria, Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori, Fode Ballo-Toure; Ismael Bennacer, Sandro Tonali; Junior Messias, Charles De Ketelaere, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud.