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

Sunday’s Serie A action caps off with a high-stakes duel at the Stadio Olimpico as Roma and Empoli seek a fresh start after the international break. Let’s look at our match preview for this contest.

While Empoli’s three-game losing start to the season caught no one by surprise, the home side’s poor form in the opening three league matches didn’t go unnoticed. Jose Mourinho’s men headed into the two-week hiatus with a single point to their name, causing unrest among the Giallorossi faithful.

Losing 2-1 to a high-flying Milan side on the cusp of the international break was the least of Mourinho’s concerns. Andrea Bloetti’s brace was barely enough to give Roma an underwhelming 2-2 home draw against Salernitana on the opening weekend before last season’s relegation fighters Hellas Verona toppled the Europa League runners-up 2-1.

September’s pause has handed Mourinho an extra time period to rally his troops and help numerous newcomers, including Romelu Lukaku, gain more room to get familiar with the new surroundings. In a similar fashion, Empoli could’ve used the break to accommodate several late summer arrivals and find a recipe to overcome a dreadful start.

Paolo Zanetti’s side couldn’t be more relieved to hear the international bells ringing. As the only side yet to score in Serie A this season, the visitors have lost all three league games via a combined score of 5-0. Coming into proceedings nailed to the bottom of the table, Empoli will hope to reset at one of the country’s most iconic stadiums.

Match Preview


An abysmal form at the start of the new campaign is just the tip of the iceberg. Bringing the tail-end of last season into the equation, Roma are winless in ten of their 11 most recent Serie A games (D5, L5). While their disappointing domestic form would understandably dampen the morale in the home camp, Empoli’s visit to the Olimpico could put smiles back on the home players’ faces.

Roma boss Mourinho has won all four managerial encounters against Gli Azzurri. Moreover, the hosts have pulled off three consecutive Serie A doubles over Empoli, winning two of their three home fixtures in that sequence by an identical 2-0 scoreline. By extension, Giallorossi have won ten out of 11 top-flight home H2Hs in the 21st century (D1).

Player to Watch: Romelu Lukaku

With Paulo Dybala only recently coming back from injury, it’s difficult to expect the Argentine to deliver from the get-go. But this could be Lukaku’s moment in the Roma shirt as he found the net against Empoli last season while on loan at Inter.


Given their ominous-looking record at the Olimpico, Empoli cannot expect much from this trip. But they’ll hope to trouble the scoreboard at the very least. However, they’ve failed to get on the scoresheet on three of their last four league visits to Roma (L4), casting further doubt on their bleak scoring prospects.

It gets worse for Empoli head coach Zanetti. Since upsetting the odds in a 1-0 win at Inter last January, his men have gone winless on nine successive Serie A travels (D4, L5), failing to score on four occasions. Gli Azzurri succumbed to a disheartening 2-0 defeat at Monza in their only away league games this season, the same scoreline that sealed their fate on their last two visits to Roma.

Player to Watch: Francesco Caputo

Being a striker in Empoli’s current setup must be frustrating. But Caputo can produce something on his own, as he has often demonstrated in the past. The aging forward looks like the visitors’ best chance of getting off the mark.

Team News

Roma are still without their captain, Lorenzo Pellegrini, who won’t be a lone figure on the sidelines this weekend. His international colleague Gianluca Mancini picked up an injury during the international break, while Renato Sanches has been in the treatment room for a while.

The same goes for Tammy Abraham and Marash Kumbulla, while there’s still doubt over Sardar Azmoun’s availability. On a more positive note, Chris Smalling has recovered in time to provide experience at the back.

As for Empoli, Elia Caprile’s ankle injury will keep him away from this fixture, with Zanetti still sweating over Daniel Maldini’s match fitness. But other than the two, Gli Azzurri will have the remainder of their squad ready for this travel. 

Roma vs Empoli Potential Lineups

Roma (3-5-2): Rui Patricio; Evan Ndicka, Chriss Smalling, Diego Llorente; Rasmus Kristensen, Edoardo Bove, Bryan Cristante, Houssem Aouar, Leonardo Spinazzola; Paulo Dybala, Romelu Lukaku. 

Empoli (4-3-3): Etrit Berisha; Bartosz Bereszynski, Ardian Ismajli, Sebastiano Luperto, Giuseppe Pezzella; Youssef Maleh, Razvan Marin, Jacopo Fazzini; Tommaso Baldanzi, Francesco Caputo, Nicolo Cambiaghi. 

Roma vs Empoli Prediction 

It feels like Roma won’t have a better opportunity to get back track than this one and we back them to seize it. 

Prediction: Roma Win 

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