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10 Mar 2023 / admin

Soccer Italy Serie A 11 March 2023

Spezia vs Inter - Match Preview

An uninspiring 0-0 draw against fellow strugglers Hellas Verona last weekend did little to boost Spezia’s survival hopes as they missed the chance to open up a six-point gap to 18th place. That result did at least extend Spezia’s unbeaten run under new boss Leonardo Semplici to two matches (D2), who cited the “tension” of last week’s occasion got to his players somewhat.

That’s perhaps not a great sign, as his charges must now rise to one of the biggest occasions Serie A (SA) can offer - the visit of Inter Milan. It’s not a challenge Spezia have historically fared well in either as they’ve failed to beat Inter across six encounters (D1, L5) and considering Semplici’s side are winless in their last nine SA home games (D5, L4), failing to as much as score a goal across the last five, there appears little chance of a maiden H2H win here.

A 2-0 win against Lecce on Sunday saw Inter wrestle a stronghold on second place in SA as their quest for a sixth successive top-four finish continues. After Inter boss Simone Inzaghi claimed in the aftermath of that Lecce win that his side “never took our foot off the gas”, don’t expect Inter to lend Spezia a sympathetic hand as they seek to bounce back from their first SA away defeat of 2023 in their last road trip.

That 1-0 defeat against Bologna also extended Inter’s scoring drought in away league action to two matches, their longest scoreless SA run on the road since April 2018. Inter now face the possibility of matching that three-game run with another failure to net here, but considering they come into the round with a joint-second most SA goals scored in the opening ten minutes of games (five), they may fancy their chances of ensuring they avoid that feat early in the game.

📋 Players to watch: M’Bala Nzola has been one of few bright sparks for Spezia this term, netting the second goal of the game with his last three home league goals. Never underestimate the importance of Henrikh Mkhitaryan on this Inter side, with each of his four goals this term proving decisive in victory.

Hot stat: Spezia are one of just two SA sides not to score a league goal after the 75th minute this season.

Empoli vs Udinese - Match Preview

Last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Monza saw Empoli record their second six-game (D3, L3) winless run of this Serie A (SA) season. Whilst it’s not quite as bad as their dreadful 16-game winless run from last term, Paolo Zanetti will be eager to see an immediate reaction from his side, even though they come into the round with a comfortable ten-point gap to the relegation zone.

However, as two of the pistons ‘draw specialists’ meet here, ending that streak isn’t guaranteed. Empoli has collected the second most draws in the league this season (10), with only opponents Udinese (11) collecting more, unsurprisingly including January’s reverse H2H meeting which ended 1-1. At home, the hosts do at least hold a balanced SA record (W4, D4, L4), but each of their last three matches at Stadio Carlo Castellani has seen them concede exactly twice, which is another habit they will be out to break.

Coach Andrea Sottil admitted he was “happy” with Udinese’s performance against Atalanta which saw them hold the top-six contenders to a 0-0 stalemate, but the result still meant they extended their record to just one win in 17 SA matches (D10, L6). Udinese still somehow finished the last round inside the top half, but their chances of competing for a spot in the European places now appear to be all but over.

The visitors have a habit of starting slow on the road and are yet to lead at half-time when travelling this term (HT: D10, L3), but their only two wins since the start of October came away from home, which should give them some confidence. Historically though, Udinese don’t enjoy playing in this part of Tuscany, losing in each of their last three visits to Empoli.

📋 Players to watch: With his goal against Monza, Martín Satriano ended his almost six-month-long drought, and notably his five senior goalscoring matches have seen both teams find the net. Udinese’s Sandi Lovrič has been in the spotlight recently, picking up a goal, an assist, and a booking in his last three starts!

Hot stat: A league-high eight Udinese matches have seen a draw at half-time and full-time.

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