Juventus heads into this weekend’s Serie A action in first place, following its 3-0 win over Lecce, its seventh consecutive victory in all competitions. The Bianconeri have played one more match than Inter Milan, which was involved in the Supercoppa Italiana, but as Juve kicks off this weekend, it can temporarily extend its lead to four points with a win over Empoli.
The win over Lecce was Massimiliano Allegri’s 300th in Serie A, making him the third coach in the history of the league to reach that milestone. It was also the 12th consecutive clean sheet for Juventus, tying a league record, and the team will be confident in its ability to extend that streak, having won six of its last seven Serie A home matches without conceding (1 draw).
The appointment of relegation specialist Davide Nicola has proved to be an immediate success for Empoli. The 3-0 win over Monza has moved it to within two points of the first non-relegation spot before this weekend. Nicola believes that his players are “adapting quickly” after recording their first league win since November. However, as they have not won two consecutive Serie A matches since May, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Empoli’s underdog status should not worry the Azzurri, who have already won clean sheet victories at Fiorentina and Napoli this season. They also stunned Allegri during his second spell in charge of Juve in 2021, on the same ground. However, they will need to improve in front of goal, as their six goals scored away from home in Serie A represent the lowest total in the league. Another problem that Nicola needs to solve.
Players to watch: Dušan Vlahović is on fire after scoring five goals in Juventus’ last three Serie A matches. Three of those have come in the 59th minute or later. Szymon Żurkowski is also on an impressive run of form. He has scored four goals in his two matches for Empoli since joining from Spezia. That includes a hat-trick in the last match.
Hot stat: Empoli has failed to score in 12 matches in Serie A, the most in the league.