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Salernitana vs Empoli: Preview and talking points

Salernitana ended a five-game losing streak in all competitions with a goalless draw against mid-table Torino last weekend.

However, it did little to improve their chances of staying in Serie A.

Salernitana, who are rooted to the bottom of the table, five points from safety, could move to within two points of 17th place with another clean sheet.

It would be their first back-to-back clean sheets in the top flight since March, and would boost their hopes of survival.

However, significant improvements are needed if Salernitana are to have a good chance of getting a positive result at home to fellow strugglers Empoli.

The Granata have failed to keep a clean sheet in 13 league games at home this season.

That includes conceding exactly two goals in each of their last five home games (1 draw, 4 losses).

So coach Filippo Inzaghi is looking for a solution to tighten up his defence, which would allow him to become the first coach in the club’s history to win a home game in Serie A (2 draws, 1 loss).

Empoli, in 19th place, are one of five teams separated by just a point and could move up to 15th place provisionally with a win on Friday night.

That is certainly possible based on their recent form.

Indeed, former Salernitana coach Davide Nicola has led Empoli to three points from their last three games, including two clean sheets.

The three points at the Stadio Arechi could prove crucial in the long run, as four of their next six league games are against teams in the current top eight.

Being away from home may not be a bad thing for Empoli, who have avoided defeat in four of their last six away games (1 win, 3 draws).

They have also conceded only five goals in those games, compared to 14 in their first five away games of the season.

Players to watch: Six of Boulaye Dia’s last seven Serie A goals have been scored in the second half, and interestingly, in games where Salernitana have drawn.

Similarly, three of Szymon Żurkowski’s last five goals have been scored after the 55th minute.

Hot stat: Salernitana have conceded 14 of their 44 Serie A goals this season after the 75th minute.

Prediction: This is a tough game to call. Both teams are in need of points, but Salernitana have a poor home record, while Empoli are in good form.

I think it will be a close game, but I’m going to go for a 1-1 draw.

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