Date:26th February 2016 at 10:00am
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Roma EmpoliTwo teams heading in opposite directions will do battle on Saturday afternoon as Empoli play host to Roma at the Stadio Carlo Castellani.

Empoli have been fortunate to see teams around them struggling for point which has kept the Azzurri in the top half of the table at 9th place. Roma has been gaining ground on Italy’s top teams and find themselves occupying the 4th spot. A total of 13 points separate the two sides.

The home side have been in a state of free-fall of late and are winless in seven matches, including back-to-back losses against Frosinone and Sassuolo. Coach Marco Giampaolo has not seen his men put in a winning performance since early January.

Roma on the other hand are enjoying a fine run of form, winning five matches on the trot since their tough loss against Juventus, including a 5-0 trouncing of Palermo last weekend. Coach Luciano Spalletti has tweaked the Giallorossi attack which seems to have reinvigorated the frontline.

The Giallorossi have dominated this fixture, with 12 wins to Empoli’s two, with a further three draws since the 1997-1998 season. The teams last squared off in October with I Lupi emerging with a 3-1 victory courtesy of Miralem Pjanic, Daniele De Rossi and Mohamed Salah. Marcel Buchel added a late consolation for Empoli.

Empoli must make do without the services of talisman Riccardo Saponara, as the Italian sits out due to an accumulation of yellow cards. Lorenzo Tonelli also misses out after his dismissal last week. Andrea Costa and Daniele Croce sit out through injury.

Roma have no suspensions to overcome but do face a lengthy injury list with Vasilis Torosidis, Elio Capradossi, Ezequiel Ponce, Norbert Gyomber, and De Rossi all set to miss out. All the good news for Spalletti is that all absentees are set to return in the coming weeks. Captain Francesco Totti is expected back on the team sheet after missing last weekend for his row with the coach

Form Guide: Empoli (L-D-D-L-L) Roma (W-W-W-W-W)

Expected Starting XIs:

Empoli: Skorupski; Zambelli, Ariaudo, Camporese, Mario Rui; Maiello, Paredes, Buchel, Zielinski; Pucciarelli, Maccarone

Roma: Szczesny; Florenzi, Manolas, Rudiger, Zukanovic; Pjanic, Nainggolan, Salah, Perotti, El Shaarawy; Dzeko