Sassuolo have won plenty of admirers with their bold and attacking brand of football displayed since joining the top flight for the first time in their history at the beginning of the 2013/14 campaign.
But whilst the usual striking trident of top scorer Domenico Berardi, Simone Zaza and Antonio Floro Flores has kept opposition defences on their toes, it is down the other end where the Neroverdi have struggled to make their presence felt.
Traditionally lining up in a 4-3-3 system, Sassuolo possess the division’s worst home record (14 points), have conceded first more than any other team (26 occasions) and also top the league’s own goal chart with five.
Attempts to steady the ship with the more cautious managerial style of Alberto Malasani yielded one draw and five defeats in all competitions, prompting the board to entrust Eusebio Di Francesco, previously axed in January, with a survival mission.
The 44-year-old’s return to the dugout has coincided with an upturn in fortunes and he will be hoping to build on a three-game unbeaten run when the Bianconeri travel to Emilia-Romagna on Monday evening.
He will have to rethink his midfield strategy, though, as Davide Biondini and Simone Missiroli miss out through suspension. Aleandro Rosi and former Bianconeri Primavera youngster Yussif Chibsah are tipped to be in pole position to replace their counterparts.
Also sitting out the clash with the club he is co-owned by is 13-goal Berardi, who reached the yellow card limit with a booking in last weekend’s win over Chievo. Nicola Sansone is expected to come in up front.