01.10.2016 15:10 - in: Serie A S

      #EmpoliJuve: key names and numbers

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      From past triumphs in Tuscany to key men and lunchtime kick-off form, Juventus.com brings you the lowdown on Sunday’s match against Empoli
      Triumphs in Tuscany

      In ten meetings at Empoli’s Stadio Carlo Castellani, Juventus have won six, drawn two and lost two. The last of those defeats came all the way back in April 1999, with the Azzurri collecting just two points since in home games against the Bianconeri (and zero in the corresponding fixture in Turin over the last 17 years).

      Since the turn of the century, Juve have made a habit of hitting the back of the net with distinct regularity at the Castellani, scoring 14 times in their last six outings.

      Incidentally, these trips to Tuscany have almost always come in the Autumn. Last November’s meeting saw Juve crucially record back-to-back wins for the first time of the season, following up a dramatic injury-time victory over Torino with what would prove to be the second success of an extraordinary 15-match winning streak in Serie A.

      Lunchtime kick-off experts

      The lunchtime kick-off slot may not be the most common in Italy, but both Empoli and Juventus have fared rather well whenever they’ve had to play at this earlier hour.

      The Azzurri are unbeaten in their eight previous matches held on a Sunday lunchtime, winning four, drawing four and never failing to score.

      The Bianconeri, meanwhile, haven’t lost a game played at this time since 2011 (2-0 at Lecce), winning their last five on the road, including Carpi and Chievo in 2015/16.

      Contrasting current form

      Nineteenth-placed Empoli’s struggles so far this term can be attributed to their lack of goals, having scored the league’s lowest tally of two after six matches.

      Indeed, tomorrow’s match sees the division’s weakest attack take on the strongest defence – no team has conceded fewer goals than Juve (four) so far this season – and should the Azzurri fail to find the target tomorrow they would extend their barren run up front to four games. The last time they did so in Serie A was all the way back in September 2007.

      At the other end, meanwhile, Massimiliano Allegri’s men will be keen to continue their rich scoring form of 41 goals in their last 18 top-tier outings, an average of 2.3 per game. Empoli, on the other hand, are still looking for their first clean sheet of the campaign at the Castellani.

      Main men to monitor

      Fresh from his first Champions League goal for Juventus on Tuesday against Dinamo Zagreb, Miralem Pjanic is a name that Empoli would not entertain reading on the team list. The Bosnian midfielder netted a goal in each of his games against the Azzurri last term while playing for Roma.

      Another man to achieve the same feat in 2015/16 was no other than Mario Mandzukic, the Croatian scoring Juve’s crucial equaliser en route to a 3-1 win last time out at the Castellani before hitting the only goal of the return match in Turin in April.

      Empoli, meanwhile, will be hoping that their experienced forwards Alberto Gilardino and Massimo Maccarone, who scored against the Bianconeri last season, can open their respective accounts in Serie A this term.

      Juve’s rearguard will also be wary of the creative threat posed by 24-year-old trequartista Riccardo Saponara, who registered 12 goals and 14 assists in his last two seasons for the Azzurri.

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