Serie A: Empoli vs AC Milan preview

AC Milan are looking to get back to winning ways when they visit struggling Empoli at Carlo Castellani Stadium on Thursday evening. Last season AC Milan won 4-1 at Empoli with two goals from Gianluca Lapadula and one from Suso, but the reverse fixture produced a surprising 2-1 victory for Empoli in Milan. Striker Gianluca Lapadula scored in that match as well, but last summer he moved on loan to Genoa as AC Milan brought in Juventus star Gonzalo Higuain. Overall, AC Milan have won just two of the last six matches against Empoli, while three ended in draws.

Empoli started the Serie A season with a good 2-0 victory at home over Cagliari, but then they lost three of the following four matches and dropped just above the relegation zone. Last week Empoli lost 3-1 at Sassuolo, but at least they managed to score a goal after two matches without scoring. They have already crashed out of the Italian Cup as they were defeated by Serie B side Cittadella in August. Miha Zajc was sent off in last week's match against Sassuolo and is suspended for Thursday's game, while Luca Antonelli and Afriyie Acquah are injured.

AC Milan were hoping for a better start to the season after having brought in some big-name players last summer, but so far they have won just one of their four Serie A matches. Last week they secured a narrow 1-0 victory over Luxembourg side Dudelange in the UEFA Europa League and at the weekend they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Atalanta. The Rossoneri are unbeaten in their last three matches in all competition, but they have not tasted victory since the end of August, when they had defeated AS Roma 2-1. Andrea Conti, Ivan Strinic and Riccardo Montolivo are injured and won't be available for the away side.

Probable line-ups:

Empoli: Terracciano - Lorenzo, Maietta, Silvestre, Veseli - Bennacer, Capezzi, Brighi - Krunic - Caputo, La Gumina

AC Milan: Donnarumma - Calabria, Caldara, Romagnoli, Rodriguez - Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura - Suso, Higuain, Calhanoglu

My prediction: AC Milan to win 3-1, the Rossoneri looked strong against Atalanta despite the result and they should be able to win this one.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Empoli win - 5.25
Draw - 3.75
AC Milan win - 1.70

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