NEWS
Saturday January 7 2017
Line-ups: Empoli-Palermo

Serie A resumes for 2017 with a relegation dogfight between Empoli and Palermo, who are both in dire need of a boost.

It kicks off at the Stadio Castellani at 17.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.

Italian football returns after the winter break and the first game of the new year is in Tuscany.

Empoli are fourth-from bottom on 14 points, with Palermo in the drop zone on 10, so it’s a real tussle at the foot of the table.

Alberto Gilardino has left the Tuscans, while Andrea Costa, Federico Barba and Marco Zambelli are not 100 per cent fit.

Levan Mchedlidze has found his scoring touch with three goals in the last two games, so the Georgia international leads the way with Guido Marilungo.

Palermo miss Slobodan Rajkovic and Sinisa Andelkovic, but new Coach Eugenio Corini has turned things around with a shock 4-3 victory away to Genoa and 1-1 draw with Pescara.

Ilija Nestorovski remains the key man up front with support from Robin Quaison, but Alessandro Diamanti is benched.

Empoli have only lost one game against Palermo in 11 years, falling to a 2-0 defeat in 2008 thanks to goals from Fabio Simplicio and Leandro Rinaudo.

The Tuscans do not have a good history when it comes to New Year resolutions, as they’ve started January with four draws and five defeats since their last opening victory in 2007.

Empoli: Skorupski; Laurini, Bellusci, Cosic, Pasqual; Krunic, Diousse, Croce; Saponara; Mchedlidze, Marilungo

Empoli bench: Pugliesi, Pelagotti, Dimarco, Veseli, Mauri, Pereira, Buchel, Tello, Maccarone, Pucciarelli, Tchanturia

Palermo: Posavec; Cionek, Gonzalez, Goldaniga; Rispoli, Jajalo, Gazzi, Bruno Henrique, Morganella; Quaison; Nestorovski

Palermo bench: Marson, Fulignati, Vitiello, Trajkovski, Hiljemark, Embalo, Chochev, Aleesami, Sallai, Balogh, Diamanti, Pezzella

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