This Sunday's early kick off in Serie A will see Fiorentina travel the short distance to take on their Tuscan rivals Empoli. The away section will largely be empty however, as the Curva Fiesole issued a statement in dispute over the €30 price tag for a ticket. It looks likely that the Viola Ultras will travel to Empoli nonetheless and in a repeat of last year's protest, they will simply show their support outside the stadium.
After a feisty performance that ultimately saw Mario Giampaolo's men succumb to a 1-0 defeat at Juventus Stadium last weekend, the Azzurri will be confident mood before the derby. The man who replaced Maurizio Sarri in the summer has improved his side despite losing key players such as Mirko Valdifiori and Elseid Hysaj, who followed their former Coach to Napoli. A bright start to the season saw his side rise to the Europa League places by January, and results have fallen away of late, Empoli president Fabrizio Corsi believes Giampaolo can achieve more. "As well as being a great Coach, Marco is also a very calm person and capable of dealing with pressure", he told Radio Blu, "of which there is plenty in Florence."
Amidst increasing rumours over his future in Florence, Paulo Sousa will be seeking a win after a string of bad results has seen a third place league finish now seem all but impossible. After their disappointing home draw to Sampdoria, the Portuguese Coach wants to return to the consistent performances from the start of the campaign."We took the lead," he told the press after the game, "but allowed them to equalise shortly before the break. We paid that on a mental level." After a 2-2 draw at the Franchi in November, there is no doubt that Empoli will give their Tuscan neighbours a stern test.
Empoli: [4-3-1-2] Skorupski; Laurini, Costa, Tonelli; Mario Rui, Zielinski, Paredes; Croce; Saponara, Pucciarelli, Maccarone
Fiorentina: [3-4-2-1] Tatarusanu; Roncaglia, Rodriguez, Astori; Bernardeschi, Badelj, Vecino, Alonso; Ilicic, Valero; Kalinic
TV: BT Sport 1 will broadcast the game in the UK, for viewing options where you are, click here
Online: Online viewing options are limited, click here for details
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