Preview: Sassuolo vs. Hellas Verona

Preview: Sassuolo vs. Hellas Verona

Both beaten by teams from Serie A’s top three last time out, Sassuolo and an ailing Hellas Verona side seek maximum points on Monday, when they convene at the Mapei Stadium.

While the Neroverdi have lost to Atalanta and Inter in their last two games, they still sit seven points clear of their visitors, who were most recently edged out by Milan.

Despite taking the lead against their second-placed opponents, Sassuolo’s trip to Bergamo last week ended pointless, as Giorgos Kryiakopoulos saw the advantage gained from his 41st-minute strike soon frittered away.

Goals either side of half time allowed in-form Atalanta to pull off a quick comeback and the Neroverdi ultimately fell to a 2-1 defeat; leaving them ninth in the standings after 10 games.

Having also lost their last home fixture – another 2-1 reverse, on that occasion to Inter – they now aim to avoid losing consecutive matches at the Mapei Stadium for the first time under Alessio Dionisi. Indeed, such a sequence last happened to Sassuolo back in October 2019, during Roberto De Zerbi’s reign.

With five clean sheets to date, the Emilian outfit have already recorded two more than all of last season, when Dionisi struggled to live up to heightened expectations brought about by De Zerbi’s successful spell, though they leaked seven goals in recent defeats to Atalanta, Inter and Udinese.

Sassuolo have lost just one of their last seven Serie A meetings with Verona before Monday’s game, while winning five times in the process, but that single setback did occur when the sides last met in January.

Since they emerged 4-2 winners from that encounter at the start of the year, Hellas have enjoyed and endured the steep ups and downs that life in the Italian top flight can entail.

With summertime appointment Gabriele Cioffi recently following the much-missed Igor Tudor out of the door at Stadio Bentegodi – and not by his own volition – the Scaligeri reside in Serie A’s bottom three, with just five points to their name so far.

Verona have lost each of their last five league games; only twice in their top-flight history have they lost more matches in a row, and never since a run of seven defeats in the spring of 2018.

There is no secret to why Cioffi lost his job and Hellas have sunk to such depths, as they have conceded at least once in their last 17 league outings – that represents the club’s worst such streak for over 20 years. Crucially, no side have shipped more goals in the last 15 minutes of play this season either.

The sixth time Verona have done so came at home to Milan last time out, as Sandro Tonali spoiled new coach Salvatore Bocchetti’s big day by finding the net late on in a 2-1 win for the Scudetto holders. Making his debut as a top-flight boss, the former defender saw his side attempt 19 shots – their joint-most this term – but ultimately to no avail.

Having equalled their worst start to a Serie A season throughout this century, the Gialloblu last had as few points after 10 games back in 2015 – and they were eventually relegated at the end of the season.

Sassuolo Serie A form:
Hellas Verona Serie A form:

We say: Sassuolo 1-0 Hellas Verona
Sassuolo and Verona have each won three of their seven Serie A clashes in Reggio Emilia, and there have been 26 goals in the process. However, Hellas now arrive without an away win to their name this term, and will be punished for their lack of threat up front.

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