Torino play host to Empoli on Thursday evening looking for the victory which will take the club closer to the top half of the Serie A standings.
While the home side can move ahead of their 11th-placed opponents, Empoli know that a win at the Olympic Grande Torino Stadium can move them ahead of some high-profile clubs in the divisdivis
When you see Torino down in 13th position in the standings, it is easy to make the assumption that they have been well off the pace this season.
However, each of their seven defeats have been by one-goal margins, and a run of three wins in six matches suggests that they are ready to make headway up the table.
Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Roma came as a blow – it was the fourth 1-0 reverse away from home in succession – but Ivan Juric’s team are still performing above their current standing.
The challenge now is to get Andrea Belotti back on track on a consistent basis, the long-time leading marksman having only scored twice in 479 minutes of league football this campaign.
If the Italy international can rediscover his form and the backline maintain the second-best defensive record in the division, there is scope for Il Toro to break into the top 10 sooner rather than later.
As far as Empoli are concerned, they will continue to be delighted with their efforts this season, Saturday’s 2-1 triumph over Fiorentina keeping them well away from the relegation zone.
Aurelio Andreazzoli’s sole focus at the beginning of the campaign would have been survival, but Empoli have already built the foundations for a stress-free second half to the year.
While any kind of victory over Fiorentina was always going to be beneficial for momentum, netting twice in the final three minutes of normal time was the perfect way to post just a second home win in eight attempts.
Andrea Pinamonti now has five goals from his 13 appearances in Serie A this term, four of which have been netted since October 23.
Torino Serie A form:
Empoli Serie A form:
We say: Torino 2-1 Empoli
With both teams in relatively good form for a club of their stature, this could be an interesting game. Nevertheless, we feel that Torino will be able to take advantage of playing on familiar territory, potentially edging this contest by the odd goal in three.