Preview: Torino vs. Sassuolo

Preview: Torino vs. Sassuolo 

Relegation-threatened Torino host Sassuolo on Wednesday afternoon, looking to take advantage of their two Serie A games in hand and climb out of the bottom three.

This fixture was originally scheduled for February 26 but was postponed due to an outbreak of coronavirus at Il Toro’s training ground.

Prior to the significant impact of COVID-19, which saw 10 positive cases in Torino’s camp and two games postponed as a result, Davide Nicola was beginning to stabilise a sinking ship after replacing Marco Giampaolo at the helm in mid-January.

A run of five games without defeat, including four consecutive draws has not, however, been enough to steer Il Toro away from danger as they still sit in 18th place, the same position they were in when Nicola took charge and in fact one point further adrift of safety.

After a 16-day break in isolation, Torino have since played two Serie A matches, losing 4-2 to basement club Crotone and then falling short against league leaders Inter Milan last Sunday, with Lautaro Martinez’s 85th-minute header snatching all three points in a 2-1 victory at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.

The Granata now have two games in hand and Nicola will be hoping that his players can brush aside their recent league defeats and head into their remaining fixtures with belief that they can claim precious points and move away from the relegation zone.

Torino remain the only Serie A side who have yet to win at home this campaign in 12 attempts, however they head into Wednesday’s clash having won each of their last four home matches against Sassuolo, scoring 13 goals in the process.

Victory in midweek would provide a much-needed springboard for Torino heading into the final third of the campaign, with hopes of survival still very much alive.

After a run of three games without a win, Sassuolo claimed all three points against Hellas Verona, last weekend, with Hamed Traore scoring in the 81st minute to seal an entertaining 3-2 victory at the Mapei Stadium.

That result moved the Neroverdi above Verona and up to eighth in the table, but they remain some way off the Europa League positions, with 11 points separating them from both fifth-placed Napoli and sixth-placed Roma.

Sassuolo have had no problems scoring goals this campaign, finding the net at least once in 22 of their 26 Serie A matches. However, defensive frailties have cost them several times, conceding in each of their last 15 league fixtures and winning just four of those games.

The Neroverdi have been one of the most exciting teams to watch in the last couple of years since the arrival of Roberto De Zerbi in 2018, but even though his possession-based football has been successful going forward, problems at the back need to be addressed if they are to stay in the hunt for a top-six place.

Despite dominating October’s encounter against Torino with 73% possession, Sassuolo had fewer shots on target than their opponents and conceded three goals, with late strikes from Vlad Chiriches and Francesco Caputo rescuing a 3-3 draw.

De Zerbi will be hoping that his side have learnt from that earlier meeting with Il Toro and that they can build on last weekend’s victory by securing another three points on Wednesday.

Torino Serie A form:
Sassuolo Serie A form:

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