Sports Mole previews Friday’s Serie A clash between Sassuolo and Hellas Verona, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The start made by Verona is in stark contrast to last season, after they needed a playout to avoid relegation.
Sassuolo have made a very worrying start though, which has been centred around the uncertainty regarding Domenico Berardi‘s future.
After stating his desire to leave, Berardi has been left out of the Neroverdi side in their opening two games.
However, after links with Juventus, the Bianconeri never came in with an offer before Sassuolo’s self-imposed deadline, so Berardi looks set to stay.
Alessio Dionisi‘s side have suffered in his absence though, losing their first two Serie A games for the first time in 10 years.
Both defeats were by a 2-0 scoreline, and while they were unfortunate against Atalanta, losing only in the final seven minutes, Dionisi saw his side blown away by champions Napoli last weekend.
The xG figures reading 2.91 to 0.08 suggests that a 2-0 scoreline was flattering to a Sassuolo side who could not get near the Partenopei.
Despite finishing above Verona comfortably last season, the two sides could not be any further apart at the moment, thanks to the visitors’ excellent start.
For just the second time in Verona’s top-flight history, they have won their opening two matches.
On the only other occasion where they have done so, they went on to win the Scudetto in the 1984-85 season.
While that is a nice omen, a title challenge is unlikely to take shape, especially given their last-gasp escape last season.
Even though they had a better goal difference than Spezia, a new Serie A rule states that any sides level on points will play a relegation playout to decide who goes down.
Cyril Ngonge scored twice to help them to a 3-1 win in this very stadium in Reggio Emilia over Spezia, and the Frenchman enters this weekend on fine form.
His goal and assist in the first half was crucial to Hellas sealing a 2-1 win over Roma last week.
That win came after a 1-0 victory away at Empoli to start the season, and manager Marco Baroni will hope they can continue to show improved form on the road.
Verona took just 10 points from a possible 57 away from home last season – the second-worst in the division – as they narrowly avoided the drop.
Sassuolo Serie A form:
Sassuolo form (all competitions):
Hellas Verona Serie A form:
Hellas Verona form (all competitions):
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Dionisi could bring Berardi back into the Sassuolo squad unless there are any last minute changes surrounding his future.
Isak Hien will miss this clash for Verona after he was sent off late on in Verona’s win over Roma last weekend.
Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Advice; Pedersen, Erlic, Ruan, Vina; Boloca, Bajrami, Matheus Henrique; Berardi, Pinamonti, Lauriente
Hellas Verona possible starting lineup:
Montipo; Magnani, Coppola, Dawidowicz; Terracciano, Hongla, Duda, Doig; Folorunsho, Djuric, Ngonge
We say: Sassuolo 0-0 Hellas Verona
Despite their fine start, Verona may still find it tough to make it three from three against a Sassuolo side who have more quality than their disappointing start shows.
If Dionisi can welcome Berardi back into the side, then that should give the side a huge boost, and it should be a closer encounter despite their differing form.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.