Cagliari and Spezia kick off their Serie A campaign on Monday when they trade tackles at the Sardegna Arena.
Cagliari will be looking to get one over their visitors after failing to taste victory in both home and away games last season.
Cagliari enjoyed a decent pre-season following their woeful 2020-21 campaign, where they avoided relegation just by the skin of their teeth.
They picked up two wins and lost two of their four friendly games, scoring seven goals and conceding four.
This was followed by an impressive 3-1 victory over second tier side Pisa in the Coppa Italia last time out.
In that encounter, goals from Razvan Marin, Alessandro Deiola and an own goal from Antonio Caracciolo helped Cagliari claim their first competitive win of the season.
Head coach Leonardo Semplici will hope the performance will serve as a springboard for a good run of form as they look to begin their league campaign on a positive note.
Spezia, on the other hand, were unable to take part in any pre-season friendly games after their squad was hit with multiple COVID-19 cases.
The club’s pre-season camp in northern Italy alongside their scheduled friendlies were canceled after at least 11 first-team members tested positive for COVID-19.
Despite their shaky preparations for the new season, Thiago Motta’s side cruised to a 3-1 victory over Pordenone in the first round of the Coppa Italia last Friday.
Martin Erlić and Dimitris Nikolaou put Spezia two goals up in the first half before Michael Folorunsho pulled one back for Pordenone in the 51st minute. However, Ebrima Colley converted his 83rd-minute penalty to restore Spezia’s two-goal lead.
Cagliari vs Spezia Head-To-Head
The results have been split right down the middle between the two sides in their previous five encounters. They have both picked up two wins, while the spoils have been shared once.
Cagliari Form Guide (all competitions): W-L-W-L-W
Spezia Form Guide (all competitions): L-D-W-D-W
Cagliari vs Spezia Team News
Gli Isolani will be without Riccardo Ladinetti and former Napoli midfielder Marco Rog, who have been sidelined through muscle and knee injuries respectively.
Injured: Riccardo Ladinetti, Marco Rog
Following last week’s Coppa Italia victory, Spezia have a fully fit squad available for Monday’s game.
Cagliari vs Spezia Predicted XI
Cagliari Predicted XI (3-5-2): Alessio Cragno; Sebastian Walukiewicz, Diego Godín, Andrea Carboni; Gabriele Zappa, Răzvan Marin, Kevin Strootman, Alessandro Deiola, Dalbert; João Pedro, Leonardo Pavoletti
Spezia Predicted XI (3-4-3): Jeroen Zoet; Dimitris Nikolaou, Martin Erlić, Petko Hristov; Kelvin Amian, Viktor Kovalenko, Giulio Maggiore, Salvador Ferrer; Daniele Verde, Samuel Mráz, Ebrima Colley
Cagliari vs Spezia Prediction
Cagliari and Spezia endured a difficult campaign last season and will be looking to improve on their respective bottom-half finishes. The visitors have played just 90 minutes of action since May’s 2-2 draw against AS Roma.
We predict Cagliari will take advance of their home crowd support to claim the win against a relatively unfit Spezia side.
Prediction: Cagliari 2-1 Spezia
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