The first midweek round of fixtures of the new Serie A season sees one of the pre-championship favorites Roma, heading to Genoa to face Sampdoria.
ZENGA STEADIES THE SHIP IN THE PORT CITY
An early Europa League exit looked like being the catalyst for a short-lived tenure for coach Walter Zenga at Sampdoria but domestically, things have been better and last weekend’s away defeat at Torino was the first for the former Inter goalkeeping legend. Two home wins, both against Serie A new boys Carpi and Bologna (results that would be expected in any football bet prediction) have given the port club a platform to work on and an impressive 2-2 draw at the San Paolo, after being two goals down, is testament to the hard work put in by Zenga since their miserable exit in Europe. Wednesday evening could be a different test altogether for the blucerchiati, but with Luis Muriel and Eder in a rich vein of goal scoring form (already netting seven times between them), Wednesday’s hosts will be confident of causing an upset.
GARCIA’S TINKERING COSTS ROMA DEAR
A week ago at the Stadio Olimpico, Roma held current Champions League holders Barcelona to a 1-1 draw in their opening group game of this season’s competition. On Sunday, coach Rudi Garcia decided to rest several of his first-choice players in the home game against Sassuolo, who left the capital with a well-deserved point after a 2-2 draw. The Frenchman’s selection policy yet again came into question as the team who are currently priced at *3.50 on the best online betting sites to lift the trophy next May, lost valuable ground on early pacesetters Inter. The disappointing result overshadowed club talisman Francesco Totti’s 300th goal for the club (even though his first-half strike should have been ruled out for offside). With all his big guns back in the squad, Garcia will be looking for a reaction at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Wednesday.
With Lorenzo De Silvestri, Mattia Cassani and Andrea Coda still missing through injury, Zenga is likely to start with pretty much the same side that was beaten in Turin on Sunday. One change may be at left-back, where Bosnian Ervin Zukanović may get the vote over Vasco Regini. Sampdoria’s veteran midfielder Angelo Palombo is also a doubt for the visit of Roma as he recovers from a back injury.
Garcia could possibly make up to five changes for the trip to Genoa. Big striker Edin Dzeko (currently priced at 2.25 on the betting exchanges to be an anytime scorer on Wednesday) will replace Totti in attack along with Spaniard Iago Falqué, who should return at the expense of the disappointing Juan Iturbe. Both full-back positions could also see a major overhaul with fans favorite Alessandro Florenzi (fresh from scoring his wonderful goal against Barcelona) and Lucas Digne replacing Maicon and Vassilis Torosidis respectively. Veteran midfielder Seydou Keita will in all probability, deputise for Daniele De Rossi who may be rested for this one. Morgan De Sanctis keeps his place between the posts after Polish keeper Wojciech Szczęsny was ruled out for at least a month with a broken finger.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Sampdoria (4-3-1-2) Viviano; Zukanović, Moisander, Silvestre, Pereira; Barreto, Fernando, Ivan; Soriano; Eder, Muriel
Roma (4-3-3) De Sanctis; Digne, Rüdiger, Manolas, Florenzi; Nainggolan, Keita, Pjanic; Falqué, Dzeko, Salah
HEAD TO HEAD
Sampdoria have an impressive recent home record having been beaten only twice in their last 21 fixtures at the Marassi. Zenga’s side also likes scoring goals on their own patch, having netted at least twice in their last three home fixtures. Wednesday evening’s opponents are not short of goals themselves scoring twice in their last three Serie A encounters. The best online betting offers are quoting *1.95 for there to be over 2.5 goals on Wednesday. Last season’s corresponding fixture ended goalless with Sampdoria upsetting the odds in the return game, leaving the capital with all three points after a 2-0 victory.
Sampdoria 4.50 Draw 3.60 Roma 1.83
*Odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)