Serie A : Genoa vs Sampdoria
Big derby game, neither comes into this match in great shape with just three wins between them in their last 20 (ten each) starts. The Christmas break was probably a god send for Genoa who had lost four league games in a row in build up, failed to score in the last three and had a home cup defeat to a third tier team sandwiched inbetween. The Coppa Italia is treated seriously and the win for Alessandria, was the first time that a Serie C (Lega Pro) team had reached the last eight of the competition in more than 30 years, which highlights the magnitude of the defeat and how poorly Genoa are playing. That loss was an huge embarassment and one not eased by a follow up loss at Roma where the hosts finished with ten men and the 2-0 defeat still flattered Genoa, who sit just two points above the drop zone.
Sampdoria are four points better off and went into the break in far better spirits, comforted by a 2-0 win over Palermo, they had suffered three home defeats in a row (league and cup) before that, which was a real dip after going unbeaten through their first seven starts (five wins) this season at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. The two clubs share the stadium, so whilst this is technically a home game for Genoa and they will have the advantage of support and the home dressing room, the surroundings and build up are certainly not as unfamiliar for Samp as they would be for a normal away fixture.
The "hosts" get a boost today with the return of Goran Pandev and addition of new signings Suso and Luca Rigoni, but the veteran forward has only played some 631 minutes (90 mins only 4 times) in the last two seasons and has not scored a goal in 20 months, the newbies might need time to make an impact and Suso, who is on loan from Milan, has had even less football than Pandev and is taking a long time to fulfill his early promise. I am not sure that these two are the immediate answers to a squad that did not score a league goal in December and now that Sampdoria have claimed that first win for coach Vincenzo Montella, they look the value today to continue their good derby record in recent seasons, losing just one of the last six meetings and seeking a third straight "away" win today. They are helped considerably by the suspension to Diego Perotti, Genoa have lost 9 of 10 starts when the fiesty wide man plays an hour or less, when he plays 60 mins plus they have lost just one in eight this season and that was away to league leaders Inter
Sampdoria +0.25 ball 2.00 asian line/Sportmarket