Monday’s Serie A action kicks off at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris as rock-bottom Sampdoria and top-four hopefuls Roma go head-to-head in a high-stakes fixture. Pinned to the foot of the league standings, the Blucerchiati will be desperate to get off the mark in 2022/23 against Jose Mourinho’s in-form side.
Sampdoria’s disastrous eight-match winless Serie A start (D2, L6) left the club hierarchy with no choice but to part company with Marco Giampaolo. Former Red Star Belgrade manager Dejan Stankovic returned to the Italian top flight following a stellar playing career at Inter to help La Samp find their feet and claw their way out of the relegation zone.
However, Stankovic’s touchline debut didn’t go according to plan, as his men had to battle back from a 1-0 halftime deficit to hold Bologna to a 1-1 draw at Renato Dall’Ara last time out. As one of only two Serie A teams yet to pick up a league win this season, Sampdoria will be out to upset the odds and give devastating home supporters something to cheer about in these tumultuous times.
That could be easier said than done against visiting Roma. Despite losing talismanic forward Paulo Dybala to injury for the rest of the calendar year, Mourinho’s men will take the field in high spirits. The Giallorossi squeezed past a 10-man Lecce side 2-1 at home last weekend, making it three wins from four Serie A games (L1).
Roma come into proceedings on the periphery of the top four, with fourth-placed Udinese only one point clear. The visitors held Real Betis to a 1-1 draw in Andalusia in the run-up to this encounter, courtesy of Andrea Belotti’s second-half equalizer. It was the Italian’s breakthrough goal in the Giallorossi shirt, suggesting he’s hitting his stride in Rome.
If you’re seeking a culprit for Sampdoria’s sub-par Serie A start, an uneventful frontline could be the answer. Stankovic’s men have netted a league-low five goals in the opening nine league rounds and are the only side in the Italian elite division yet to score more than once per top-flight match.
After holding Bologna to a draw last weekend, Sampdoria could go back-to-back Serie A outings without losing for the first time since April. That pretty much sums up their domestic form woes in a nutshell, emphasizing the task at Stankovic’s hands. A victory, albeit it has to come at long odds, would be their first league success since May!
But it’s worth mentioning that Sampdoria have been winless in seven of their last eight Serie A clashes against Roma (D2, L5), including a narrow 1-0 defeat in this corresponding fixture in 2021/22. The home side’s recurring first-half blunders are unlikely to aid their cause, with no team conceding more league goals before halftime than La Samp (10) this season.
Mourinho has made the visitors’ hopes of locking down their first top-four Serie A finish since 2017/18 look possible, but there’s still plenty of work left to do. Performing week in, week out has been Roma’s Achilles heel in the past few seasons, especially when it comes to their domestic road trips. However, things are improving this year.
Roma have racked up three victories from their five away league matches in 2022/23 (D1, L1), each time prevailing by a slender one-goal margin. Mourinho wouldn’t mind another keenly-contested triumph in Genoa, aware his lads have won just twice on their last seven Serie A visits to Luigi Ferraris (D3, L3).
Since Dybala’s not in the frame for this trip, Roma may have to rely on Belotti to shoulder the scoring burden amid Tammy Abraham’s woeful spell of form. The former Torino captain has tallied an eye-catching nine Serie A goals against Sampdoria, making Il Doria his joint-most favorite domestic opposition.
Sampdoria vs Roma Potential Line-ups
Sampdoria (4-2-3-1): Emil Audero; Bartosz Bereszynski, Alex Ferrari, Omar Colley, Tommaso Augello; Tomas Rincon, Ronaldo Vieira; Manolo Gabbiadini, Abdelhamid Sabiri, Filip Djuricic; Francesco Caputo.
Roma (3-4-2-1): Rui Patricio; Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, Roger Ibanez; Nicola Zalewski, Bryan Cristante, Mady Camara, Leonardo Spinazzola; Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nicolo Zaniolo; Andrea Belotti.